Read Fort Worth has launched an Attendance Pilot Program with eight Fort Worth ISD elementary school campuses with the vision of getting more students to school more often, since being in school is critical to learning.
Read Fort Worth’s roles centers on convening external stakeholders to support data-informed decision making, facilitate community support and resources, and promote family engagement in and around student attendance through interventions. The eight schools in the pilot are Bill J Elliott, Manuel Jara, Greenbriar, South Hi Mount, De Zavala, Edward J Briscoe, Christene C. Moss and George Clarke.
A primary caregiver plays a critical role in getting elementary school students to school. Read Fort Worth is measuring the impact of family engagement through attendance metrics, specifically for first and second grade students who are chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism is officially defined in Texas as a student missing at least 10 percent of school days in a school year for any reason, excused or unexcused.
Read Fort Worth is facilitating monthly meetings, bringing data to shine a light on absenteeism and inform possible interventions. Read Fort Worth would implement interventions by mobilizing external partners to be the solution.
Among the external stakeholders are Fort Worth Children’s Partnership (FWCP) and Parent Engagement Collaborative (PEC). FWCP is an active partner on some pilot campuses to improve school attendance procedures. Through incentives, awards, and scaling attendance best-practice protocols, FWCP is impacting attendance on campuses with the hypothesis that getting more kids to school more often will both increase academic growth and performance. Increasing student attendance has the potential to increase the school’s per pupil allotment.
PEC agencies are also active on some pilot campuses. These family engagement agencies bring their expertise in elevating parent voice to inform the interventions and build trust between the school and families. Parents may also participate on the campus teams to have their voice be heard directly in these conversations.
The Attendance Pilot will continue throughout the 2019-20 academic year with a goal of including more campuses in future years depending on its findings and the refinement of best practices for attendance protocols.