fbpx

West Harlem Attendance Summit Recap

By | Events, Summits | No Comments

On Friday, December 8th, Kinvolved and the West Harlem Development Corporation co-hosted the West Harlem Attendance Summit. The summit brought together educators, school-based teams, community members, nonprofit partners, and parent advocates to discuss how to use community partnerships to help elevate attendance in Harlem. In considering how to elevate attendance and deepen family involvement in Harlem schools, summit participants identified key research, new resources, and new tools; engaged with community partners to exchange shared challenges and solutions; and arrived at common language and goals for the Harlem community.

The event kicked off with a breakfast and networking session, followed by opening remarks by Dr. Kofi A. Boateng, the Executive Director of the West Harlem Development Corporation.

Following Dr. Boateng’s remarks, Kinvolved’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Miriam Altman, gave an opening presentation and led a Q&A in preparation for a case study on KiNVO use at PS 36 Margaret Douglas.

Ginelle Wynter, Site Manager for Healthy and Ready to Learn at PS 36, offered a glimpse into her school community, reviewing attendance data, sharing best practices, and engaging the broader audience in a dialogue around meaningful parent engagement practices.

Attendees then broke into small groups for intensive facilitated discussions, and then came back together as a large group to share reflections and goals for the community going forward.

Summit attendees left with a renewed commitment to better engage parents in the education process. Attendees agreed that the small group discussions were an effective, meaningful way to share experiences and best practices.

One attendee remarked, “Working in education, you think, ‘What else can I do?’ Every time I attend these Summits, it gives me hope I can do something big to make change. It’s an exciting feeling, and it’s through Kinvolved that I’ve been able to get into this work.”

Kinvolved will continue to offer additional summits and related events, in an effort to galvanize a movement of people who will elevate attendance by involving families in education. New York City is a special place to Kinvolved. It is our hometown, but we have also launched this model to other urban centers across the country. We invite you to join our movement.

View our full Harlem Attendance Summit photo library here.

To learn more about Kinvolved’s movement to elevate attendance by including families in education, or how to bring KiNVO to your school, contact us at hello@kinvolved.com.

#KinvolvedSummits #HarlemAttendanceSummit

ESSA compliance and reducing chronic absenteeism

By | Tips and Resources

Recently we talked about The Every Student Succeeds Act, known as ESSA, the first iteration of our U.S. national education law that specifically mentions chronic absenteeism. Former iterations of the law (ESEA, No Child Left Behind) only included stipulations for truancy, and schools only reported on average daily attendance (the total days of student attendance divided by the total days of instruction). Chronic absenteeism differs from truancy in that it tracks both excused and unexcused absences, and accounts for missed class periods. It also uncovers absence trends that are often unrepresented in average daily attendance numbers.

ESSA’s specific inclusion of chronic absenteeism is significant; currently, 36 states and the District of Columbia have submitted plans to implement ESSA that now include chronic absence as a measure on which they will report and to which they will hold schools accountable. ESSA requires all states to report the data, even if it isn’t used for accountability.

But how do these states plan to measure and fight this pervasive issue? What steps should they take to begin to significantly reduce chronic absenteeism?

Chronic absenteeism affects about 6.5 million students across the country. A recent report from Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center shows that 30% or more students are chronically absent at almost 10,000 public schools across the U.S. These staggeringly high numbers indicate larger, systemic issues within our education system and in low-income communities (in which chronic absenteeism is especially high). If we are going to begin to address this problem, we must start by tracking thorough, meaningful data on missed class time.

In a new report from FutureEd, a ThinkTank at Georgetown University, authors Phyllis Jordan and Raegan Miller say that states should start by setting standard definitions of what counts as an absence. For example, how many periods count as a full day?

Setting standard definitions for what counts as an absence is part of keeping students and their parents informed about how much school they’re missing. Absences add up quickly; missing just 2 days a month means a child misses 10% of the school year (at which point, the student is considered chronically absent in most states). Our annual  Impact Assessment (for release in Jan. 2018) revealed that many students were not aware of just how much school they were actually missing–nor were their parents. Families appreciated that KiNVO–our app for enabling easy parent/teacher communication and tracking accessible attendance data–keeps them informed about student attendance patterns.

The next step will be to set reasonable goals for schools and districts, which many states have not yet done. Setting goals for widespread issues that vary district to district–and student to student, for that matter–can be quite difficult. It’s important to be ambitious, but realistic, and specific, but inclusive. For example, No Child Left Behind’s standard proficiency metric did not account for students’ backgrounds going into standardized tests, and thus received significant backlash for doing more harm than good in many cases. A state must determine which percentage of chronically absent students is too high for a school, and then determine a way to measure improvement.

Some states did include a measure of improvement in their goals for chronic absenteeism, which they plan to assess in relation to grades and test scores (as attendance and achievement are typically linked). Assessing attendance data through this lens is a very good place to start.

After setting standard definitions and goals, FutureEd emphasizes the importance of assigning the appropriate weight to chronic absenteeism in state accountability formulas, and creating inclusive but fair chronic absenteeism models that discourage schools or districts from gaming the attendance system.

Last but certainly not least, we must support teachers and administrators in planning interventions within their schools. Teachers and administrators are fighting on the front lines to ensure that all of their students are in class as much as possible. Equipping teachers with the tools to more easily communicate with families and plan meaningful interventions is a crucial part of process. Kinvolved supports teachers and administrators by providing them with tools to facilitate data-driven discussions and interventions; helps them streamline daily routines to increase bandwidth; and strengthens engagement by enabling new connections and conversations between educators, students, and families.

In the coming months, we will continue to explore ESSA policy, state accountability plans, and how Kinvolved can continue to grow and evolve to support districts implementing plans to combat chronic absenteeism.

Announcing Kinvolved’s new partnership with Sioux Falls School District

By | News

We are thrilled to announce that Kinvolved has partnered with Sioux Falls School District to launch KiNVO and our Community and Culture Coaching services, to help ensure that every SFSD student is in school all day, every day.

In the Sioux Falls School District, the largest in the state of South Dakota, about 20 percent of students miss more than 10 days of school per year. Absences add up quickly; missing just two days per month means a child misses 10 percent of the school year (at which point, the student is considered chronically absent).

Dr. Brian Maher, Superintendent of  Sioux Falls School District, said that tackling attendance issues throughout the district is a top priority.

Three elementary schools (Hayward, Hawthorne, and Laura B. Anderson), one middle school (Whittier), and one high school (Washington) are early KiNVO adopters in the district. If the KiNVO pilot is successful at these schools, SFSD intends to expand KiNVO use across the district and entire Sioux Falls community.

To improve attendance is to change behavior across a community, which is no small endeavor. This takes a lot of time, focus, and hard work.  We’re honored to have a partner that puts so much emphasis on attendance. SFSD is Kinvolved’s first Midwest partnership, and we are very excited to continue growing our partnerships across the country!

If you have any questions about Kinvolved, including the KiNVO app, our Culture and Community Coaching services, or our Summits, don’t hesitate to reach out! Drop us a line at hello@kinvolved.com or on Twitter @kinvolved.

To request information on how to launch Kinvolved’s partnership in your district, or KiNVO at your school, please visit https://kinvolved.com/sign_up.

Data Driven Leadership Summit

Data Driven Leaders Summit Recap

By | Events, Summits

On Friday, October 20th, Kinvolved hosted Data Driven Leaders: Using Data to Catalyze Growth of our New York City Youth–the third event in the Kinvolved Summit Series. The summit, co-sponsored by Kinvolved, Move This World, FuelEducation, and JumpRope, brought together school-based teams, policy leaders, nonprofit partners, and research evaluators to exchange best practices for utilizing attendance, behavior, and course performance data to drive student progress.

The event kicked off with a networking session and breakfast provided by Fresh & Co, during which time participants toured the sponsoring organizations’ Technology Stations. Following welcoming remarks by Kinvolved’s CEO Miriam Altman, Dr. Douglas Ready, of Teachers College at Columbia University, delivered a thought-provoking keynote, titled “Thinking about NYC Data: The Case of School Suspensions.” Transitioning research findings into practice, Mr. Augustus Grissett, Jr. directed a case study of Research and Service High School’s partnership with Kinvolved. Ms. Suzanne Arnold of The Renaissance Charter School directed a case study of Move This World’s program.

Deepening the opportunity to delve into practice, KiNVO by Kinvolved users joined our Product Team for a hands-on KiNVO Bootcamp, run by Kinvolved CPO Alexandra Meis. Many KiNVO users remarked that the product allows them to “work smarter, not harder.” Users also noted that they left the KiNVO Bootcamp with a deeper understanding of Kinvolved’s mission and KiNVO’s many capabilities.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to gain knowledge that will help me better serve the people in my community,” said one attendee. “I will encourage our principal to send more staff to future summits to fully understand the potential to have a profound impact on student attendance,” said another. “KiNVO is accountability and data analysis made simple.”

School district leaders, community based organizations, and policy makers took part in a policy breakout session titled, Using Early Warning Indicator Data to Inform Leadership Decisions. The policy breakout session offered participants a broad understanding of research, policies in effect and in planning, and specific practices on the ground that work to empower leadership with early warning indicator data to inform decisions that positively impact students. The policy panel featured:

  • Ms. Karoline Alexander, Community School Director, CS 154 Harriet Tubman Learning Center
  • Mr. Chris Caruso, Executive Director of Community Schools, NYC DOE
  • Ms. Kecia Hayes, Director of Teachers College REACH (Raising Educational Achievement Coalition of Harlem)
  • Dr. Douglas Ready, Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy, Teachers College

Participants ended the day by sharing thoughts and insights they gained from the summit, and ideas to increase the use of data to ask and answer questions that their institutions face as they serve New York City’s students.

Kinvolved will continue to offer additional summits and related events, in an effort to galvanize a movement of people who will elevate attendance by involving families in education. New York City is a special place to Kinvolved. It is our hometown, but we have also launched this model to other urban centers across the country. We invite you to join our movement.

View our full summit photo library here.
To download images, please use the password: datadrivenleaders

A video recap of #DataDrivenLeaders is here.

To learn more about Kinvolved’s movement to elevate attendance by including families in education, or how to bring KiNVO to your school, contact us at hello@kinvolved.com.

#KinvolvedSummits #DataDrivenLeaders

 

 

 

What you need to know about ESSA and Chronic Absenteeism

By | News

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)–a bipartisan measure that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), our 50-year-old national education law meant to ensure equal opportunity for all students.

High school graduation rates are at historic highs, dropout rates are at historic lows, and more students are going to college than ever before–but there’s still much work to do to expand educational opportunity for all students. ESSA includes many provisions to help improve student outcomes and ensure success and continued progress for all students and schools. As the U.S. Department of Education states, the law:

 

  • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Requires—for the first time—that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students’ progress toward those high standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods.
  • Sustains and expands the Obama administration’s historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.

 

ESSA provisions focus heavily on ensuring that all students are college and career ready by the time they graduate from high school. As we know, chronic absenteeism has a major impact on dropout and graduation rates, and prevents many students from becoming college and career ready. ESSA requires states to report chronic absenteeism rates, and allows school districts to spend federal dollars on training to reduce absenteeism. ESSA also represents the first time that federal education law specifically mentions this measure of attendance; former iterations of the law (ESEA, No Child Left Behind) only included stipulations for truancy. Chronic absenteeism differs from truancy in that it tracks both excused and unexcused absences.

Chronic absence is a significant early warning indicator that a student is heading off track academically, and the education community has made significant strides to raise awareness of this issue. Thanks to the efforts of educators, school communities, parents, students, and education organizations and companies, support for attendance is both bipartisan and strong throughout the country.

Right now, 37 out of the 40 states that have submitted plans for implementing ESSA have included chronic absence as a measure on which they will report. ESSA’s inclusion of chronic absenteeism reflects that awareness of this issue is growing in Washington. Policy makers and legislators are beginning to understand that chronic absence is a key indicator for assessing school and student success. This progress is quite substantial, as policy is an essential component of enacting tangible, measurable change.

Kinvolved will continue to support our partner schools and districts in these states as they work to reduce absenteeism. Kinvolved strives to help districts elevate attendance by including families in education.

KiNVO, Kinvolved’s mobile and web app, enables K-12 school staff to access informative attendance data and to engage families through real-time, translated text messaging. Teachers and administrators can use the app to track period and daily attendance, send real-time SMS/email alerts to families, and record lost instructional minutes. Additionally, to help achieve our mission to elevate attendance, we offer Attendance Summits and Culture and Community Coaching. Our Attendance Summits align key community stakeholders, from districts and community-based organizations to mayor’s offices and government agencies, around common goals and strategies to fight chronic absence. Our Culture and Community Coaching for school and district teams promotes thoughtful implementation of research-backed attendance improvement strategies.

If you have any questions about Kinvolved, including the KiNVO app, our Professional Development, or Summits, don’t hesitate to reach out! Drop us a line at hello@kinvolved.com.

X