Title

From Deterrence to Support: Shifting the Paradigm on Compulsory Attendance

First Presenter's Institution

Colorado Springs School District 11

Second Presenter's Institution

Colorado Springs School District 11

Third Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fourth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fifth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Location

Session 3 (Plimsoll)

Strand #1

Family & Community

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

School Districts continue to struggle with challenging student attendance rates and the enforcement of state level compulsory attendance laws. Traditional systems seek to deter poor attendance habits through court enforced sanction or mandated community partnership. This proposal outlines how a Colorado school district shifted the focus of compulsory attendance from traditional deterrence practices to a model supporting students and families. This model aligns with the "HOME" strand through its' development and enhancement of family and community support and engagement.

Brief Program Description

School districts continue to struggle with the challenges of school attendance, disengagement, and school dropout. This presentation outlines how an urban school district shifted the paradigm on school attendance from enforcement to support. The target audience includes school and district administrators, community agencies, or anyone interested in employing prevention and intervention efforts related to student support and engagement.

Summary

The proposal presents a three-tiered strategy for systemic change. First, traditional attendance enforcement relies heavily on the use of sanctions or court enforced consequences to deter poor attendance habits. These systems focus largely on students in the upper grades, where poor attendance and truancy are viewed as delinquent acts. The presenters discuss how they shifted the thinking of stakeholders across a school district of 28,000 students and 60 schools, and a region with 16 local school districts, by focusing on a family centered model for students in lower grades - challenging traditional approaches and methodologies. Second, the presenters outline the use of student level data and multi-tiered levels of support to bring focus to attendance hot spots and areas of concern. Discussion will also include collaborative efforts with various departments to bring real time information to school personnel working directly with families and students in the areas presenting the most significant challenges to students’ academic success. This section will also include the importance of parent/guardian communication and the implementation of information sharing with the district’s families. The final area includes presentation of the Student Review Board model. The Student Review Board incorporates best practices in prevention and intervention efforts, supporting families and students through collaborative efforts and outreach across the community. The presenters demonstrate how they streamlined processes to implement meaningful intervention across schools while holding students and families accountable for school attendance with actionable plans and deliverables. Throughout, the presenters focus on the challenges in shifting the paradigm, from status quo thinking and malaise to systemic hurdles and barriers.

Evidence

The proposal outlines a student centered intervention model supported by research from Romero and Lee (2007), Rogers, Duncan, et.al (2017), and additional research found at www.attendanceworks.org and the Colorado Department of Education. In the first year of implementation, the comprehensive model elements evidence a 5% reduction in chronic absentee rates across the school district.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Gregory B. Ecks is the Director of the Office of Student Support and Engagement for Colorado Springs School District 11. He has been in education for 22 years as a high school social studies teacher and school/district administrator. In his current position he serves as a disciplinary hearing designee to the board of education and as the district's petitioner for the enforcement of Colorado compulsory attendance. His dissertation research focused on compulsory school attendance laws and his research interests include school policy, the peer effect of student behavior, and classroom and school leadership.

Mr. Brian Blanc is the Assistant Director of Student Support and Engagement. He has been in Education for 19 years as a Special Education teacher for 14 years moving to School Administration where he was an Assistant and interim Principal at in an urban school district School for 3 years. In his current position he serves as a disciplinary hearing designee to the board of education and as the district's petitioner for the enforcement of Colorado compulsory attendance. His current focus is to engage students and families with in accordance with efforts to increase school attendance.

Keyword Descriptors

Chronic absenteeism, compulsory attendance, intervention, prevention, district administration

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-4-2019 3:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 4:15 PM

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Mar 4th, 3:00 PM Mar 4th, 4:15 PM

From Deterrence to Support: Shifting the Paradigm on Compulsory Attendance

Session 3 (Plimsoll)

School districts continue to struggle with the challenges of school attendance, disengagement, and school dropout. This presentation outlines how an urban school district shifted the paradigm on school attendance from enforcement to support. The target audience includes school and district administrators, community agencies, or anyone interested in employing prevention and intervention efforts related to student support and engagement.