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The Baltimore City Student Attendance Work Group. Building Innovative Partnerships for Student Success. Coalition for Community Schools 2010 National Forum. Thursday April 8, 2010. A Collaborative Effort . Work Group Co-Chairs:

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The baltimore city student attendance work group

The Baltimore City Student Attendance Work Group

Building Innovative Partnerships for Student Success

Coalition for Community Schools

2010 National Forum

Thursday April 8, 2010

A collaborative effort
A Collaborative Effort

Work Group Co-Chairs:

Jonathan Brice, Executive Director of Student Support - Baltimore City Public Schools,

Sabrina Sutton, Special Assistant to the Mayor, and

Jane Sundius, Director of Education and Youth – OSI Baltimore

Key Partners:

Over 100 representatives of public schools, city agencies, state agencies, universities, foundations, public interest groups, program providers and student organizations.

The baltimore city student attendance work group1
The Baltimore City Student Attendance Work Group

The Work Group’s charge is to investigate reasons for the high rates of student absence from school.

Identify policies, practices and public, private and community resources necessary to dramatically increase the number of children who attend school every day.

Why focus on student attendance
Why Focus on Student Attendance?

  • Children’s attendance levels decline, on average, as students progress through school

  • Chronic absence as early as kindergarten is predictive of future chronic absence and lower academic achievement without interventions

  • Poor student attendance predicts high school dropout rates

Community and school response
Community and School Response

Baltimore City Public Schools

  • Provide clear, targeted and consistent messaging about how to measure attendance, why it is important, and expected outcomes.

  • Become advocates for the use of attendance as a respond to indicator within City Schools and ensure that it informs decision making and the response framework.

    Individual Public School Leaders

  • Ensure standard expectation is every student attends school every day & when a student is absent there is a school level response beginning with a call home.

  • Monitor and use all attendance measures to inform school attendance plan: chronic absence (early predictor), truancy (legal), high attenders (tipping point), and attendance rate (Adequate Yearly Progress).

Collecting and monitoring data on chronic absence
Collecting and Monitoring Data On Chronic absence

  • Attendance is tracked daily and in secondary schools by class in Baltimore City

  • Attendance data is uploaded to the principal’s dashboard weekly

  • Principals have access to an alert list of students on track to becoming chronically absent, a list of students who were chronically absent in the prior school year, and the school’s chronic absence rate as compared to its own rate in the prior school year

The role of community schools in helping to address chronic absence
The role of Community Schools In Helping to Address Chronic Absence

  • Agree that an accountability outcome will be improved student attendance

  • Through a team approach create attendance targets based on the data either for the school as a whole or for sub populations of students

  • Determine the number of students that Community School providers will work to serve

  • Determine how the work will be measured

  • Record Community Schools efforts to improve attendance

Tiered strategies to improve attendance
Tiered Strategies to Improve Attendance Absence

Tier 1 – Universal Strategies (for all students)

  • Establish a school-going culture including. response to each absence, welcoming back absent students, communicating the importance of regular attendance to the home.

  • Utilize Global Connect or make phone calls home after each absence

  • Offer classroom attendance incentives for improved good attendance

  • Utilize school attendance incentives such as attendance ceremonies, special trips for high attenders and rewarding parents whose children regularly attend

Tiered strategies to improve attendance1
Tiered Strategies to Improve Attendance Absence

Tier 2 – Intervention Strategies (for students who miss 5 or more days of school)

  • Refer a student with attendance problems to the SST including all of the adults who touch the child’s life (e.g. school nurse, after school providers, and the community schools coordinator.)

  • Assign special activities to increase at risk student’s feeling of belonging

  • Develop attendance plan with student & parents

  • Provide the family with an alarm clock

  • Refer to programs like Truancy Court or B-SMART

Tiered strategies to improve attendance2
Tiered Strategies to Improve Attendance Absence

Tier 3 – Recovery Strategies (for students who are missing at least 10% of their days on role)

  • Involve external partners in the provision of needed services such as mental health providers

  • Conduct a home visit

  • Refer the student to the Attendance Office

District systems reforms affecting attendance
District Systems Reforms Affecting Attendance Absence

  • Reforming school suspension policy

  • Reducing the number of school transitions by creating schools grades k-8 and 6-12

  • Increasing student and family options by creating and supporting innovation, contract, charter and transformation schools

Results to date
Results to Date Absence

  • % Missing 20 or More Days of School

Results to date1
Results To Date Absence

% Missing Fewer than 5 Days

Reflections Absence

  • Everything matters a little bit.

  • So little attention has been paid to attendance that there are many no- or low-cost interventions that can be put in place.

  • Beware of tendency to solve chronic absence with punitive action

  • Pay attention to punitive policies that reduce attendance

  • Big improvements especially in low performing districts require performance rubrics that include attendance measures not just standardized test scores.

The baltimore city student attendance work group

The Baltimore City Student Attendance Work Group Absence


Sue Fothergill

Student Attendance Work Group Coordinator