More than 40 Campaign for Grade-Level Reading community leaders and Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Regular School Attendance Design Team members came together recently to discuss how to tackle chronic absence in NC. The strategy discussion, hosted by the NC Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF), featured Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works. Attendance Works is a national organization that provides expertise, research and technical assistance on reducing chronic absence.
Chronic absenteeism has been gaining attention in NC. The State Board of Education is discussing it as a possible measure of school quality, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires the collection and publication of chronic absence data. The strategy session was an opportunity for both the Campaign communities and the Pathways Design Team to expand their knowledge about chronic absence strategies that work and help them prioritize strategies for action.
Participants heard about what is happening nationally and in states such as Arkansas, where the Campaign for Grade-LevelReading is leading the charge. Read more about the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Make Every Day Count initiative.
Here in NC, NCECF is supporting chronic absence work across the state.
- In 2017, NCECF published AttendaNCe Counts, an issue paper about chronic absenteeism in NC. The report assesses the current state-level policy climate around attendance in NC and concludes with recommendations for next steps.
- This year, as part of the ESSA work, NCECF will continue to educate and engage stakeholders, such as the State Board of Education and school district superintendents, about chronic absence and its relationship to student achievement.
- NCECF will create case studies about successful efforts to address chronic absenteeism.
- To support communities in beginning to build awareness on chronic absence, NCECF will create a community toolkit in preparation for Attendance Awareness Month in September.