The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Attendance Works is a partner and resource for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which aims to make sure that all children learn to read well by the end of third grade.

The Campaign is a collaborative effort among foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

Director Hedy Chang speaks about the connection between chronic absence and grade-level reading.

Attendance Works analyzed 33 stories generated by 28 different CGLR communities for a What’s Working Community Challenge (WWCC) brief. Each campaign identified addressing school attendance as a priority issue.

What’s Working Community Challenge Brief

The Campaign seeks to mobilize philanthropy, parents, educators, service providers and civic leaders to find and put in place solutions to three problems that are major obstacles to making progress on grade-level reading by the end of third grade:

  • School Readiness: too many children showing up for school not ready for what school has to offer

  • Chronic Absence: too many children missing too many days of school and too much instructional time

  • Summer Learning Loss: too many children losing too much ground academically during the summer months

The campaign partnered with National Civic League on the 2017 All-America City Award, which went to the 15 communities that developed the most sustainable and realistic plans for improving early literacy, summer learning and reducing chronic absence. Attendance Works will be providing technical assistance to the 300 cities, counties and towns in the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network. Read more about the 2017 conference.

Attendance Works provided technical assistance to these communities, making available the District Attendance Tracking Tool (DATT), a self-calculating spreadsheet that allows school districts to upload attendance data and receive a chronic absence analysis. For more information and to register for the tool, read more here.

The Campaign is also a co-sponsor of the Superintendents Call to Action, encouraging local school leaders to own the issue, drive with data and mobilize the community to reduce chronic absence.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Agree to Combat Chronic Absence

In 2012, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution urging mayors to raise awareness of the pernicious effects of chronic absenteeism on student achievement and engage the community to help parents get children to school regularly.

The resolution, introduced by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras with support of 12 other mayors, cites Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ambitious work to reduce absenteeism in New York City and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s broad efforts to persuade 124 communities across the country to start paying attention to chronic absence as part of a strategy to improve literacy in the early grades.