22 Jun

The CTX Absence Reasons Study

Absence Reasons Study Summary

E3 Alliance uses objective data to drive collaborative change “cradle to career” in Central Texas. Recently the organization has focused its efforts on student attendance, an issue that has a “triple bottom line” impact on students, teachers, and school resources. In 2013, we conducted a study to collect detailed information about why students in Central Texas miss school. Our findings suggest that coordinated region-wide efforts to prevent acute illness can improve attendance for all students, while targeted interventions can help specific sub-populations of students to reduce absenteeism and experience greater academic success.

Key Findings:

  • 72% of absences are “true absences,” defined here as cases in which students are not in class, at another district campus, or participating in a school event.
  • Acute illnesses such as colds or flu account for 48% of all true absences in the region. The next most common reasons were skipping, chronic illness and family emergencies.
  • Absence frequency patterns were similar across two non-contiguous districts, and a spike in acute illness absences seen in both districts aligned with a spike in flu in the region.
  • Although half of Central Texas students are low-income, they account for more than half of mental health, and non-medical absences such as family responsibilities, skipping, and logistical problems getting to school.
  • Students at risk of dropping out are significantly more likely than their peers to miss school due to family responsibilities, logistical problems getting to school including transportation, skipping, out of school suspensions, and for legal reasons.
  • Males and students who were ever English Language Learners are more likely than their peers to miss school due to skipping, out of school suspensions, and for legal reasons.
  • Students in the 9th and 12th grades are more likely than students in other grades to skip class.

To learn more, please read the full report.

09 Jun

Prescriptions for Pre-K

AARO Rx pad2-page-0PRE-K FLYER3 (1)-page-0

The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO), together with E3 Alliance, has been working with a group of committed business and civic leaders who believe that one of the best investments we can make is to ensure children are ready for Kindergarten when they enter school. Our regional data shows that children who attend a pre-K program are far more likely to be ready for school than children who stay home or with a relative. We know that in Central Texas not every child who could attend a pre-K program is enrolling.  For this reason, regional leaders are supporting a pre-K enrollment initiative focused on getting the ~ 2,000 eligible children in our region who are not enrolled to be registered and attending pre-K in Central Texas.  We know from the data that enrolling them in pre-K will not only increase their readiness and avoid later interventions, it will save our region $30M over their lifetimes for each year’s cohort of four year olds who attend pre-K!

This is not a broad billboard or advertising campaign; we are looking for just ~2,000 specific families. We want to reach them through programs and service providers who they already know and use and trust. We are working with a team of dozens health professionals and social service agencies and nonprofits to get the word out to eligible families so they can register for pre-K in their district.

One unique way local health professionals are supporting this is effort is by providing  families whose young children are not currently enrolled with a “prescription” for a local pre-K program, complete with contact information for local school districts. The prescription is written in both English and Spanish so that it can be useful to as many families as possible.

If you’re interested in helping with our pre-K enrollment initiative, please contact Laura Koenig, Director of School Readiness, at lkoenig@e3alliance.org.

To learn more about how parents can prepare their young children for school, please explore E3 Alliance’s School Readiness Parent Guide.