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Why Attendance Matters for Out of School Time. ________________________________________ www. Attendanceworks.org. What Do We Mean By School Attendance?.

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www attendanceworks org

Why Attendance Matters for Out of School Time


www. Attendanceworks.org


What Do We Mean By School Attendance?

Chronic Absence: missing 10% or more of school over the course of an academic year for any reason. Research shows 10% is associated with declining academic performance. No standard definition exists.

Satisfactory Attendance: missing 5% or less over the course of an academic year for any reason.

Truancy: refers only to unexcused absences and is defined by each state, according to NCLB.

Average Daily Attendance: the percent of enrolled students who attend school each day.

most do not monitor chronic absence
Most Do Not Monitor Chronic Absence
  • Teachers take roll but districts do not use attendance data to analyze levels of chronic absence.
  • States do not necessarily include attendance in their longitudinal student data bases. Most do not report on chronic absence though MD is a notable exception.
  • Individual student attendance is not required by current federal laws (e.g. NCLB, RTT).


most do not monitor chronic absence1
Most Do Not Monitor Chronic Absence
  • Most schools only track average daily attendance and truancy. Both can mask chronic absence.

Varying levels of chronic absence among 10 Baltimore schools with 95%ADA


chronic early absence adversely affects academics especially for low income children
Chronic Early Absence Adversely Affects Academics Especially for Low-income Children

Among poor children, chronic K absence in predicted lower 5th grade achievement.

Source: National Center for Children In Poverty

poor attendance predicts drop out by 6 th grade
Poor Attendance Predicts Drop Out by 6th Grade


Source: Baltimore Education Research Consortium

by 9 th grade attendance can predict graduation better than test scores
By 9th Grade, Attendance Can Predict Graduation Better than Test Scores

On Time Graduation Correlation to 9th Grade Attendance

Chronic Absence

Source: Allensworth & Easton, What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools,

Consortium on Chicago School Research at U of C, July 2007


Why Does Attendance Matter for OST?

  • Research and field experience show OST can help improve attendance in school.
  • Focusing on attendance can improve collaboration with schools
  • By ↑school day attendance, OST can improve the academic success and reduce drop-out.
what we know from field experience
What We Know From Field Experience

Good OST programs can:

  • Provide socialization and peer attention in a supervised venue
  • Re-establish the link between effort and results—first in a non-school activity
  • Engage students in challenging activities that help them develop persistence.
  • Provide consistent contact with caring, stable adults.
  • Increasing a sense of belonging at school.

Consider the Impact OST Can Have on Attendance

  • 32.5% of the School Philadelphia-enrolled students in 2009-2010 were considered chronically truant - 10 or more unexcused absences in a year
  • 20% of K-5th graders in NYC missed a month of school in 2008 (Center for NYC Affairs)

3) 9% of 1st graders in the entire nation in 2008 were chronic absentees (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study)



Consider the Impact OST Can Have on Attendance

4) All 5th graders who were chronically absent in kindergarten had lower academic performance in reading and math and poor children had the lowest performance, especially Latino youth (National Center for Child Poverty)

5) Children who attend school less than 80% of the time have an 80-90% chance of not graduating on time (Herzog and Balfanz, The Early Warning Indicators Project, 2005)


Why Does Attendance Matter for OST?

  • Research and field experience show OST can help improve attendance in school.
  • Focusing on attendance can improve collaboration with schools.
  • By ↑school day attendance, OST can improve the academic success and reduce drop-out.

Philadelphia OST Systems and Multi-Systems Collaboration

* Creating the culture/atmosphere

* Encouraging providers to be proactive with school personnel, recruitment efforts, varied student data sets, parents, and youth themselves

* Offering training in our OST Professional Development Project

* Engaging our “other” OST systems to follow suit

* Partnering with DHS Parenting Collaborative and PA Keys/SERK


Examples of Other Ideas

* Mega-system data analysis

* Identify and address barriers to school attendance

* (Pre-recorded) Celebrity automated phone calls

* Application of chronic absence data to allocate relevant resources including OST programming

* Interagency task forces

*Varied partner and community collaborations

*Weekly interdisciplinary attendance review teams

School and citywide attendance events

* Add yours and tell others

data can help identify programmatic solutions
Data Can Help Identify Programmatic Solutions
  • Examine attendance patterns by classroom, grade, school, neighborhood or sub-population.
  • If chronic absence is unusually high for a particular group of students explore what might be common issues (unreliable transportation, community violence, asthma, unnecessary suspension for non-violent offenses, lack of engaging curriculum, foreclosures, etc.)
  • If chronic absence is unusually low for a high risk population, find out what they are doing that works.


schools communities can make a difference
Schools + Communities CAN Make a Difference

Characteristics of Effective Strategies

  • Partner with community agencies to help parents carry out their responsibility to get children to school.
  • Make attendance a priority, set targets and monitor progress over time.
  • Examine factors contributing to chronic absence, especially from parent and student perspectives.
  • Clearly communicate expectations to parents.
  • Begin early, ideally in Pre-K.
  • Combine universal and targeted strategies.
  • Offer positive supports before punitive action.

Source: Present, Engaged & Accounted For

where can you begin
Where Can You Begin ?

Step 1: Create Culture of Attendance Starting in Your Afterschool Program.


  • Your program benefits from higher attendance
  • You can model the good attendance habits that you want to see in school.
  • You have authority to add this to your own program
strategies for creating culture of attendance in a s
Strategies for Creating Culture of Attendance in A/S
  • Take roll every day in a caring manner
  • Reach out to students/families with poor attendance
  • Establish and communicate clear expectations about regular attendance
  • Offer incentives for attendance
  • Analyze program attendance data to identify areas in need of improvement.

What would you add?

what next step 2 get attendance data on program participants
What Next? Step 2: Get Attendance Data on Program Participants
  • Seek parent waiver allowing A/S to see attendance and grades, ideally as standard part of enrollment.
  • Regularly get data on in-school attendance for program participants.
  • Find out if you are serving any students with problematic attendance.
  • Talk to school about working together to assist poor attenders.
what next step 3 find out about attendance in schools served
What Next? Step 3: Find Out About Attendance In Schools Served
  • Ask schools if they could give you names of chronically absent students to target for recruitment.
  • Ask for data on levels of chronic absence for schools overall, grade and ethnic population to help identify needed areas of program expansion/outreach. [cont.]
what next step 3 find out about attendance in schools served1
What Next? Step 3: Find Out About Attendance In Schools Served
  • Find out if schools are engaged in work to reduce chronic absence and improve attendance. If so, ask if you can assist.
  • Learn if your school has a team that monitors attendance data; find out if you can attend, at least occasionally.
pushing the envelope
“Pushing the Envelope”

Promoting Physical Activity and Healthy Eating

    • Upcoming Workshops
    • Summer Pilot Sites: Wordsworth, Community Education Alliance, and Boys & Girls Club
    • Fall Pilot Participants: H&S, Wordsworth, EducationWorks, Catholic Social Services, Project HOME and United Communities
  • Emily Hirshorn, Community Education Alliance