The Perception Data Summary has been updated to respond to reviewer suggestions.
Based on the Closing the Gap intervention, I now receive notification from the registrar monthly when parents register a Newcomer or students transfer from other states into our school.
Improving the attendance for the 10 identified students will impact over all school attendance by helping us meet the requirement of having less than 10% or more absences in one school year (Please view pg. 3 MSDE Report Card attached). Schools are penalized when students accumulate more than 10% in unexcused absences. Our school improvement goal is to reduce the number of students with 10 unexcused absences in a school year. These 10 students averaged 19 unexcused days.
The Closing the GAP goal intervention focused on attendance because our school’s attendance goal is not meeting the acceptable target of 95% or greater. Prince George’s County’s Public School’s Student Attendance, Absences and Truancy Policy AP5113 states, “Chronic student absence is when a student misses 10% of the school days, whether lawful or unlawful absences, including suspensions for at least eighteen days in a school year.”
In 2016-2017, the school’s population increased due to students being displaced by Hurricane Matthew. In addition, our undocumented families were feeling pressure due to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities in the community. Student attendance decreased by 1.25%. Thirteen percent of my Hispanic/FARMS 4th grade students had an average of 20 absences from school. A review of the school’s chronic and habitual attendance data showed, that in addition to chronic unexcused absences, these students had not met grade level assessments. These 4th grade Hispanic/FARM students appear on MD Report Card’s PARCC Assessment Performance Results Summary (See attached MD Report Card) having a Level 1 English/Language Arts score 2016 (Did not met expectations). The identified 4th grade students had gaps in reading and math. “The effects of poor attendance are partially pronounced among low income children, who need more time in the classroom to master reading and are less likely to have access to resources outside of school to help them catch up. Unfortunately, low income children are four times more likely to be chronically absent.” KID COUNT, Annie E. Casey Foundation (2014).”
I identified the 10 fourth grade Hispanic FARM students, who had 13 or more unexcused absences in 2016-2017 for the Closing the GAP intervention. The 4th graders exhibited low self-esteem and inappropriate social skills. They avoided making friends fearing short-term friendships. These students also participated in the Six Pillars of student character traits to improve their social skills, and college and career readiness lesson plans with their classmates such as respect, responsibilities etc.
I selected the researched based intervention Social Skills Lessons & Activities (R. Weltmann Begun.) Many of the students lived in shared housing with family and friends moving every 3 months until attending our school. Students lost many personal items because of the moves. Some took school supplies and personal property from other classmates. To address these concerns, I used the opportunity during classroom and small group lessons to talk about “ Respect for Others” For example, asking permission before borrowing. They needed to learn how to ask and borrow from their peers.
My purpose in conducting small group counseling with the identified 4th graders was to build confidence and highlight the importance of learning and being successful in school (M.2 and M.6). They learned how to problem solve by working together, taking turns, and setting achievable goals (B-SMS.5). When they missed the bus, they stayed home without parental knowledge. They lacked the ability to accept consequences for their poor decisions.
I will continue to use the perception survey. Students showed the greatest growth in understanding that attendance is important every year, not just in upper grades. There was a 150% change in belief about regular attendance. Students learned good attendance is vital to achieving academically. Students’ absences decreased by 40%.
In the future, I will continue the lessons, add social skills questions to the survey, and include a parent survey concerning student attendance. I will review ClassDojo messages sent by the teachers to parents about their child’s attendance, homework, and reading logs. I will collaborate with the International Student Counseling Office (ISCO) to share our student attendance policy. In addition, I will have parents sign an attendance contract for students with a history of more than 10 unexcused absences in a school year.