The 2022 Model School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Recognition Program, sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE) in cooperation with the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance (CASCWA), recognized six school attendance programs as model SARBS for efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism rates and improve student attendance.

The Model SARB Award winners include six school districts that have successfully implemented school attendance improvement programs in response to learning loss during the pandemic. These attendance intervention plans employ a data-driven, multi-tiered approach that focuses on encouraging student and family engagement through:

Early intervention

The exemplary practices implemented by this year’s recipients share similarities. Among them are the frequent and consistent practices of the school attendance review teams, whose members recognize their role as the catalyst in supporting and improving student attendance and behavior. A focus on Tier 1 early interventions is key to de-escalating trends toward chronic absenteeism, truancy and suspension.

Professional Development and Added Staff

Recipients have taken the vital step of utilizing increased school funds to invest in new and existing staff. Improved professional development has focused on enhancing cultural competencies, elevating social and emotional learning, and recognizing and addressing mental health needs as well as engaging practices for students in remote learning. The addition of counselors and social workers has allowed for rapid and positive response aimed at mitigating the needs of disengaged students.

Family Engagement and School Connectedness

To best meet the needs of students and families, some of the recipients have adjusted the tiers and processes for attendance improvement as a way to provide students and families the individual and needed support to ensure they are successful, feel valued and are connected to their school community. Communications and interventions at the school and district levels provide education to families via newsletters and attendance presentations to inform and empower parents and/or guardians. Community resources and partnerships further help mitigate the many barriers to attendance faced by students and families.

This program identifies and recognizes school attendance improvement programs that review chronic absentee data at the district or county level—outstanding and innovative programs that will serve as models for other SARBs in the state. For more information on effective practices, see the 2015 SARB Handbook.

State Superintendent Thurmond convenes the State SARB, which brings together key agencies and community partners to score applications submitted by district and county SARBs throughout the state.

The model SARBs for 2022, along with their chairpersons, include:

  • Buena Park School District, Elsie Briseño Simonovski, Chair

  • Capistrano Unified School District, Mike Beekman, Chair

  • Irvine Unified School District, Michelle Walsh, Chair

  • Ocean View School District, Barb Davis, Chair

  • Sunnyvale School District, Tasha L. Dean, Chair

  • Yuba City Unified School District, Jennifer Cates, Chair

Awards will be/were presented to the six exemplary Model SARB Recognition Program applicants at the annual CASCWA State Conference between May 11-13, 2022.