This toolkit is designed to help you plan your involvement and enlist stakeholders who can help get the message out. You can start planning now for activities in September. We offer a variety of options for promoting good attendance. No school, community or organization should feel that it needs to accomplish all of them. Instead, choose which options work best for you and build the support you need to do more in the following year.
This is a living toolkit that we anticipate will be revised and improved over time. We encourage schools, partners and communities to contribute ideas for improving attendance and to share your successes. Submit your ideas, examples or question here.
In Ohio, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s citywide campaign: Get To School – You Can Make It! ramped up its outreach to school stakeholders and community partners with phone banking, canvassing, college scholarship opportunities, billboards, prizes and celebrations. The Cleveland Browns visited schools and provided uniforms to students in need. Led by CMSD CEO Eric Gordon, the campaign met its goal for the 2015-16 school year with 50.4 percent of District students missing 10 or more days in 2016, compared with 56.1 percent at the same point in 2013.
At a national level, the Points of Light Corps 18 program, offers VISTA Corps members who mobilize and train volunteers to improve attendance and support children and communities in academic conditions that often lack quality resources and/or programs. The program equips volunteers with the right resources to support the right interventions that make a positive impact on student success.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Danielle Grant, Executive Director of the Education and Cultural Services and Indian Education for Minneapolis Public Schools launched Dream Big Minneapolis, an initiative to engage Indian students, families and community organizations in reducing absenteeism. In the past three years, the percentage of Indian students attending school 95 percent of the time increased from 36 to 54 percent; the graduation rate rose from 17 to 32 percent.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a community partnership of Kent School Services Network, Believe 2 Become, United Way, and county health, mental health and social services agencies came together to track chronic absence and intervene with the students, schools and communities most affected. Since implementing the innovative, district-wide Challenge 5 campaign three years ago, test scores have gone up along with a 25% drop in the Grand Rapids Public Schools chronic absence rate.