Attendance Awareness Campaign Update
A project led by Attendance Works
September 29, 2021
Learning Lessons from Bright Spots

Many things have changed this school year, but the basics of how to motivate attendance and participation remain steady. We’ve collected examples of what schools and districts are doing to address chronic absence during the pandemic.

When these bright spots serve students with similar demographics as your community, they offer insights and actions you might adopt to improve student outcomes.

School leaders from five public charter schools in Detroit shared their efforts to sustain school attendance during the Covid-19 pandemic. All of the five profiled schools had early signs of success in adopting effective attendance strategies. How did they accomplish this? Read the case studies here.
Over two years, Principal Brian R. Johnson of John Bartram High School developed a school attendance team, identified and trained an attendance designee and used data to educate, motivate and lead a school-wide effort that improved the attendance rate by 8 percentage points. Read our profile.

Nineteen school districts and one county office of education are recognized for efforts to improve attendance and reduce dropout rates under California’s Model School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Recognition Program. Watch short summaries of each district’s efforts on YouTube and find the name of each winner’s district attendance team leader on our website.

Everyone is busy, and making sure messages are read and understood is paramount. We’re delighted to announce a new webinar on October 22. Todd Rogers of Harvard University will share the science of writing so families and educators read, understand and take action based on educator’s messages. Register here!
Attendance Tools
Find your own bright spots by examining your data to locate local schools with lower levels of chronic absence. If chronic absence rose during the pandemic, a bright spot could be a school with a lower rate of increase. Districts can take this time to ensure attendance is taken in a consistent way across schools, especially if learning was remote. If your district is not already calculating chronic absence rates, consider utilizing our free excel based tools. Find the tools.
Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in China, individuals of Chinese and Asian descent have been experiencing xenophobic reactions including fear, exclusion and microaggressions that create attendance barriers. The National Association of School Psychologists developed Tips for Teachers and Other Educators to help reduce anxiety and create a welcoming environment for all students. Find the tips.
Research News

New research finds that students who participated in an ethnic studies course in 9th grade had passed more courses than a comparison group and had better attendance during their remaining years in high school. How could one class have such a large effect? Read more about this research in a blog post published in Futurity.

The study, Ethnic studies increases longer-run academic engagement and attainment, is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Find it here.
State News
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond invited Attendance Works Executive Director Hedy Chang and other partners to announce a task force to dramatically increase reading by the end of third grade in California. The push will involve a multifaceted strategy that considers chronic absenteeism, readiness, early education, multilingual learners and the needs of students with disabilities. Read the press release.
Policy News

Start Early led a group of national, state and local early childhood organizations in submitting a joint comment encouraging the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to advance aligned services for young children and to honor the expertise and desires of their families and early learning providers. The letter offered comment for ED’s Fiscal Year 2022-2026 Learning Agenda, a series of research questions that will guide the agency’s research in the years ahead. Learn more

Find Attendance Works’ priorities submitted for the Start Early joint comment here.

There is still time to register for AAC webinar #4! Join us today, September 29, 2021: 11am-12:30pm PT / 2pm–3:30pm ET. Everyone who registers will receive a link to the recorded webinar, presentation slides and a discussion guide. Sign up here!

Find the webinar recording, presentation and discussion guide for this and webinars #1, #2 and #3 on our website.
Partner Spotlight
United Way Worldwide is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide. It brings people and organizations from all sectors of society together to improve EDUCATION, INCOME AND HEALTH, the building blocks for a better life and stronger community.

Real change requires meaningful action, which is why United Way Worldwide built a website to help local United Ways integrate an equity lens in their work. Explore tools and resources United Ways are using – like the Equity Discussion Guide – and see some on-the-ground examples of United Ways leading change. Find the website.
Spread the Word!

Sample Tweets

A school can have 95% daily attendance but still have 30% of students chronically absent: #SchoolEveryDay

Absences drop when families understand what their children are learning while also feeling welcome & supported. #SchoolEveryDay
Corporate Sponsors

A big thank you to this year's Attendance Awareness Corporate Sponsors: EveryDay Labs and Kaiser Permanente.
Campaign Convening Partners
See the full list of Attendance Awareness Partners here.
Attendance Works is a non-profit, national and state initiative. Our mission is to advance student success and reduce equity gaps by addressing chronic absence. Find free downloadable resources, research, consulting services and more on our website:

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