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  • John Franco

SI&A adapts services to help districts bridge digital divide

New COVID-19-specific messaging included with the award-winning Attention2Attendance (A2A) program will help current and new partner districts better meet the academic and mental health needs of their communities no matter where they are.

(El Dorado Hills, Calif.) The digital divide—the gap between those who have a computer or tablet and broadband access—has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since schools closed across the country, as many as one in four students are not checking in for their virtual instruction, and teachers have been unable to contact these children via email. This leaves students at risk of dropping out.

Since 2003, School Innovations & Achievement’s (SI&A) Attention2Attendance (A2A) software has helped its partner districts address equity gaps by tackling chronic absenteeism before it starts. Now, as schools have adapted to provide distance learning at a moment’s notice, SI&A too has added to its award-winning attendance tracking software to provide new, comprehensive messaging to ensure districts can continue to focus on supporting their families in crisis.

By sending physical letters to families in their home language, districts can be certain all their students are reached regardless of their ability to connect to the internet. New letters note if a child has not logged on and provides positive messaging on the importance of attendance as well as information on resources and supports for students to get what they need not only to connect to WiFi, but succeed in online learning now and in the coming year.

In addition, full-color mailers are available to engage parents and younger children by helping them find math, reading and science learning opportunities in simple, everyday activities. There are also letters with helpful tips for older students on how to handle the anxiety caused by COVID-19.

“We know that education is the great equalizer, and this pandemic has forced all of us to rise to the occasion and work together to make sure that students and families have the resources they need to make it through these challenging times,” said SI&A CEO Jeff Williams. “Here at SI&A, our district partners and the communities they serve are our priority, and we will continue to support them as they adjust to the needs of all K-12 youth both in and outside of the classroom.”

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