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Fourth annual Attendance Conference focuses on building systems of supports for improving attendance

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More than 375 school-based attendance team members from across the state participated in the fourth annual Attendance Conference hosted by Mission: Graduate in partnership with area schools. This conference is held annually during September, which is Attendance Awareness Month.

According to Attendance Works, across the country, more than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason—can place students at greater risk of falling behind and ultimately dropping out of school.

At the conference, participants learned about tools and techniques for addressing chronic absenteeism using a three-tiered attendance improvement model (see below). They then developed action plans that will be carried out during the upcoming school year.

School attendance teams are in different places in developing and executing their attendance plans,” says Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s Director of Collective Impact. “To make it  valuable for all participants, we provided breakout sessions that addressed different stages of attendance team work.”

Teams are given guidance and time for strategic planning and idea sharing during the conference. 

Through survey responses, one participant told us,

“The information will better assist in my helping foster growth in the attendance plan.” Another said, “I’m ready and have specific goals to take back.”

The conference also elevated students’ voices as part of the discussion. Students representing Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), from Rio Grande and Bernalillo high schools, were guests on panels in which they offered ideas on why students miss school and how schools can support students given these underlying reasons for absenteeism.

What’s next:

A debrief will be held in late-September. Historically, a follow-up conference addressing specific needs has been held during the spring semester.

For more information or to join our effort contact Teri at Teri.Wimborne@uwcnm.org.

Resources:

Attendees can find more information, and access conference materials at http://MissionGraduateNM.org/EveryDayMatters by selecting the Educator Resources link.  They’ll also find ready-to-use social media posts, sample newsletters, and other materials to help combat chronic absenteeism. Attendance teams are encouraged to visit the Attendance Works website.

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Study: Millions of students at risk of dropping out

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