RETSD Attendance Project - Education and Advanced Learning

Report
River East Transcona SD
Attendance Project
Funded by Manitoba Education
Attendance Initiative Grant
2011-2013
RETSD Attendance Project
Project Initiator:
Joan Trubyk, Assistant Superintendent Student Services
Project Lead:
Connie Boutet, Manager Student Services
Project Participants:
Year 1: Sara McGowan, Attendance Facilitator
Year 2: Salisbury Morse Place School
 Marjorie Millman, Principal
 Libby Powell, Guidance Counsellor
 Michelle Juarez, Attendance Facilitator
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Background

In June, 2011 RETSD was awarded a two-year
Attendance Initiative Grant by ME to develop
strategies that address school attendance
issues

As there are many possible reasons for
student absence from school, a Needs
Assessment was conducted to identify the
specific barriers to school attendance within
the RETSD community
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Project Goals
Year 1
To identify the major factors contributing to
student absences in RETSD
Year 2
To use this information to develop and
implement interventions that will improve
student attendance
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Target Group


Early years students (K to Grade 6)
Absence rate between 10 and 20% in 20102011
Rationale

Proactive, early intervention before
attendance problems become chronic and
intractable
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Procedures



Divisional data were compiled to identify the
population of K to 6 students who had a 1020% absence rate from school the previous
year
Random sample of 25 students (representing
18 schools) was selected for participation
Attendance Facilitator was hired to gather
data through Pupil file review (school
attendance history) and interviews with
school staff and parent/guardian
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Data Collected
1.
2.
3.
4.
Level of concern expressed by school
staff and parent/guardian
Reasons for student absence
Interventions to improve attendance
Comparison of school and home
perspectives
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Results: LEVEL OF CONCERN
 Most
schools were Not Concerned or
Slightly Concerned about the student’s
absences (60%)
 Most
parents/guardians Not Concerned
or Slightly Concerned about absences
(20/25)
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
School Trends



If students missed a couple of nonconsecutive days per month, absences often
went undetected
If parent/guardian typically called to inform
the school of their child’s absence, school not
usually concerned
If student was doing well academically and
socially, school not concerned about
absences
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Parent Trends
 Some
parents felt justified in keeping their
children out of school (e.g., birthdays,
family trips, practice for community play)
 Several parents kept their child home
during cold weather
 If one sibling missed school, often the
others would too
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
School Results:
Top 3 REASONS FOR STUDENT ABSENCE
#1






Home-Based Factors
Limited parenting skills
Parent works nights
Parent has chronic illness (physical or mental)
Parent is overwhelmed
Parent needs child’s help at home
Child allowed to stay home for minor illness
14/25
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
#2




5/25
Parent/family doesn’t value regular school
attendance
#3

School Not Valued
Disconnect With School 3/25
Student feels unconnected/unwanted at school
Student feels unsuccessful at school
Student or parent reports bullying
Parent is angry with the school
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Parent Results: REASONS FOR ABSENCE
#1
Home-Based Factors
14/25



Overwhelmed with life stress
Minimal supports
Minor illness of child
#2
#3
Disconnect With School
4/25
Family Breakdown or Crisis
6/25
Student Affected by Mental Health
School Not Valued
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 1
Results:
INTERVENTIONS TRIED
Majority of schools reported few or no interventions
to address student’s absences
 Most frequently reported were Principal Called
Home or Classroom Teacher Called Home
Majority of parents reported few or no interventions
 A few sought help from neighbors, friends, family
or an outside agency
Divisional Recommendations
for 2012-2013
1.
2.
3.
Implement evidence-based school-wide
and classroom interventions to improve
student attendance (universal population)
Better system for tracking student
attendance at each school; early
identification and follow-up of students with
poor attendance (targeted population)
Parent education regarding importance of
regular school attendance.
Divisional Recommendations
for 2012-2013
5.
6.
Connect students and families with
divisional and community resources
Partner with community agencies to
provide parents with education and
support to address the more common
reasons for student absence (e.g., minor
illness and family stress)
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Welcome to
Salisbury Morse Place School!
 Marjorie
Millman - Principal
 Libby Powell - Middle Years Guidance
Counsellor
 Michelle Juarez - Attendance Facilitator
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School







Located in the East Kildonan community
Serves Kindergarten - Grade 8
Dual track school
Working class area
Two Manitoba housing complexes in area
Numerous rental and side by side houses
Culturally diverse population/large newcomer
population
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Issues being addressed:

Student attendance- Tracking of and intervention
with K to 8 students who missed 10% or more of
school each month from September- January

Parental involvement- Educating parents on the
importance of regular school attendance and
providing supports - brochures, list of community
resources, web and newsletter information
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Methods to address issues:
1.
Part-time Attendance Facilitator hired(Nov- Mar)
2.
Data collection - looking at attendance records
at the end of every month
3.
Conducting student interviews - listening to the
child’s voice and reasons for missing school
4.
School’s responsibility - secretaries make phone
calls home daily; school staff involved in meeting
with parents, letters sent home, staff speaking to
students, referring to SS supports; staff
recognizing students at assemblies, use of truant
officers
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interventions:
 Interviews- were conducted with students
who missed 10% or more in a month
 Follow-ups- were conducted with
students in grades 6-8 whose attendance
declined from October-December
 Alarm clocks- were purchased for those
students (Gr. 6-8) who said they didn’t
have one and could make use of one
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interventions:
 Attendance letter - was sent out in January for
parents of K-5 students explaining the role of the
Attendance Facilitator and the importance of
regular school attendance
 Attendance information - was placed on the
school’s website and inserted in school newsletters
 Certificates and rewards - students with perfect or
improved attendance were recognized during
school assemblies (certificates, rewards)
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interventions:
 Attendance Brochures- were given to
students who were interviewed
 Presentations - Attendance Facilitator spoke
on attendance issues during Kindergarten
open house, Grade 6 open house, as well as
Parent Association Meeting; brochures were
also distributed at this time
 Attendance posters - were purchased and
placed in high traffic areas
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interventions:
Continue use of:
 Truant Officer-divisional officer used with
students who miss 20% or more
 Staff members- secretaries making phone
calls home everyday, teachers making
phone calls home when notice a pattern
of students missing, letters being sent
home, meeting with parents
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Average number of students missing 10% or
more per month
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Average Absence By Month (Overall)
Note n = 81 to 85 (depending on the month).
0
0
24%
25%
Dec
Jan
22%
0
19%
19%
0
0
0
0
Sept
Oct
Nov
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interview Data
Total number of interviews conducted = 68
Composed of open-ended questions:
 What does your household look like?
 How do you get to school?
 What is your morning routine?
 Who wakes you up? Do you use an alarm
clock?
 Is there anything the school could do to help
you improve your attendance?
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Student Interviews Conducted by Grade
Grade
# of interviews
Kindergarten
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
6
5
4
4
6
3
12
9
18
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Interview responses were recorded and
categorized into the following reasons:
-
-
-
Home-based factors
Student affected by mental illness
Student affected by addictions
Disconnect from school
School not valued
Illness
Weather related
Family breakdown/crisis
Family vacation
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Reasons for Absence
45%
40%
38%
35%
30%
27%
25%
20%
14%
15%
10%
8%
5%
3%
3%
3%
3%
DWS
FV
SAMH
WR
0%
ILL
SNV
FBC
HBF
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Follow-Up:
Meetings were held with principal, attendance
facilitator, guidance counsellor and manager
of SSU to problem-solve/develop intervention
plan for each student
Possible Outcomes:
 Referrals to Student Services (social work,
psychology)
 Follow-up with Attendance Facilitator
 Follow-up with Guidance Counsellor
RETSD Attendance Project – Year 2
Salisbury Morse Place School
Progress
60%
48%
50%
40%
40%
30%
20%
12%
10%
0%
Worsened
Stayed the Same
Improved
Lessons Learned (so far)
Social issues, emotional difficulties,
mental health problems and poverty
are contributing factors to
absenteeism in our school
community.
Challenges




Getting students and parents to understand
the importance of regular school attendance
and arriving to school on time
Staff is often unable to contact parents
Teachers finding the time to record when a
student is absent or late and any contact with
parents
Because of the large newcomer population,
language barriers are often present, unaware
of the importance of school attendance and
laws
Sustainability
Depends on…
 More parental education and
involvement
 Teacher commitment to continue to
make phone calls home for those
students who have unexplained absences
 Availability of guidance counsellor (or
some other staff person) to track and
follow-up with attendance issues
Sustainability
 Frequent
and continued recognition of
students with improved or perfect
attendance
 Willingness of school staff to continue to
build relationships with students and their
parents/ guardians
 Identify and work with students who have
chronic tardiness as this often leads to
absenteeism
Sustainability
 Continue
to use Truant Officer for those
students who miss 20% of more
 Development of a Divisional Attendance
Committee with the goal of partnering
with schools and other groups(CFS, Police,
Social Assistance, Housing, etc.)
THE END
Contact information:
Marjorie Millman
Salisbury Morse Place School
795 Prince Rupert Ave.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R2K 1W6
Phone: 204.668.9304
[email protected]

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