September is Attendance Awareness Month!
Chronic absence is defined as missing 10% or more of the school year (i.e., 18 days or more). Students who are absent from school miss critical opportunities to learn and develop positive relationships within the school community, and are at risk of disengagement from school, academic failure, and dropping out. 

In Rhode Island, during the 2015-2016 school year, 11% of students in kindergarten through third grade were chronically absent, while 15% of middle school students and 26% of high school students were chronically absent. From the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year, Rhode Island saw a reduction in chronic absence rates in the early grades: 18% to 14% for kindergarten students, 14% to 11% for first graders, 12% to 10% for second graders, and 11% to 10% for third graders.

Committed leaders across Rhode Island are collaborating to track this issue and to implement strategies to increase attendance. We're glad to work in close partnership with Rhode Island Department of Education, school superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and community partners to reduce chronic absence! 

Attendance Awareness Month is a nationwide recognition of the connection between school attendance and academic achievement. Everybody plays a role in ensuring children attend school regularly - click here for suggestions on how to improve attendance and reduce chronic absence! You can also follow & join the conversation on social media all month long by using the hashtag #SchoolEveryDay - and see some great resources here!

Important New National Report on Chronic Absence 
Please see Attendance Work's annual report, Portraits of Change: Aligning School and Community Resources to Reduce Chronic Absence, which provides a national and state analysis of how many schools face high levels of chronic absence and discusses the implications for state and local action.
Spotlight on Student-Centered Learning
Each week in September, during Education Innovation Month*, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT will be releasing a Spotlight highlighting how student-centered learning is being implemented across Rhode Island. The first Spotlight, Learning Is Competency-Based: Spotlight on Cumberland High School, includes principal, teacher, and student perspectives on Cumberland High School's experiences moving toward competency or proficiency-based learning.

Future Spotlights will include:  
  • Learning Anytime, Anywhere: Spotlight on FabNewport 
  • Personalized Learning: Spotlight on 360 High School 
  • Students Take Ownership Over Their Own Learning: Spotlight on Providence Student Union

* To join the Education Innovation month conversation on social media, use the hashtag #RIEdInno.

Early Learning
Children are learning from the moment they are born. Rhode Island has a diverse array of early learning programs for young children.

As of the 2017-2018 school year: 
  • Head Start provides high-quality early education to over 2,000 low-income three- and four-year-old children statewide. 
  • State Pre-K serves over 1,000 four-year-olds from 11 low-income Rhode Island communities. Rhode Island's State Pre-K program is recognized as one of the best in the U.S. 
  • The Child Care Assistance Program helps over 5,000 children ages birth through 5 enroll in early learning programs (child care centers and family child care homes) while their parents work. 
  • All school districts in Rhode Island provide universal full-day kindergarten. Many school districts also operate inclusive preschool classrooms that serve children with developmental delays and disabilities along with typically developing children. 
  • The BrightStars Quality Rating and Improvement System helps families find child care and early learning options and supports program quality improvement. Visit BrightStars at to look for programs in your community.
Resources for Successfully Transitioning Back to School 

It's never easy to say goodbye to summer vacation, but when it comes to preparing for the coming school year, starting early - and making time for everyone to readjust to routines - can make a big difference. 

With that in mind, has rounded up back-to-school resources to help make this year's transition from beach days to backpacks smoother and more productive for the whole family:
The Factbook - A Great Resource for Data on Rhode Island Children, Education, and More!
The 2017 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook provides a statistical portrait of the status of Rhode Island's children and families, incorporating the best available research and data.

Use the following links to explore the Factbook sections!  Family and CommunityEconomic Well-BeingHealthSafety, and  Education

As well as:  
  • New England and U.S. Ranks
  • Rhode Island Community Snapshots, which compiles our Factbook data in an easy-to-read format for each city and town in the state! Access Community snapshots for each of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns, as well as the four core cities, and Rhode Island as a whole.
Join Our Mailing List!
Are you interested in specific areas of child well-being? Rhode Island KIDS COUNT publishes E-Newsletters on specific areas related to child well-being: 
  • Children's Health and Health Insurance 
  • Child Welfare/Juvenile Justice 
  • Early Childhood/Early Learning 
  • Student-Centered Learning
  • RI Campaign for Grade-Level Reading 
  • Rhode Island KIDS COUNT also publishes a general interest E-Newsletter. 

Please click here to start receiving these updates today!