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  • Tony Wold, Ed.D.

Creating a Sense of Urgency: Why Attendance is the Most Important Element of Academic Achievement


In my educational administrative career, I have served as a central office administrator supervising and directing all areas of LEA operations (Student Services, Educational Services, Human Resources, and Business Operations), and I believe that all these central office leaders need to be using data to frame their understanding of issues and make decisions or recommendations


I believe that Superintendents and Boards of Education should create the highest expectation, accountability, and ongoing support to sustain and improve the attendance behaviors of all students. Attendance data has implications that require analysis beyond a simple ADA and often define actions, in multiple areas including Student Services as it relates to behavioral implications and specialized services referrals. Business Services impacts funding in ADA states and staffing formulas in all states


As you read the next series of posts you will see how the power of the story is a leadership tool. We will explore the concept of "story" when we move into my own personal origin story and the pathway it set me on to become a lifelong learner. I started this issue with a focus on actions that educators can take today, that will provide the beginning of a foundation that will propel many students back onto a pathway of improved student achievement. I want to compel action with a sense of urgency because economic indicators show that we are headed for an economic slowdown.


As we discussed before, this was intended to be a quick issue. The context changed as I found that there was much more to the issues of economics and multi-year projections, educational leadership, and student attendance psychology that needed to be explored and explained. It quickly became evident that each of these issues was a component of a larger story or unit, and this story was connected in so many unexpected ways that it was an epic undertaking to put it all together in a comprehensive manner.


The overarching theme, however, is quite simple: I believe that if we put a premium on attendance and build systems of ongoing reinforcement and do so in a proactive, and positive manner we can stem the tide of lost learning.