From: Attendance Works <> on behalf of Attendance Works <>

Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:04 AM

To: Johnny Schaefer

Subject: Attendance Works Newsletter





A Note from the Director



I'd like to personally thank everyone who got involved with Attendance Awareness Month in September. We had an extraordinary show of support with more than 1,300 schools and communities coming together-along with superintendents, governors and mayors -- to convey the message that absences add up, even when they're excused, even when they come in kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.


The next step is to turn this awareness into action. Toward that end, we're rolling out a new toolkit today to help educators find schools that are achieving high rates of attendance despite challenging circumstances. We're hosting a webinar in November to highlight how school communities are using data to shape their work with students. And we're encouraging policy makers and advocates throughout the country to use our new policy brief, The Attendance Imperative, to examine how they might improve attendance policy in their own states. 


Hedy Chang


Practice Spotlight



New Toolkit Helps Districts Identify What Works



Do you have a school in your district that is beating the odds, recording higher attendance rates than schools with similar student populations? If so, do you know why?


Chronic absence data not only can reveal the scope of attendance problems but  also pinpoint the schools with the practices and leadership that are making a difference.


Our new toolkit, What Works in Our Community, will help you look beyond the numbers and find out how these positive outliers are bringing more kids to school every day. Through a series of templates, tips for site visits and questions for stakeholders, the toolkit shows how districts can:

  • Identify positive outliers.
  • Learn about effective practices that others could replicate.
  • Find innovative site leaders who can inspire others. 


Webinar to Explore Shift from Awareness to Action



A Nov. 6 webinar will detail the best strategies for monitoring attendance data and intervening with chronically absent students. Speakers from Portland, Ore.; Oakland, Calif., and New Bedford, Mass., will discuss such ideas as creating cross-disciplinary attendance teams at local schools and developing personalized outreach to at-risk students and families. 


The free webinar, sponsored by the United Way Worldwide and Attendance Works, will run from 1-2:30 p.m. (EST). To register, click here.



Attendance Awareness Month By the Numbers



There is no way to quantify the enthusiasm and energy we encountered across the country during September's nationwide focus on attendance. But we can offer a few metrics that demonstrate the movement's reach:

  • 1,318 people from 49 states and the District of Columbia joined our listserv.
  • 249 schools and communities in 42 states and the District of Columbia pinned events and activities on the Community Action Map.
  • 40 national organizations signed on as partners, helping to spread the word, blog about attendance and create toolkits.
  • 160 news articles, blogs and commentary pieces appeared in media outlets.
  • At least 20 mayors issued proclamations.
  • The #schooleveryday hashtag on Twitter was used more than 5,000 times.

We're planning to mark Attendance Awareness Month again next year and want to hear what your school or community did and what would make next year even more successful. Please fill out our short, anonymous survey here.


We also saw some terrific posters, videos and toolkits developed across the country.  We'll be posting some materials on our website so if you have something you'd like to share, send to us at




Policy Spotlight



 Policy Brief Underscores Role for States



State policymakers in several states now are tracking attendance data more carefully and holding schools and districts accountable for absenteeism rates at all ages, according to a policy brief released by Attendance Works in September.


The Attendance Imperative outlines the steps that states can take to reduce chronic absence including: building public awareness; tracking and publicly reporting chronic absence rates for schools and districts; using attendance as a metric in school improvement efforts; sharing best practices with educators and parents, and enabling interagency efforts.


The report includes a summary of what states already are doing to promote better attendance policy and reduce chronic absence.



Research Spotlight



Chicago Study Shows Absenteeism Problems Start in PreK 


As many as a third of Chicago preschoolers are chronically absent and those absences correlate with academic and attendance problems in later grades, according to a study released in September by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.


The study, which follows 25,000 three- and four-year-olds served by Chicago Public Schools' preschool programs, found that 45 percent of 3-year-olds and more than one-third of 4-year-olds missed at least 10 percent of the 2011-12 school year.


These patterns are particularly problematic for students who start school with the weakest skills. Those children are the most likely to benefit from regular preschool attendance but also the most likely to be chronically absent.


The implications of this research stretch far beyond Chicago, showing conclusively that attendance matters in the earliest grades. 



About Attendance Works



Attendance 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!



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California Attorney General Kamala Harris released a comprehensive report about the need to address chronic absence and truancy starting in elementary school.







New Britain created this video that shows how attending preschool regularly can get children ready for kindergarten and reading.




The Ad Council created this animation of Attendance Works infographic on attendance in the early grades.



In the News



School Attendance Gets a Closer Look, The Washington Post, September 15, 2013


How California Should Deal With Truancy, The LA Times, September 30, 2013


The Value of Showing Up, The Baltimore Sun, September 29, 2013


Ohio Schools Need to Focus on Chronic Absence, September 25, 2013




Do you love our online tools, resources, webinars and up-to-date information on attendance research and news? Donate to Attendance Works! 

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. 


Contact Us




For more information contact:



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 Memorial Foundation and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.


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