Maili Elementary School (2018)

Waianae, HI

Closing the Gap

How the gap was defined through data:

The achievement gap we selected was directly related to our attendance program goal. Our school profile data showed that 30% of our student population (267 students) had 15 or more absences (chronically absent) during the 2016-17 school year. According to “Attendance in Early Elementary Grades: Association with Student Characteristics, School Readiness and Third Grade Outcomes, Applied Survey Research, May 2011”, chronic absenteeism can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. After discussion with other stakeholders and further review of data, we decided to focus on students who had 15-17 absences (49 students). Further disaggregation showed that 24 of the 49 students with 15-17 absences were currently in grades two and five. We chose to focus our closing the gap (CTG) activities on supporting those 24 students. Student absences allow for less instructional time in the classroom. When students are absent, the achievement gap widens and students fall further behind.

Why intervention/activities were chosen:

Our CTG action plan outlines a multi-tiered system of supports. School-wide interventions were in place to support our target group and our school. We held a monthly attendance competition. The class in each grade level with the best attendance for the month received the attendance ribbon and displayed it on the outside of their door. The students were proud to display the ribbon. Having the ribbon on the outside of the door was a great way to start a conversation with parents about the importance of attendance. We selected random months to reward students with perfect attendance for that month to reward them for their efforts. I conducted small groups for all students with 15-17 absences during the 2016-2017 school year focusing on ensuring students understood the importance of coming to school. They set personal attendance goals that we tracked throughout the year. If students met their weekly goals they received an incentive. The students participated in daily morning check in with me. The students earned rewards for coming to school and learned that someone at school cared for them and missed them when they were absent. They also received individual counseling services to identify ways to support their attendance. I held an attendance awareness in-service for our staff in August. I shared previous years data, national data and data regarding absenteeism and how it affects student academic achievement. I went over the attendance policies for our school and reminded teachers that they should be the first contact to parents when students are absent. We implemented a change to our attendance policy that required teachers to call home if a student was absent for two consecutive days to check in on the child and family.

We felt parent interventions were a critical component to closing the attendance gap. I delivered an attendance awareness presentation at our September Parent Night to educate the parents on the attendance policies for the school and the impact poor attendance has on student academic achievement. Lastly, I collaborated with the complex social worker to address attendance concerns. We met weekly to discuss students with attendance concerns and to analyze attendance data. We met with parents of students whose absences hit 15 to problem solve and come up with a plan to help improve their child’s attendance. If needed, we were able to connect them with community resources such as Hawaii Keiki Nurse to assist them with their needs.

How data will help:

End of the year attendance data showed that the 24 CTG students accumulated 238 absences compared to 327 absences the previous year which was an overall decrease of 27%. Looking at the perception data, I am going to change the response scale to include either a three-or-four point scale. This would give us better data. I would like to include at least one knowledge/skill question. Based on these results, I plan to continue implementing these strategies and interventions. I am hoping to service more students next year. If we hire a second counselor, we could offer these interventions to more students and further close the gap on our chronic absenteeism problem. I would like to hold more parent workshops/meetings to educate and help parents get their children to school daily. I will be presenting on the importance of having good attendance at a parent workshop and sending home flyers explaining the importance of attendance and the effect it has on student academic success.

Goal: By May 31, 2018, students with 15 or more absences during the 2016-2017 school year, will decrease their number of cumulative absences by 10% from 6872 (2016-2017) to 6184 (2017-2018)

Target Group: 24 Students in grades 2 & 5 who had 15-17 absences in the 2016-2017 school year. These 24 students accounted for 327 of the 6872 cumulative absences.

Data Used to Identify Students: 2016-2017 Attendance Data from Infinite Campus

School Counselor(s): Monica Brown

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): Academic, Career, and Social Emotional Domain M 3 B-SS 2 & 3 B-LS 7

Type of Activities to be Delivered in What Manner?: Monthly Attendance Ribbon Competition Daily Morning Check In Small Groups (1 per grade level) 1X every 7 days for 30 minutes Parent/student/ school meetings Staff development sessions for teachers regarding attendance and the affect chronic absenteeism has on student achievement Attendance Awareness presentation at Parent Night

Process Data (Number of students affected): 24 students 15 (Gr. 5) 9 (Gr. 2)

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Attendance Pre/Post survey Results: Q1: I like coming to school. Pre: 84% Post 94% 12% increase in attitude/belief Q2: School is a fun place to learn. Pre: 76% Post: 92% 21% increase in attitude/belief Q3: I feel safe in school. Pre: 82% Post: 98% 20% increase in attitude/belief Q4: I know and understand the importance of school. Pre: 67% Post: 88% 31% increase in attitude/belief Q5: I have an adult on campus who I can go to for help and cares for me besides my teacher. Pre: 59% Post: 100% 69% increase in attitude/belief

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): The 24 students accounted for 327 cumulative absences during the 2016-2017 school year. During the 2017-2018 school year, the 24 students accumulated a total of 238 absences which is an overall decrease in absences of 27%

Implications: The perception data revealed an increase in positive mindsets about school and the importance of being in school daily. Over 90% of the students now feel that school is safe and fun and they enjoy coming to school. It also showed that 100% of the students now have an adult on campus that they can go to for help when needed. I believe this played a huge part in the students coming to school daily. When analyzing the perception data from the survey, I realized that I may have gotten a little better data if I had used a 3 or 4 point response scale instead of yes/no. I also realized that I only included attitude/belief questions and that maybe I should have included a knowledge/skill question as well. The outcome data suggest that with intentional and direct delivery of effective interventions and strategies, student attendance can be improved. The students in the group decreased their absences by 27%. Moving forward, I would like to continue with these strategies and interventions but hopefully with more students. If we are able to hire a second counselor next year, I feel like we could offer these interventions to more students and be able to further close the gap on our chronic absenteeism problem. I will be presenting about attendance and reasons to miss school at a parent workshop put on by the school, as well as sending home flyers made with the help of our social worker explaining the importance of attendance and the effect it has on student academic success.