StriveTogether selected Mission: Graduate as a participant for its K12 Impact and Improvement Network, a cohort-based learning community designed to drive results in attendance improvement. Mission: Graduate will focus on chronic absenteeism work with Belen Consolidated Schools and Bernalillo Public Schools. This team will work with four other communities around the country selected by StriveTogether to improve attendance rates.
Strive Together is a national cradle-to-career education organization that works with and connects communities to improve student outcomes.
When students are absent from school for a couple of days, they will most likely be able to catch up to classmates when they return. But students who are chronically absent each year – missing about 18 days per year or 2 days per month – are more likely to fall behind or drop out of school.
“Through the use of data, we know the importance of getting children in school every day,” explains Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s Director of Collective Impact. “We are working with several school districts on attendance and created the #EveryDayMatters Awareness campaign with our partners. We’re excited to take our work to the next level with these two schools that clearly want to make a difference.”
To improve attendance rates, the five-community cohort will track weekly attendance numbers and use continuous improvement methods to increase those rates. By tracking progress and adapting interventions, communities will be able to identify strategies that help student attendance in their unique local contexts.
“One of my hopes for doing this work is to create change in my Native American Community,” say Lorilei Chavez, Bernalillo High School Native American Liaison. Matt Williams of Belen Consolidated Schools adds, “It’s important to me that we improve student performance so that they are fully prepared for the future in front of them.”
Each of the five communities, including Bexar County, Texas; Waterbury, Connecticut; Austin, Texas; and Adams County, Colorado, will meet regularly to share progress and important lessons learned, while also receiving peer coaching and strategic assistance from StriveTogether staff, national organization Attendance Works, and Design Impact, a Cincinnati-based organization focused on design thinking and community engagement.