In Arkansas, more than one in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent, which means they miss almost 18 days of school each year. Students who are chronically absent are less likely to read on grade level.
When our children aren’t in school, they miss out on critical reading and math instruction they’ll need to succeed later in school and life. To reach our goal of all children reading proficiently by the end of third grade, we must make sure that all children attend school every day. In 2013, AR-GLR launched the Make Every Day Count initiative with Attendance Works to help schools, districts and communities track chronic absence and develop and implement plans for keeping children in the classroom.
AR-GLR’s Make Every Day Count initiative is currently working with more than 40 school districts around the state to build the case for school and educator interventions that increase attendance:
Western Yell County
White County Central
The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading also released an online toolkit: Leading Attendance in Arkansas: How principals can help students succeed by reducing chronic absence. The toolkit outlines five strategies to help principals develop a comprehensive plan to reduce chronic absence in their schools:
AR-GLR celebrates Attendance Awareness Month each September, but the message of “Make Every Day Count” continues all school year. Local radio station personalities have recorded PSAs to encourage parents to make sure their children attend school every day, and schools and districts are using tools developed by AR-GLR to share the message with parents, students and the broader community.
Tiered Strategies to Reduce Chronic Absence Handout – This handout is intended to help a school or district address chronic absence and think about alignment between its strategies and level of student need.
Video PSA – This video PSA can be used by schools, community organizations, and others to lift up the importance of attending school every day. Our local PBS affiliate also continues to share this PSA with more than 460,000 viewers throughout Arkansas.
Radio PSAs – Local radio personalities recorded PSAs that aired on several radio stations.
In October 2016, the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) released a report, Make Every Day Count: Reducing Chronic Absence in Arkansas Schools, which details chronic absence data in the state – and some strategies to address the issue. The report includes an analysis by AACF of data from the Arkansas Department of Education.
In September 2016, Attendance Works-in collaboration with the Everyone Graduates Center-released a report, Preventing Missed Opportunity: Taking Collective Action to Confront Chronic Absence. Our Make Every Day County initiative is featured in the report.