North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed September 2018 to be Attendance Awareness Month.
In the proclamation, Governor Cooper reminds us that regular school attendance is essential for grade-level reading, academic achievement, and graduation, by giving young students the reading skills they need to achieve, decreasing the likelihood of being retained, and supporting the development of social-emotional skills needed to persist in school.
Missing school just two or three days a month is considered chronic absence and can negatively affect student outcomes. Students from low-income communities are more likely to face systemic barriers to getting to school and more likely to be impacted academically by absences.
The good news is chronic absence is a problem we can solve. It is now a required reporting metric under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Districts across the country are increasing regular attendance by recognizing good and improved attendance, engaging students and families, monitoring attendance data, providing personalized early outreach as needed, and developing systemic responses to attendance barriers. Regular attendance can be significantly increased when schools, families, and communities work together to monitor and promote attendance and address barriers that keep children from getting to school.
The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) is focusing on regular attendance through both the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the North Carolina Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative. Join us for a webinar on September 12 at 10 a.m. to hear the results of chronic absence self-assessment surveys completed by school districts across North Carolina. With help from the North Carolina School Superintendents Association, NCECF asked superintendents to assess their own districts’ attendance policies and practices. Half the districts in North Carolina replied to the survey.
In the webinar, we’ll explore the aggregated results of the survey and share bright spots from around the state that offer actionable steps districts can learn from to improve regular school attendance. School districts and community partners will gain knowledge about chronic absence in North Carolina and hear about local strategies to address local causes of chronic absence.