Most Promising Technology Solution Provider 2015: the Absolute Importance of Showing Up

Attention2Attendance® was named, for the third consecutive year, as one of the Most Promising Education Technology Solution Providers by CIO Review Magazine
 

Demonstrating the Absolute Importance of Showing Up

Ed Goldman, Author, Columnist
Sacramento Business Journal

VIEW MAGAZINE (Pages 82-84: Product feature and Entrepreneur of the Month)

Over the past few years, Attention2Attendance, or A2A—the software-and-service solution that stresses the importance of students “showing up” for school as being the essential first rung on the climb to a successful life—has itself been showing up in states other than its birthplace. 

Created by School Innovations & Achievement, the national education solutions firm based in California’s Sierra foothills, A2A is now being successfully deployed in not only the Golden State but also in school districts throughout Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas.

By automatically generating a series of communiqués between parents and principals, A2A is designed to get absent students, from very early in their school careers, back into the classroom and into a mindset of wanting to achieve.

The product and its accompanying service package—which has been used to reach well over two million students of various cultures, ethnicity and economic strata—decreases school absenteeism an average of 25 percent. The most staggering statistic: A2A works 100 percent of the time.

“You could call this a ‘stepped’ intervention solution,” says Jeff Williams, president and chief executive officer of School Innovations & Achievement. “What’s been especially gratifying is that once we begin sending out the letters, 54 percent of all the A2A students never required a second intervention.”

Williams says A2A’s reason for being is “deceptively simple. It’s designed to increase learning time, improve school and parent relationships and increase parental engagement and communication. It’s less rocket science than social science—or what used to be called plain old common sense.”

He adds that a bonus for the students, schools and parents is that A2A “actually enhances the school culture by making it more meaningful and encompassing, while greatly reducing the administrative burden of creating, executing and managing the program.

Williams says that school district leaders have so willingly embraced A2A because “they recognize that achievement begins with attendance, and that we have an immediate solution to the attendance/learning crisis they have on their hands.” He says that district leaders know the problem is too big to be solved without personal involvement—their own and that of the parents.

“Like any good executives, district leaders want a comparative analysis of data—how they’re doing in comparison to similar districts, why one district may be doing better than theirs, and how to achieve performance parity,” Williams says. “We’re the only source for that information.”

Williams says that for his company, A2A has become not only a leader in its suite of products, but also “a personal mission for many of our employees, who have young children.” Chronic absenteeism in the early years of learning, he says,  is associated with lower academic performance, especially in reading and math. “Across the country, one in every 10 kindergartners and 1st graders is chronically absent, which means they miss more than 10 percent of the school year. That’s 18 days — or just a couple of days a month, which is why it can sometimes go unnoticed.”

Williams says his company is hardly sitting on its laurels as A2A expands its market and sphere of influence. “We’re about to introduce an ‘app’  for mobile devices that will allow A2A group conferencing,” he says. “We think if parents, principals and kids can all be linked together for an intervention, it can go a long way toward creating the right kind of peer pressure—the idea of winning popularity and respect not for skipping class but instead, for showing up and wanting to succeed.”
 


VIEW MAGAZINE (Pages 82-84: Product feature and Entrepreneur of the Month)