Elk Grove Unified is committed to working with schools, families and community partners to increase awareness about the importance of developing good attendance habits in order to reduce the number of chronically absent students. The district’s ongoing Attendance Awareness Campaign and the district’s new Attendance Improvement Office is ready to influence positive change in addressing chronic absenteeism by introducing a new approach through education, consistency, communication, intervention and shifting paradigms.
The multi-faceted effort aims to help students and parents understand what is jeopardized when kids are habitually absent from class. With Board approval, support and creation of an Attendance Improvement Office staffed with regional support, the district’s new vision for improving attendance consists of five key pillars:
- Education: Development of public service announcements and messaging to promote the benefits of regular good attendance
- Consistency: A streamlined approach to attendance taking practices
- Communication: Integration of new technology to improve attendance communication and parent notification
- Intervention: Training and implementation of a three-tiered interventions program modeled after the District’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) program
- Shifting Paradigms: Changing the absenteeism paradigm from being focused on truancy to concentrating on absenteeism
Across the nation and in Elk Grove Unified, more than 1 out of 10 students are chronically absent. Missing school is a leading cause of low academic achievement and negatively affects a child’s ability to read proficiently by third grade — the most important predictor of future school and career success. By helping families understand that attendance patterns begin in pre-K and are carried forward grade by grade, Elk Grove Unified hopes to change those patterns so parents can take action to commit to the importance of regular school attendance. Rather than taking a punitive approach and relying on a Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) letter to reach parents in order to expect a change in behavior, Elk Grove Unified is taking a positive approach to educate parents about why attendance matters.
Sharing the good news that habits of chronic absenteeism can be fixed and student performance can improve with regular school attendance is paramount. And EGUSD is committed to helping achieve both of these critical objectives that are so important to students developing fully academically, socially, and emotionally to excel in college, career, and life.
A missed day is a missed opportunity.