Every Child Thrives partners identified chronic absenteeism as a root cause of low 3rd grade reading proficiency rates. The Every Child Thrives effort is striving to move the attendance curve upward.
Over the last three years Every Child Thrives has focused on building a culture of communication that recognizes the importance of regular attendance. The Challenge 5 campaign engages community partners and educators in universal messaging to families, challenging them to miss no more than 5 days of school in one year. The effort recognizes positive school attendance through events and incentives. Following the first year of the campaign, there was a 4% improvement in outstanding attendance (those who were in school more than 97% of the time), and the percentage of students who had acceptable attendance (missing less than 9 days) rose from 65% to 66%.
In addition to the universal messaging campaign, teams of school personnel and community partners were established to study attendance data and work with families struggling to get their children to school regularly and on time.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic created a significant barrier to this work and attendance data is not available for 2019-20. Going forward and as schools resume normal (pre-Covid) operations, we hope to re-engage the data evaluation and interventions to support families in getting students to school each day on time and ready to learn.