Title

Making Parents, Students and the Surrounding Community Accountable for Daily Student Attendance

Location

Vernon

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Sharing strategies to increase accountability for daily student attendance enhances family support and ensures safety for all children. This proposal relates to the “5H” strand of Heart - Safety & Violence and Home – Family and Community. When students are present at school each day, they have access to a safe and orderly environment. Students are protected from outside elements when they are present. They receive meals, academic knowledge, structure and social skills. The proposal also addresses the strand of Home – Family & Community. When parents begin to understand the importance of daily school attendance, the support from the family to the student increases over time. When the message of attendance importance is spread to the community, the community members reach out to each other. They will walk each other’s children to and from school to help each other achieve the goal of all students present and accounted for at school. The strategies that we will share, will directly impact student safety and the family and community working together to support students.

Brief Program Description

Two elementary school administrators in a low socio-economic setting will share strategies used to increase daily attendance rates in just one school year. If your school needs to increase daily attendance rates, this session is for you! This session is recommended for elementary and middle school teachers, counselors and administrators.

Summary

This presentation will provide the audience with practical strategies for increasing daily attendance rates that can be implemented and monitored immediately. These strategies include setting school-wide attendance goals and sharing methods of students self-charting their own daily attendance to make them knowledgeable of their attendance progress. The advantage of the attendance charts is for students and parents to visualize the number of days their student has attended school each week. Once attendance rates can be visualized, students and parents learn that each day out of school equals 7.5 hours of no access to classroom instruction. The attendance charts are immediate and enable both parents and students to multiply days missed times 7.5 hours per day. In addition, other strategies include the use of daily, weekly, monthly and end of semester attendance incentives for students, as well as incentives and recognition for parents too. These artifacts, along with letters and communication strategies used to relay attendance progress to parents, will also be shared with participants. Participants will receive a basic template for creating an attendance plan at their schools. The audience will learn that using visuals allows attendance rates to be frequently seen; using constant communication from school to home keeps parents informed and providing incentives and attendance celebrations creates strong support systems that encourage and motive students to attend school every day. When schools monitor attendance and provide incentives for daily attendance, increases in daily student attendance rates can occur. We have often heard that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to ensure that students attend school every day.

Evidence

The research-based attendance strategies have resulted in a school filled with prideful students. The children know how many days each week, month and semester that learning has occurred in their lives. Parents are now mindful of not allowing students to stay at home for no reason. Students now beg their parents to schedule doctor appointments during the afternoon or during school breaks.

Based on attendance data, the school has noted: 1. An increase in the school’s average daily attendance rate moving from 94.8% in 2013-2014 to 97% in 2014-2015. 2. The district’s highest improved daily attendance rate of 2.2%. 3. Student accountability for tracking daily attendance on sticker charts. 4. Parent accountability for providing documentation to validate excused absences. 5. Community support of adults walking students to school for other parents and community members contacting the school when absent students are seen in the community during the school day.

The message has been articulated and received that all students can obtain success when students come to school. Many parents have realized that class activities and discussions cannot be made up. All parties involved who support children are now working together to have children present at school every day.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Melanie Mitchell has served as a public school educator for 20 years. Presently, she is in her 5th year of serving as the principal of Humphries Elementary School, a Title I school, in Atlanta, Ga. In this position, she believes in reaching out to embrace the community in order to obtain the best for her students. She mentors parents and assists parents with being connected to the school. Prior to receiving the principal position, she was a high school English teacher. She has taught English to students in grades 9-12. After leaving the classroom, she became a district level instructional coach at the middle school and high school level. She has also consulted for the College Board as a national trainer, curriculum writer and mentor for Pacesetter and Springboard English Curriculums.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading and traveling. She also likes mentoring young mothers. She encourages them to look beyond their current circumstances. Ms. Mitchell enjoys learning new things. She pushes everyone around her to pursue opportunities to receive constant learning. She recently had a GED program placed in her school to allow parents to complete their education. She knows the only way parents can help their children is for them to have an education too.

Ms. Mitchell is the proud mother of two daughters. One daughter is a school counselor. The other is a high school freshman. She also enjoys spending time with her grandson, who is a pre-k student. Currently she is pursuing a doctorate in leadership. Once she has completed that goal, she would like to study Spanish. She really wants to become a fluent Spanish speaker.

Benita Grant has served as a public school educator for 15 years. Presently, she is in her 4th year of serving as the assistant principal of Humphries Elementary School, a Title I school, in Atlanta, Ga. In this position, she believes all students can thrive when their environments include stakeholders who take an interest in their total well-being and stakeholders who create opportunities for students to develop their own meaning of success through hard work and accountability. She also believes that if students are given the opportunity to experience success, no matter how small, their lives will forever be changed, which will lend itself to intrinsic motivation that promotes life-long learning.

Prior to receiving the assistant principal position, she was an elementary school teacher. She spent 3 years studying abroad in Tachikawa, Japan as a second language teacher. After leaving the classroom, she became a district level Technology Specialist that provided curriculum based technology support to teachers and district staff. She has also worked for Sylvan Learning as a regional trainer for educators in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to different countries and mentoring young women. She currently works with a non-profit organization that encourages young women in college to stay on track and set high goals. She is also a part of Junior League, which is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Mrs. Grant is a wife and a proud mother of two.

Keyword Descriptors

Attendance, Attendance Strategies, Attendance Interventions, Parent Involvement, Family and Community, Attendance Accountability, Daily Attendance Rates, Increased Attendance, Incentives, Community Involvement

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-9-2016 9:45 AM

End Date

3-9-2016 11:00 AM

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Mar 9th, 9:45 AM Mar 9th, 11:00 AM

Making Parents, Students and the Surrounding Community Accountable for Daily Student Attendance

Vernon

Two elementary school administrators in a low socio-economic setting will share strategies used to increase daily attendance rates in just one school year. If your school needs to increase daily attendance rates, this session is for you! This session is recommended for elementary and middle school teachers, counselors and administrators.