Attendance Awareness Campaign webinar #2 — Relationships All Year Round: Nurturing Showing Up! (May 10) — delved into late-pandemic stress and ways to support students as they rebuild their school attendance routines and relationships. The webinar featured four experts speaking about students, stress and overcoming today’s many challenges to attendance and engagement.
Listen to the webinar recording, and find the presentation slides and chat room summary, when you scroll down this page.
Moderators Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, and Kwesi Rollins, vice president for leadership and engagement at the Institute for Educational Leadership, kicked off the session. Hedy clarified the difference between chronic absence and truancy and called chronic absence both a leading indicator and a cause of educational inequity.
Taking a multi-tiered approach to improving attendance and engagement begins with prevention, Hedy said. The featured speakers provided examples of preventive measures, such as creating a sense of belonging, and strategies to improve engagement and communication with families and students.
• Yolie Flores, CEO and president, Families in Schools
• Shadae Harris, chief engagement officer, Richmond Public Schools
• Phyllis Jordan, associate director, FutureEd, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy
• Aldo Ramirez, associate superintendent, educational services, Salinas City Elementary School District
Yolie Flores outlined four challenges for students: high stress and anxiety; fear of gun violence; and a lack of connection and belonging.
Shadae Harris described how her district successfully reduced chronic absence through its year-long approach to building the capacity of schools to take a data driven approach to communications and partnerships with families. Strategic interventions included: School based engagement incentives to encourage increased attendance, ongoing communication with families via text and voice messages about attendance data, regular home visits and resource support, hub-wide support of schools with higher needs and school-wide training and professional learning on attendance engagement strategies.
Aldo Ramirez shared how he created a data informed community of practice that allowed schools in his district to test out new approaches to improving attendance. They also used the data to identify which schools were having the most success so they could share their effective practices with their peers. Ramirez emphasized the benefits of focusing on engagement over a more punitive approach to responding to truancy.
And, Phyllis Jordan discussed the just updated Attendance Playbook 3.0, developed by FutureEd and Attendance Works. She reviewed several strategies in the playbook, including those to improve communication with families and caregivers. Phyllis discussed best practices related to family communication: Lead with empathy; avoid punitive language; use precise, personalized information; and be in touch repeatedly.
If you missed this event, click here and scroll down for the archived recording and materials.
Save the dates and register today for the remaining Attendance Awareness Campaign webinars for 2023, on August 9 and September 27!
We greatly appreciate RaaWee K-12 Solutions and School Technology Associates Inc. for their generous support of the 2023 Attendance Awareness Campaign and this webinar. We could not have held this event without their support.