May 25 webinar: What Promotes Engagement and Attendance? Insights from Students, Parents and Educators


The second 2022 Attendance Awareness Campaign webinar, What Promotes Engagement and Attendance? Insights from Students, Parents and Educators,  focused on developing community-centered strategies to address the underlying issues that lead to chronic absenteeism. Here’s a quick summary:

The panel of organization leaders, school administrators and students shared their insights on issues that contributed to low student engagement and increased absenteeism.

Hedy Chang, Attendance Works executive director, moderated the panel, and Kwesi Rollins, vice president for Leadership & Engagement at the Institute of Educational Leadership (IEL) offered introductory remarks. They established the connection between educational inequity and chronic absenteeism, and described the new challenges to showing up and participating at school created by the pandemic and economic downturn.

Hedy reviewed Attendance Work’s new toolkit, Showing Up Matters for R.E.A.L. This comprehensive resource encourages strong communication between schools, districts and students, families and community partners to effectively diagnose challenges, develop interventions and support strategies to cultivate a culture of engagement and attendance.

Dr. Shadae Harris, chief engagement officer for Richmond Public Schools in Virginia, explained Richmond Public School’s neighborhood-centered model which is grounded in data-based solutions to chronic absenteeism. The multi-tiered approach is rooted in collaboration and communication between teacher, students and families which are strengthened by the work of family liaisons.

Gloria Corral, President and CEO of the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), reviewed data from state-wide surveys in California which reveal large discrepancies in access to education due to unstable housing and food, lack of technology and concerns related to the pandemic that disproportionately impact low-income, English language learners and students of color. Forty-nine percent of families surveyed reported substantial concern over their student’s academic learning in light of the various factors that exist outside of the classroom.

Raven Harris, Assistant Principal at MacArthur Middle School of Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland provided an overview of the solutions that the school and the community have enacted in order to address attendance. The district developed solutions to address challenges in transportation, those related to mental health and Covid-19. Raven emphasized how regular communication and including students in identifying challenges and creating solutions is helping to keep students engaged and on track.

We were delighted that Kei’mon Royster, an 8th grade student from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, was on hand to share his experiences with the school’s solutions from the student perspective.

The speakers provided several model programs and solutions that are grounded in engaging families and students in the discussion about attendance. They showed how these solutions are catered toward the various concerns of the students and families in their communities, which can help create an encouraging and trustworthy environment that results in student engagement and attendance.

Listen to the webinar recording, and find the presentation slides and chat room summary when you scroll down on this page.

There are two webinars left in the AAC 2022 series! Register for both here. We hope to see you there!

Get the latest attendance news, resources, events and research in your inbox. Sign up here!