SUMMER 2020
A Note from the Executive Director
As we head into the summer, we hope that you are finding ways to engage in much needed self-care, reflection and planning. We know that investing in your physical and mental health is crucial to having the fortitude needed to weather the current crises and to fight for better outcomes.

Take a moment to reflect upon lessons learned from your work with students, families and your community this past spring, and build upon the strengths while also identifying what should be revised or stopped. Use those insights to plan for putting in place positive conditions for learning, whether learning in the new school year is in person, virtual or offered in some other form.

Looking ahead to the new school year, Attendance Works especially urges state, district and school site leaders to determine how to reinstate practices for taking daily attendance and using data on absenteeism to target and offer needed supports to students and families.

To support such practices, Attendance Works has developed a new data framework. Our framework offers additional metrics for monitoring attendance in any type of distance learning: contact, connectivity, relationships and participation. Learn more about the framework here.

We shared an early version of this framework during our May 15th webinar, Engaging Students and Families During Covid-19, that had a record-breaking 8,255 registrants, with 4,600+ participants during the live event! Used together with existing data on chronic absence, these new metrics can help educators, partners, families and students take steps to reduce educational inequities. Find the webinar recording here.

Our summer newsletter is packed with resources to help with planning for the new year. These materials are designed to help you cope and grapple with the realities of Covid-19 at school, and the urgent need to manage the especially adverse impact on communities of color and families already struggling with poverty. Read our blog post to learn more about Attendance Works’ reflections about addressing inequities and systemic racism in schools.

Please stay healthy and safe in these challenging times.

Best wishes,

Hedy N. Chang
Founder and Executive Director
We are helping states, districts and schools understand how to use all of their data to achieve their goals, and we are reinforcing the importance of building relationships with families and students now and in the future. Our ability to provide free strategies, resources and technical assistance depends on our foundation partners, colleagues and you. Please consider donating to Attendance Works here !
AAC Webinar!
Data + Relationships to Support Transitions to School
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
11-12:30pm PT / 2-3:30pm ET
News Highlights
Attendance Awareness Campaign 2020
For our eighth Attendance Awareness Campaign, we are calling on everyone to focus on growing and maintaining relationships between families, students, teachers and schools, whether learning is in person, remote or a blend.

This year’s theme, Present, Engaged and Supported! highlights the role that everyone—from educators to health professionals, to local agency and business partners—can play in supporting students and families who will be returning to school after being out of the routine for six months or more. We all can help connect students and families to needed resources to overcome barriers to accessing rich and supportive learning opportunities. Download our updated key messages Read our blog  about the launch of the 2020 campaign.

Look for a special focus on the transition back to school during the coronavirus pandemic. Our new transition guide, which will be released during the July 22 AAC kickoff webinar, offers guidance for school teams to develop plans that support the engagement of families of students who experienced trauma, lost out on significant learning opportunities, and continue to face educational disparities. We’ll also consider how districts and schools can use today’s challenges as an opportunity to address the inequities that make it difficult for some of our children to participate fully in learning. Register for the kickoff webinar here!
Resource Spotlight
We’re delighted to announce the Attendance Playbook: Smart Strategies for Reducing Chronic Absence in the Covid Era. Developed by FutureEd, in partnership with Attendance Works, the playbook has been expanded to include 26 strategies that address student chronic absence, and divides the strategies into the three tiers of intervention. It includes Covid-19 considerations that show ways to adapt evidence-based practices when it is not possible to meet face-to-face.

Attendance Works has created an implementation guide to the newly updated Attendance Playbook. The guide offers seven steps that will assist educators and their teams in thinking through key questions in selecting, prioritizing, and implementing strategies, and assessing how well the strategies worked. It includes charts and checklists. Find the Guide to Using the Attendance Playbook: Smart Strategies for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism in the Covid Era.

Some students and families have not been in touch with their schools during the pandemic. Contacting all students will be more important than ever to communicate how protocols and procedures have changed for the upcoming school year. We've developed a list of ideas and strategies for making this connection. Download Strategies for Connecting with Students and Families.
As schools plan to reopen, students, families and educators need ways to process and respond to the challenges and impacts from the coronavirus. Each chapter in Kaiser Permanente’s Playbook for School Reopening includes five “starter plays” that provide practical strategies and actionable steps improving health in both in-person and virtual school environments. Explore the mental health and well-being chapter of Kaiser’s Planning for the Next Normal at School.


The 31st edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book is now available! This publication includes annual state rankings, multi-year trends, and the latest available data on child well-being. Explore 4th grade attendance data for your state here .

Attendance Works is pleased to share our part in a new book from Simon & Schuster, published on May 5. Ask For More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything, by Alexandra Carter, explains how using questions opens the door to communicate more effectively in any discussion. Read our blog post about the book

We’re posting resources that address student and family health and equity, as well as federal and state resource pages. We advise consulting your state education and public health agencies as well as your school district and local public health department for local information. Do you have a resource to share? Find our webpage, Coronavirus: Resources for Educators
Research News
New research by the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education found that when City Year AmeriCorps members actively worked to build students' social emotional skills, while engaging in academic tutoring of students struggling in math and English, the students’ attendance and academic achievement improved. Find the research report.
Developed to complement the new research by the Everyone Graduates Center, City Year’s Guide for Practitioners and Policymakers is packed with practices, tools and recommendations for integrating social, emotional and academic approaches to support students. Find City Year’s guide.

The State of Young People during COVID-19, a survey of 3,300 teens aged 13-19, reveals their perceptions of the pandemic’s impact on their learning and their lives. The findings, released by from America’s Promise Alliance, suggest that students are experiencing a collective trauma, and that they and their families would benefit from immediate and ongoing support. While students are showing up to learn, three-quarters report spending between 1 and 4 hours on these activities during a typical day—far less time than a regular school day. Find the survey.
Policy News
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new requirements for districts to document absences and to report chronic absenteeism rates for the 2020-21 school year. The measures are part of the state’s massive 2020-2021 budget.

The new attendance monitoring measures include documenting daily participation for distance learning and developing tiered reengagement strategies for all kids who are absent from distance learning. Strategies can include verification of contact information, daily notification of absences to parents/guardians, and an outreach plan to determine pupil needs. The budget includes a one-time investment to support students who were most heavily impacted by school closures due to the pandemic. Find out more in the state's budget summary.
State News
In California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recognized 14 model programs for reducing chronic absenteeism rates and improving student attendance. These model SARBs (school attendance review boards) developed multi-tiered attendance strategies during the school year that were successfully adapted during distance learning. Congratulations to the 14 SARBs! Learn more.
A number of state education departments have developed plans for reopening schools at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year. Arizona’s Roadmap for Reopening Guidance prioritizes the well-being of students, educators and families. Find it here.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together, a roadmap for districts. The plan includes guidance on monitoring attendance, such as advising schools to actively track the reasons for absences to identify any trends that would suggest spread of illness such as Covid-19. Learn more.
Events and Webinars
Attendance Works is delighted to be a part of the week-long series of events and activities sponsored by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. From July 13-17, 2020, this virtual event will feature sessions geared toward ensuring early school success; mobilizing efforts to slow, stop, and reverse learning loss; and embracing parents as essential partners. Register today! 

View a brief GLR promo video featuring our Executive Director, Hedy Chang

We’re planning two more Attendance Awareness Campaign webinars. Save the dates! Stay tuned for more details including our special speakers.

  • Creating an Engaging and Restorative Environment to Support Transitions to School: Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 11am-12:30pm PT / 2-3:30pm ET
  • Best Practices for Successful Transition During Covid-19: Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 11am-12:30pm PT / 2-3:30pm ET
Consulting Services
In addition to free resources and strategies, Attendance Works offers fee-based consulting services tailored to individual state agencies, school districts and schools. We are developing virtual options that provide the same high-quality technical assistance. For more information email cecelia@attendanceworks.org
Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations that are currently funding our work nationally and in communities across the country: GRoW @ Annenberg, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Arkansas Community Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The California Endowment, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, Hellman Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Open Society Institute–Baltimore, The Patterson Foundation, Rogers Family Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Stuart Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.