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  • Erica Peterson

Promising Practices & Bright Spots

With a predicted COVID surge on the horizon, a record number of students failing their courses, and alarming rates of disengagement reflected in early chronic absentee data, I felt called to highlight promising practices that, when amplified across a district, can make a positive impact on students in this anything but conventional school year. This is the first in a series of upcoming posts that will outline Practices & Bright Spots of district/school successes.

First up is communication surrounding absences.

We continue to hear concerns and frankly, outright refusal from some districts, to implement attendance interventions. I will save my “Creating a Culture of Low Expectations” speech for another blog post and let the data related to the effectiveness of specific interventions encourage districts and allay concerns.

"...we are seeing a 51.5% uptick in participation after a family receives a Distance Learning letter."

Based on the early indicators, if districts are not deploying attendance interventions, like mail-based notifications, they should and quickly. For our A2A districts sending Distance Learning letters, the early saveRATE results are encouraging. For unexcused absences in the distance learning environment we are seeing a 51.5% uptick in participation after a family receives a Distance Learning letter.

In addition, families or students that are “missing,” meaning families that have been nonresponsive to calls and emails, No Contact letters are incredibly effective, generating a 40% saveRATE for our A2A districts. Here’s what our friend at Lompoc USD had to say about it:

“Just letting you know that some parents that have gotten attendance letters are finally reaching out to me. I know that one of the parents told the district that she did not know her son needed a Chromebook, but just to let you know, when I spoke to the mother, I told her that we had recorded the numerous times and dates that either the teachers or myself tried to get a hold of her by phone, and by text. Then she said that her phones were not working. Her son is now connecting into his Zoom classes.”

This is just one of many success stories where a student is now attending Zoom classes due to the attendance letters and the work of the school attendance liaison.

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