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  • Erica Peterson

When you know better, do better.

Last week, SI&A publicly released its third statewide snapshot of chronic absence patterns and trends to the California Department of Education.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” This is the challenge issued by one of my personal heroes, Maya Angelou. It's fitting advice while we all anxiously await indicators that things are back to “normal.”

The third quarter snapshot, which was data from the start of school in 2020 through the end of March, reveals districts still have more to do to increase attendance and participation this school year. The report shows that of the nearly 350,000 students in the data set, over 2,122,000 days of lost instructional time occurred.

Additionally, the highest rates of chronic absenteeism persist in communities of color.

Frequent and positive communication with families is critical as in-person instruction resumes and districts look to encourage participation in summer school and other extended learning offerings to close learning gaps, particularly for students of color who are not returning to school at the rate of their white peers.

Maya also said, “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” Instead of seeking “normal” now is the time to step out and do something different.

If you would learn more about the SI&A Difference and how it can improve your district’s attendance email me at

To review SI&A’s full Q3 chronic absences analysis for California click here.

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