Community celebrates improved attendance at Wasco Elementary Featured Photo

Community celebrates improved attendance at Wasco Elementary

Tom Chorneau, Managing Editor
SI&A Cabinet Report

With former State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell presiding, students and staff were honored for reaching a nearly perfect 98.1 percent attendance mark during the first week of April – considered a new record for the Wasco Union Elementary District.

The ceremony was part of a day-long event celebrating students, staff and parents throughout the Wasco community after overall attendance in 2010-11 jumped 1.32 percent in just one year – an improvement that recovered over 7,000 learning days.

With family and friends crowded into the school cafeteria, the students at Kern County’s Karl Clemens Elementary won statewide recognition last month for a stunning improvement in attendance.

“What it says is that our students care about their education,” Daniel Arellano, principal at Clemens told a Bakersfield TV crew who came out to cover the Sept. 27 community celebration.

“If they are not in school, they are losing out on a lot of opportunity to learn,” he said.

Wasco, located in the farming region just north of Bakersfield, is one of 60 local educational agencies in California and Texas that successfully use an attendance management system from School Innovations & Advocacy.

The program, Attention2Attendance©, employs a unique web-based infrastructure that gives district and classroom managers near-real time attendance data and trend analysis.

O’Connell, now SI&A’s chief education officer, also presented awards to the students and staff at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, where a Saturday school program ran all year helping students catch back up after missing class.

The overall district improvement also generated an additional $259,406 in state support.

SI&A’s attendance management system is unique for its comprehensiveness and focus on detail. Attention2Attendance is built around adding efficiency to a district’s existing student information system. Automation of parent notification requirements and management of parent conferences streamline the approach, giving district personnel more time for intervention.

Attention2Attendance is today successfully monitoring over 600,000 students at more than 900 sites in California and Texas – including San Francisco Unified and Santa Ana Unified.

Over a seven-year period, users of the system have had an average decrease in full-day absences of 55 percent and in-period absences of 38 percent.

That’s resulted in an increase in Average Daily Attendance of 0.73 percent.

As a result of Attention2Attendance, students now spend 2.5 million more hours in the classroom learning.