More than 80 educators representing 18 different school systems recently participated in the Bold Goals Education Attendance Workshop. The 3rd Grade Reading Action Network hosted the workshop to give educators and community partners the latest data and proven strategies for increasing student attendance.
The workshop featured Becky Miles-Polka from the national Attendance Works organization along with local data analyst Dr. Susan McKim, Alabama State Department of Education. Participants learned how to ask key questions in analyzing attendance data, as well as how to create maps from attendance data to identify hotspots for attendance issues in particular neighborhoods.
Why focus so much attention on attendance? Research shows that students who struggle with school attendance are less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade. Chronic absenteeism in the elementary grades is a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school, and low-income children are four times as likely to be chronically absent as their middle-income peers. But research also shows that attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and implement innovative strategies.
The Attendance Workshop also served as the launch event for a longer campaign that will continue throughout the next school year. Schools and school systems can opt-in to this campaign by sharing basic attendance data and setting improvement goals. Schools can opt-in and access extensive resources by visiting www.boldgoals.org/attendance.