FALL 2019
A Note from the Executive Director
Now that we’ve wrapped up September, we were pleased to see so many schools, districts and communities kicking off the new school year by celebrating Attendance Awareness Campaign 2019 and highlighting the importance of attendance every day. We are proud that this year 803 local Superintendents pledged to prioritize attendance (a jump from last year’s 673). Read our press release with the names of each Superintendent.

We were delighted by the success of our September Brief, Using Chronic Absence Data to Improve Conditions for Learning. The report, which drew on the expertise of both Attendance Works and American Institutes for Research (AIR), shows how education, community and policy leaders can use chronic absence data to create positive conditions for learning for teachers and students while also addressing educational inequities. A new interactive map produced by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution shows rates of chronic absence along with community factors and proxies for conditions for learning – including the frequency of exclusionary disciplinary incidents and the most recently available student achievement information – across the country. This interactive map is a valuable resource for those engaged in doing the vital work of improving outcomes for students.

As we move into late fall, it’s important to keep in mind that reducing chronic absence is a year-long effort. Use data to keep on top of dips in attendance. Consider downloading our year-long planning calendar with sample activities for every month, including those weeks when dips in attendance often occur. Find the Attendance Activities School Year Plan. And see the holiday toolkit in this newsletter.

Best wishes,

Hedy N. Chang

Holiday Messaging
Families often don't realize how keeping their student out of school for extra days during the holidays can affect student achievement. Find targeted strategies and tools for educators in the Attendance Works Holiday Messaging toolkit.
How Sick Is Too Sick?
Sometimes it's hard to know when to send a child to school or keep her home and manage chronic conditions. This handout helps explain.
News Highlights
Attendance Awareness Campaign 2019
From the first day of September until the last, the Attendance Awareness Campaign was celebrated with an explosion of activity from schools and communities across the country. They recorded videos, held rallies, issued proclamations, hung posters and, of course, calculated their chronic absenteeism data. We are especially appreciative of this year’s corporate sponsors: In Class Today, Safe and Civil Schools, and French Toast.

Here are a few of the metrics we've gathered:

  • 8,426 people registered for one of our Attendance Awareness Campaign webinars, compared to 6,306 last year.
  • 21,200+ people signed up for our newsletters.
  • 12 attendance awareness updates emailed (go here to see them all)
  • 92 national and state level partners disseminated information to their constituents.
  • 2,253 news stories and blog posts featured attendance issues or Attendance Awareness Month in July, August and September.
  • 7,091 tweets featured the #schooleveryday hashtag in July, August and September, generating 25 million potential impressions. 
  • 555,328 website page views in July, August and September.

AAC Survey
We value your input! Please give us feedback on this year's Attendance Awareness Campaign and offer ideas for how we can improve. Our short survey will just take 5 minutes to complete. Fill in your contact information and enter a drawing to win one of two $50 gift cards. Find the survey here.
Resource Spotlight
A new 10-step guide from the RAND Corporation and Every Hour Counts offers insights into collecting, analyzing and managing data to help nonprofits implement their own processes for harnessing data effectively. Putting Data to Work for Young People is designed for expanded learning intermediaries, or organizations that coordinate efforts and resources in a community and knit programs together into a cohesive system. The guide was commissioned by Every Hour Counts, with support from the Wallace Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Find the guide
Teaching Attendance Online Curriculum
Have you seen our promotional video for the Attendance Works Teaching Attendance Curriculum? The curriculum is a research-based, comprehensive educational program for principals, teachers and school support staff. View the promotional video and sign up for the curriculum here!
State News
Many states are posting reductions in chronic absence rates as they roll out public report cards for the 2018-19 school year. A few highlights we’ve seen: In Connecticut, the state-wide chronic absence rate fell from 10.7 percent in 2017-18 to 10.4 percent in 2018-19. In Mississippi, the school- and district-level chronic absence rate of 13.05 percent was the lowest since the state has been calculating and reporting this metric. And in Oregon, 70 percent of school districts receiving support showed decreases or stability in chronic absenteeism rates for the first time. The Oregon data also shows that all high school grades increased their rates of regular attendance. Check out your state department of education website for your chronic absence data!

Connecticut recently developed a common definition and framework of family engagement to make it easier for all stakeholders to understand what is expected of them and what effective practice looks like. The framework shows how existing family engagement activities can be transformed into high-impact partnerships that build on families’ strengths and promote student attendance. Find the guidance.
Research Spotlight
A May 2019 study suggests the potential promise of two-generation programs for reducing chronic absence. Researchers studied the effect on attendance of family participation in the CareerAdvance® program, which offers healthcare career pathway training for parents combined with Head Start services for children. The researchers found that children of parents who participated in the program had higher levels of daily attendance (by 4.66 days) and lower rates of chronic absence (by 22 percentage points) during the first semester. CareerAdvance® was developed and run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa). Find the study
Webinar Spotlight
Join us on Thursday, November 7, 2019, 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT for Improving Children’s Health By Attending to Attendance, hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on School Health. Panelists will discuss the role of pediatricians in improving children’s health by helping to reduce chronic absence, and review key concepts from the February 2019 AAP policy statement, “The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health." Register
NBC News Learn’s October 24 education summit in Detroit discussed how schools and communities in Detroit are working together to ensure students get to school and are able to learn, in addition to innovative solutions for creating stability for Michigan’s students. The panel, which included Ines de Jesus, Attendance Works Senior Fellow, Rev. Larry Simmons, Executive Director, Brightmoor Alliance and others focused on new research showing the problems of student exit, mobility and absenteeism issues that are present in many districts, particularly in large urban areas. Watch the panel

ICYMI, the recording for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading #LearningTuesday webinar on chronic absence is live! Many communities across the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Network have taken on chronic absence and made progress in the early years through public awareness campaigns, data tracking efforts, community partnerships and other promising strategies. Highlighting work in Phoenix, Kansas City and the Sun Coast of Florida, the webinar highlights the role that local funders can play in partnering with schools, districts and other community stakeholders to launch and then sustain efforts to improve chronic absence. Listen to the webinar recording.

Missed an AAC 2019 webinar? Find the webinar recording, presentation slides and a discussion guide for each on our website.
Donate to Attendance Works
Do you use our free, downloadable resources? Our ability to provide free strategies and tools, webinars, technical assistance and guidance depends on our foundation partners, colleagues and you. Your tax-deductible donation will ensure all students an opportunity to thrive, do well in school and succeed. Any amount is appreciated! You can donate any amount now by clicking the button.
Consulting Services
Need assistance starting a program to address chronic absence, or want to dig deeper to provide interventions to students who are missing too many days? Attendance Works offers fee-based consulting services tailored to individual state agencies, school districts and schools, in addition to free resources and strategies. Find out more.
Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations that are funding our work nationally and in communities across the country: The California Endowment, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, First Five San Francisco, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Hellman Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, Open Society Institute–Baltimore, S.H. Cowell Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Stuart Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.