Summer 2016
A Note from the Executive Director
The second week in June was a watershed moment for chronic absenteeism with a flurry of activity highlighting the issue on the national stage. The US Department of Education (ED) followed through on several actions from the interagency Every Student, Every Day initiative, and brought high profile attention to the issue with the unprecedented release of national data. 
 
We are delighted to see a real awareness of chronic absenteeism building across the country cultivating more opportunities than ever before for collective problem solving and action. We know the good news is that chronic absence is a solvable problem. We encourage everyone to use the energy and awareness being generated to address chronic absenteeism with the students, schools and districts that need it most. 

Hedy Chang
Executive Director, Attendance Works

Policy Spotlight

Numbers Show Too Many Kids Miss Too Much School 

For the first time, ED's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) collected student absenteeism rates from all school districts and most public schools nationwide. The data show that 6.5 million students, or 13% of all students, were chronically absent from schools in 2013-14.  In this case, OCR defined chronic absence as missing 15 days of school.  Click here for more on the Civil Rights Data Collection. US ED's web story includes a heat map portraying levels of chronic absence across the country.  
 
Attendance Works developed a guidance document to help download and filter the national numbers for specific schools and districts.  




Educators Get a Boost During National Convening

On June 9th and 10th ED held the Every Student, Every Day National Conference: Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism by Implementing and Strengthening Cross-Sector Systems of Support for All Students.  We were delighted to co-support the conference, along with Healthy Schools Campaign.  A remarkable 37 state teams participated in workshops to expand practices and hear about resources from federal agencies.
 
Earlier in the week, leaders from the 30 cities in the MBK Success Mentors Initiative  met for a national training summit to prepare for the start of the school year.
 
Read our blog to find out more about June's events. 

ESSA: States Could Benefit from Non-Regulatory Guidance 

In May we submitted comments to ED on what non-regulatory guidance should be provided to assist states and districts in understanding and implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We stressed that ESSA's data reporting requirements are only effective if they are accompanied by guidance on how to use chronic absence data to identify which students and schools are at risk for missing too much school in order to provide timely interventions.
Practice Spotlight
All-America City Awards Lift Up Community-Wide Projects

The National Civic League (NCL) recognized ten cities that used community-wide strategies to boost health, educational success and attendance, as the 2016 All-America City Awards winners . NCL announced its focus for 2017 Awards: community-wide strategies that increase the number of students reading at grade level, as well as school readiness, summer learning and attendance.
 
Cities have until September 1 to submit a Letter of Intent to Apply for the 2017 award.  Applicants can participate in a series of monthly webinars offered this fall by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. 


Research Spotlight
Does Attendance in Preschool Matter?

The Urban Institute published two studies in June finding that poor preschool attendance is often a predictor of attendance problems in elementary school. Researchers found nearly half of children who missed 10% to 20% of pre-K had attendance problems in kindergarten. Find it here. 

The second study identifies barriers to getting to school, with health issues the top challenge. The study examines school-level strategies that engage families and improve student attendance. Find the study here.

Progress Made in Underserved Communities 

A report from MDRC, released in June, finds chronic absenteeism in the sixth grade was reduced by an average of 17% after the first-year of a multi-year program. This suggests it's possible to impact chronic absenteeism in underserved environments in the US, writes Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins researcher and Diplomas Now co-founder. Find the two-page brief here .

Upcoming Webinars
Tuesday August 16, 2016
 Collective Action: Taking a Cross-Sector Approach,
11-12:30 pm (PT) / 2-3:30 pm (ET). This 2016 Attendance Awareness Month webinar showcases cross-sector partnerships from San Francisco, Omaha and Austin.  Register here !

Support Attendance Awareness 2016!
Help advance student success by donating here to Attendance Works. Our Attendance Awareness Month resources such as the Count Us In! toolkit and the five webinars are available free of charge for everyone. Your contribution will enable us to continue our work empowering districts, schools, communities, and families in the vital work of getting kids to school every day possible. Please consider a tax-deductible donation at a level that works for you.


Friend: 
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Bronze Attendance Champion:
$200-$499
 
Silver Attendance Champion: $500-$999

Gold Attendance Champion:
$1,000 or more

In the News

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. We aim 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.

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For more information contact:  info@attendanceworks.org