the holiday season here, we'd like to thank everyone who made 2013
such a special year. We're grateful for the 39 national partners
who helped us launch the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month in
September and to the 260+ schools and communities that posted their
activities on our map.
grateful to the 1,300 schools and communities who signed on to our
listserv, hundreds of whom participated in our webinars. We're
grateful to the 93,000 people who visited our website in 2013, more
than double the visitors from a year earlier. Finally, we're
grateful to the countless parents, teachers, principals,
superintendents, mayors and community partners who worked this year
to ensure more children attended school every day.
learned a lot this year about how to move this important work. A
rally point, such as Attendance Awareness Month, can be a powerful
motivator. Technology, particularly our online data tools and
handouts, can expand our reach exponentially. Common messaging can
unify our efforts across city and state lines. And achievable
action -- crunching data, setting up attendance teams and engaging
the full community -- can translate into success for schools and
Please help us reach more districts, states and
communities by making a tax-deductible contribution to Attendance
Works. To donate, click here.
Study Reinforces What Works
Providing mentors to chronically absent students
proved the most effective intervention for turning around
attendance and achievement, a new study on New York City schools
Challenge of Combating Chronic Absence, produced by Johns
Hopkins University researchers Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes,
explores a rich vein of data generated from a three-year pilot
program conducted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's task force
on truancy, chronic absence and school engagement.
participating school had a Success Mentors program, in which
students who missed too much school in the previous year or were on
track for chronic absence were paired with mentors. The report
shows that students with Success Mentors gained nearly two extra
weeks of school. Students made progress with all types of mentors:
outside social workers, National Service members, school staff or
students emerged from chronic absence, they saw their grade point
averages improve slightly and were less likely to drop out, the
Begins for Attendance Awareness Month 2014
nine months until September, but we have already started planning
for next year's Attendance Awareness Month. We are looking for new
attendance champions. Assuming we can secure the funding, we plan
to develop toolkits to reach targeted groups of stakeholders such
as teachers, health care providers, faith-based groups, elected
officials and business leaders. We are also exploring ideas for
contests and other means of drawing attention to attendance.
If you would
like to share successful approaches or good ideas for our national
efforts, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aid Formula Opens Door to Tracking Chronic Absence
A new state education funding formula creates an
unprecedented opportunity for California school districts and
communities to begin addressing chronic absenteeism. But many
districts aren't sure where to start. Accountable for
Attendance, a new brief produced jointly by Attendance Works
and Children Now, lays out the best strategies for improving
explores how the new Local Control
Funding Formula vests localities with more power but requires a
certain level of accountability. Chronic absence is among the
metrics that local school districts and county boards of education
must track. The brief recommends such strategies as:
gathering data, determining why students are chronically
absent, building capacity among school staff, engaging the whole
community and setting targets.
Afterschool's Effect on School Attendance
two thirds of the chronically absent students who started attending
an out-of-school time program (OST) regularly improved their
school-day attendance, according to a report by the Baltimore
Education Research Consortium. The report, "Family League
2011-12 Out of School Time Programs in Baltimore City,"
- Children who participated regularly in afterschool
and summer programs were significantly less likely to be
chronically absent than comparable peers.
- Sixth- and ninth-graders who regularly
attended an OST program during the 2011-12 school year had
higher attendance rate through the first three quarters of the
2012-13 school year - a key finding as these students
transitioned into the middle grades and high school.
report reaffirms research that connects quality afterschool with
better school-day attendance. And it demonstrates the efficacy of
Baltimore's decision to make reducing chronic absence an explicit
goal and metric for programs that receive city funding. See our What Works section
for more detail.
Works is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of
the important role that school attendance plays in achieving
academic success. It aims to ensure that every school in every
state not only tracks chronic absence data for its individual
students but also partners with families and community agencies to
help those children.
Be sure to
follow us on Twitter and Pinterest and like our Facebook page!
Holiday Messaging Toolkit
Works has developed a Holiday Messaging Toolkit that includes
talking points, sample emails to parents and incentive ideas for
school leaders to use to encourage good attendance around the
To view our
toolkit in both, English and Spanish, click here.
2 Seattle Middle Schools Focus on Attendance,
See Scores Climb, Seattle Times, November 20, 2103
Florida Public Schools Absentee Problem
Examined with Interactive Map, Florida Center for
Investigative Reporting, November 1, 2013
The Most Important Education Reform: Reducing
Absenteeism, Governing, November 4, 2013
Communities Should Work Together to Keep Kids
in Class, Deseret News, November 29, 2013
you love our online tools, resources, webinars and up-to-date
information on attendance research and news? Donate to Attendance
Your gift is tax deductible and will support forging a national
consensus on the need to monitor, report and address the effects of
chronic absence. I hope that you will stand with as and support our
work as we work to reduce chronic absence and achieve better
outcomes for all students.
Attendance Works would like to express its deep
appreciation to the foundations supporting our work nationally and in
communities across the country: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The
California Endowment, The San Francisco Foundation, David and Lucile Packard
Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, William Caspar
Graustein Memorial Fund and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.