Attendance Awareness Month Update
September 26, 2018
Health providers are key to reducing chronic absence

Illnesses are among the top reasons' students miss school. Yet oftentimes families don't know when a child is too sick for school and don't have the guidance they need from school or health providers. What's more, some children complain of a stomachache when they are actually nervous about going to school. Health providers and school nurses play a key role in attendance efforts.  See our health resources for families, schools and health providers. Our report Mapping the Attendance Gap describes the connection between good health and strong performance.

Attendance Works has developed a handout to help families understand when a sick child is ready to return to school. Find it here.

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What to Do When

Use September to shine the light on how much chronic absence is a challenge in your community and identify which schools and populations need extra support to address barriers to attendance. If you've crunched chronic absence numbers, share with the school board, city officials and, if appropriate, the public. Find local data on The Hamilton Project's interactive data map. Or use the Attendance Works tools for analyzing data.

Hold an end-of-the-month summit, rewarding students with good or improved attendance.

Share Your Story about the Attendance Awareness Campaign on the Attendance Works AAM website. See our form and Share Your Story Map.
Superintendents Call to Action

Please take a look at our advertisement on page 2 in the September 19 issue of Education Week, that lists the 201 Superintendents who took an extra step and provided us with chronic absence estimates. Congratulations to the 673 Superintendents who signed the Call to Action, and pledged to prioritize attendance, mobilize the community and use chronic absence data to see the size of the chronic absence problem and make decisions on how to intervene. Many thanks to Scholastic for sponsoring this ad.  See the ad!
Share Your Story Spotlight!

The Coffee County School System in Manchester, TN, has seen chronic absence drop in the 2017-18 school year. Coffee County schools are implementing attendance incentive and recognition programs and have formed attendance teams to support prevention and early intervention. The #GetYourSelfieToSchool social media campaign has spread across 11 school districts, challenging local business owners to bring attendance to the forefront of conversations. See the social media campaign.

Goochland County Public Schools in Goochland, VA, are getting the word out about the importance of good attendance using elementary school Sunday messages, morning announcements, student ambassador outreach, and counselor lessons. The district is promoting attendance awareness through social media posts, including a Twitter campaign designed by local high school students. Educators are reinforcing these initiatives with a poster contest, Horace Mann-sponsored bike contest, and monthly incentives for perfect attendance. 

Valdosta City Schools in Valdosta and Lowndes, Georgia have updated their attendance protocols and issued a proclamation recognizing Attendance Awareness Month. The district is giving students the scoop about attendance in September through a social media campaign, attendance awareness activities at school football games, and robocalls from the district superintendent. Check out their video here to see why Valdosta students want to go to school!
Resource Spotlight

The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness has created a resource with tips on how Head Start and Early Head Start programs can use health services to address attendance and improve school readiness. Health Services to Promote Attendance provides recommendations for staff for talking with families about why attendance matters, and guidance for families.  Find the handout here.

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation's (NCECF) new report, AttendaNCe Counts: What North Carolina School Districts are Doing to Reduce Chronic Absence, provides results of a self-assessment that asked school districts to share which of their attendance policies and practices are strong, and where there are opportunities for improvement. The assessment responses are the self-reported impressions of school district superintendent office staff. Find the report here.

NCECF released the AttendaNCe Counts Community Toolkit with information on chronic absence by school district as well as tools to support communities in highlighting the importance of regular attendance in the early grades. Find the community toolkit here.
Blog Spotlight

At The Campaign for Grade Level Reading's GLR Week 2018 in Philadelphia Hedy Chang with Attendance Works led a discussion about taking a trauma informed approach to reducing chronic absence. Lorri Hobson of Cleveland Metropolitan School District discussed why a school shooting in 2007 motivated her to oppose taking a punitive response to poor attendance and to emphasize support and engagement. David Osher of American Institute for Research described a framework showing how attendance and achievement improve when schools put in place conditions to address social and emotional learning. Read the blog here with a link to an interview with Hobson and Hedy Chang.
Webinar Spotlight

We had a whopping 6,306 people register for at least one of our Attendance Awareness Month 2018 webinars. Although we have wrapped up our Team Up for Attendance webinar series, the campaign to address chronic absence continues year-round. For tips and inspiration, you can review or view for the first time our webinars.  Find the webinar recording, PowerPoint presentation and discussion guide for Data Matters (9/12), Leadership Matters, (3/28), Working Together Matters (5/8), Community Matters (8/15) on our website.

Join us on October 4  in Council Bluffs, IA for Attendance Matters Conference! United Way of the Midlands and the School Based Attendance Coalition are partnering for this one-day event  highlighting the communities of Baltimore, MD and Cleveland, OH who are moving the needle on chronic absence. Learn more:

Join Panorama Education and Attendance Works on Oct. 12, 2018, at 12 p.m. ET, in a webinar that explores how schools and districts are rethinking their approaches to chronic absenteeism. Speakers will share the ways districts can leverage school climate and social-emotional learning (SEL) to create positive school environments and foster the development of social-emotional skills that support increased attendance. Register here.
News Spotlight
Sponsor Spotlight

A special thanks to our Attendance Awareness Month Campaign corporate sponsor, Scholastic, for its commitment to help ensure that every child is in school every day. Scholastic's investment makes it possible for us to provide you with free strategies and materials:

Scholastic - $20,000
Social Media

Tweet It!

What are you doing to reduce #chronicabsence this year? Let @attendanceworks know! Submit a brief description & your activity will receive a pin on the Share Your Story Map & may be featured on the AAM website, newsletter or in a Tweet!   #SchoolEveryDay

Chronic absence data is a powerful tool for unpacking barriers to being in #SchoolEveryDay & for developing solutions. Zoom in on the #chronicabsence levels in a school, district & state using a new interactive map @hamiltonproj @attendanceworks @JHU_EGC

The new report Data Matters @attendanceworks @JHU_EGC shows how you can use #chronicabsence data to interrupt patterns of inequity & improve outcomes for all kids, particularly our most vulnerable Ss, who deserve an equal opportunity to learn & thrive! #SchoolEveryDay  
Campaign Convening Partners
See the full list of Attendance Awareness Month partners here.
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