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News Release
Support All Students Back to School - 08/19/19

For Immediate Release 

PUGET SOUND REGION SCHOOL DISTRICTS LAUNCH ATTENDANCE CHALLENGE 

 

Date:   8/19/19

Contact:   Janine Thorn, Director of Communication,  

Puget Sound Educational Services District 

n@psesd.org" target="_blank">jthorn@psesd.org,  

425. 917.7607 

 

Join Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD), in a social media campaign to promote regular attendance and to support students returning for a new school year.  We support the rich diversity of our school communities and believe all students have a fundamental right to equal education.  Join the attendance awareness campaign and support our immigrant and refugee students.  Hashtag along with us, #YouBelongHere, #SchoolEveryDay, #WhySchoolEveryDay, and support our students in understanding the importance of attending school regularly, and in knowing that they indeed belong. 

PSESD invites media and other partners to join in promoting the importance of school attendance.  Media are encouraged to follow, participate and reshare our attendance challenge messages on social media and through our website to remind students and families about attendance on the first day of school and its importance throughout the school year.  Also visit our website for reminders and start dates for each school in the Puget Sound region. 

The Attendance Challenge is a regional strategy and call to action for Superintendents across the Puget Sound region to commit to action. The challenge is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of attendance, creating regional momentum, implementing strategies to address chronic absenteeism, and ultimately raising awareness among educators, students, and families. It urges district leaders to:  

  • Publicly Prioritize Attendance and Raise Awareness; 

  • Mobilize key staff; 

  • Commit to identifying and eliminating barriers; and 

  • Commit to driving with data: using disaggregated attendance data linked to learning. 

About eight million students across the United States are chronically absent, but their absenteeism too often has gone unnoticed and unaddressed because it has been masked by data on average daily attendance and truancy (unexcused absences). Washington state ranks near the bottom of the nation (49th) when it comes to chronic absenteeism. Chronically absent students are found in every type of community— urban, suburban or rural. The problem of poor attendance can start early, long before middle or high school. Nationwide, one out of 10 kindergartners and first graders are chronically absent. In some communities, as many as one out of four young students miss that much school.  

Whether absences are excused or not, the resulting loss of instructional time is substantial, and, for many students, the academic consequences are decidedly negative, especially for students of color and students impacted by poverty. Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade and are more likely to have poor attendance in later grades. By middle and high school, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign that a student will drop out. This is especially true for students living in poverty who need school the most and too often face the greatest barriers to getting to school. 

With regular school attendance being one of the indicators on Washington’s School Improvement Framework, and with recent legislation to support attendance efforts, many schools and have already recognized the role school attendance plays in addressing the opportunity gap and are undertaking a variety of efforts to ensure regular attendance, including raising awareness, tiered interventions, community truancy boards, authentic student and family engagement, and addressing culture and climate.  

The goal of this campaign is for 100% of Puget Sound school districts to make public their commitment to addressing absenteeism by joining the Attendance Challenge.    

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