Paula Ambrose is the education program officer at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the communications director for Oakland Reads 2020.

September Counts

September is Attendance Awareness Month: a time when we shine a spotlight on the importance of kids attending school every day.

Did you know that children who have good attendance in September are most likely to thrive all year long? Research shows that just missing 2 or more days of school in September is a warning sign that a student is more likely to have problems with school attendance the rest of the year. Regular school attendance is important to student achievement and September counts!

Hats off to the Oakland Unified School District for tackling this problem head on! Over the past few years, they have reduced chronic absence rates from 16% to 10% using positive strategies like recognizing students with good and improved attendance, checking in with each student and his or her family, and supporting partnerships that provide health and enrichment services to students (just to name a few).

 What You Can Do

Oakland Reads 2020 is fortunate to have a great partner in Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success, starting with school entry. Check out the excerpt from their newsletter below. It contains links to resources that can help you raise awareness and take action. Even small actions like adding the Attendance Awareness month logo/badge to your email, or their banner as your Facebook profile picture, can help call attention to the importance of #schooleveryday!

New People Toolkit Lays Out Attendance Strategy

A new toolkit released by Attendance Works lays out how districts and schools can identify students at risk for chronic absence early in the school year and then work with parents and community partners to turn around attendance and achievement. The Power of Positive Connections calls for using absenteeism records from past years and from the first month of school to identify which students would most benefit from relationships and supports to motivate daily attendance. It provides a step-by-step guide for a data-driven strategy known as PEOPLE (Priority Early Outreach for Positive Linkages and Engagement). Download the toolkit at no cost.

Video Urges Parents to Promote Attendance

Ask parents about the importance of school attendance in the early grades, and they can tell you why showing up every day matters. They can also share their very real challenges in getting children to school. Bringing Attendance Home, a new video, features parents talking to other parents about reducing absenteeism. The video is perfect for a back-to-school night or parent summit. Check out the video and use the discussion guide to lead a conversation with parents.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.
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