One week ago, we hosted a Chronic Absence Working Session for that brought together 37 people from 16 different schools and organizations across Oakland. The slides from the session are available here. As a reminder, a student is considered chronically absent if they are absent (excused or unexcused) for 10% or more of the days for which they are enrolled. So for a typical 180 day school calendar, a student would need to miss at least 18 days (or about 3 1/2 weeks) of school in order to be considered chronically absent.
One of the focuses of the working session was for each school to create a group of current students that are just above or just below the chronically absent threshold. It’s likely that combination of tier-1 (whole-school) and tier-2 (targeted) attendance strategies (see image below) can be used to help improve attendance next year for this group of students. A sample data spreadsheet for identifying an attendance intervention group is available here.
As a next step, we would encourage all school teams to review qualitative data to better understand their quantitative attendance data. One particularly useful method for obtaining qualitative attendance data is conducting empathy interviews with students and families to learn more about attendance patterns. An empathy interview is an open-ended interview structure that allows you to get a deeper understanding of why a student may be absent. You need not interview every student – even a handful of interviews can provide valuable information.
After analyzing data, school teams brainstormed potential tier-1 and tier-2 strategies to employ at their school based on the following categories: A) Engaging Students and Families, B) Recognizing Good and Improved Attendance, C) Monitoring and Attendance Data and Practice, and D) Providing Personalized Early Outreach. The results of the brainstorming session are available here.
The next Chronic Absence Working Session will take place on Thursday, 9/12/19. You can RSVP here: bit.ly/oakcore091219. In the meantime, please make sure to check out Attendance Works for more resources related to attendance. You can check out his page to learn about past and future webinars related to attendance.