September is Attendance Awareness Month
September is Attendance Awareness Month, part of a national effort to reduce chronic absenteeism rates, beginning as early as kindergarten. Chronic absenteeism hits low-income students particularly hard and can exacerbate the achievement gap. Absenteeism can be significantly reduced when schools, parents, and communities work together to monitor and promote good attendance and to address the hurdles that keep children from getting to school.
SCOE encourages all districts to recognize Attendance Awareness Month and take action to ensure consistent school attendance.
For the first time, the California Department of Education (CDE) is collecting chronic absenteeism rates in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). This data is critical in helping school administrators and attendance supervisors identify where chronic absenteeism is concentrated in each school district.
The data will allow schools to review their chronic absentee rates and compare them to other schools in California. A student is considered chronically absent when he or she misses 10 percent or more of the days he or she is enrolled. This data will also be included in the California School Dashboard as one of the multiple measures of progress that parents, teachers, administrators, and community members can use to evaluate their schools and districts.
To provide additional support to combat chronic absenteeism, the CDE administers California Learning Communities for School Success grants. The program, established in 2016, awards funds to eligible districts and county offices of education to help with excessive truancy, reduce chronic absenteeism rates, and keep children in school. The grants are awarded annually for three years. More information is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/schoolsuccess.asp.
For information about sample policies to address high chronic absenteeism rates and California’s school attendance review board process for improving school attendance, visit our CDE Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ai/sb/