17 Aug

3 Reasons Why Missing School Matters in Early Childhood

smiling girl

Does missing school matter for every student? It may seem like absences aren’t a big deal for young children. But in fact, consistent school attendance is especially important for pre-K and kindergarten students. Here are 3 reasons why Missing School Matters even for our youngest children.

Pre-K and kindergarten are “real school.”

Sure, pre-K and kindergarten are fun—kids get to color and play, dance and sing! That doesn’t mean they’re not learning, though. Actually, that hands-on learning helps build every part of a child’s growing brain,  building crucial social, motor, and communication skills. And these classes are filled with opportunities to develop number sense and concepts of print, providing the foundation for future math, reading, and writing success. Because children are developing these skills, they need lots of practice to firmly establish these important concepts. This is especially important to children who have very few books and activities to engage in at home.

According to Laura Koenig, School Readiness Director at E3 Alliance, “Public school pre-K programs may just be the greatest leverage we have to close achievement gaps for our children who start school already behind” (see “Are Our Children Ready for School?”).  Pre-K and kindergarten students who miss school miss out on these valuable opportunities to reach their full potential.

Solid attendance now = higher achievement later.

Did you know that one in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students across the nation are chronically absent? These missed days may be spread throughout the year, but they add up to nearly a month of lost instruction (see “Attendance in the Early Grades: Why It Matters for Reading”) . Attendance Works reports that students who miss 10 percent or more of the school year in kindergarten tend to experience lower academic achievement in 1st grade; if they are low-income students, that disadvantage persists all the way through 5th grade and often beyond (see “Debunking the Myths about School Attendance”). Pre-K and kindergarten students who miss school miss out on the chance to master new concepts early on.

Good habits start young.

We can’t always control when our kids miss school – children get sick, cars break down, family responsibilities come up. But if we can send a strong message to our children that attendance matters by consistently sending them to school as early as pre-K and kindergarten whenever we can, we increase the probability that as they get older, they will choose to be in school whenever they can. According to a study by the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, students who missed 20 days or more in kindergarten were far more likely than their peers to be chronically absent every year after that, demonstrating that attendance patterns in early childhood can become deeply-rooted habits over time (see the full report for more details). Pre-K and kindergarten students who miss school miss out on forming positive school habits from the beginning.

But solving the problem isn’t just up to parents and kids: Attendance improves when parents believe schools are safe, trust the teachers, and feel connected to their local schools. More on that soon– our next two blogs will focus on attendance tips for families, then take a look at how schools across the nation are reaching out to their communities to combat absenteeism.

Convinced? Ready to help spread the word that Missing School Matters? Be sure to download and share our Parents’ Guide to Attendance, available on our Resources for Families page!

13 Jan

Get Schooled Celebrations!

Simon Middle School in Hays ISD and Manor Excel Academy in Manor ISD were both winners in the national Get Schooled challenge to increase attendance.  Here are some of the pictures from their celebrations!  The full sets can be found at Get Schooled’s website or the Facebook page for Simon.  Congratulations to all the schools who participated and improved their attendance – those extra days present result in more money for your district and a better learning experience for everyone!

Simon Middle School:

Get Schooled 1 Get Schooled 2 Get Schooled Simon


Dance Party at Manor Excel Academy:

Get Schooled MEA 2 Get Schooled Excel

06 Jan

2013 Get Schooled Challenge Results

Simon MS Wins Attendance Challenge – 1st in Central Texas, 14th in U.S.

Campus will host a celebration pep rally Monday and accept a $5,000 prize


(Kyle, TX) Hays CISD, in partnership with the E3 Alliance and Get Schooled, are proud to announce Simon Middle School as the Central Texas Region Middle School winner of the Graduate for Más Fall Attendance Challenge. Nationwide, Simon placed 14th out of all participating middle and high schools. The Challenge was a friendly ten week competition to rally students to improve attendance and stay focused on education. More than 135,000 students participated nationally in the 2013 Fall Attendance Challenge.


Get Schooled, in partnership with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, sponsored the Challenge in districts throughout the country from October 7 to December 13, 2013.  Partnering with local school districts and backbone organizations such as E3 Alliance, the Challenge provided students with incentives and fun, educational activities that engaged students while providing college planning information and promoting a peer culture that supports attendance improvement and academic success.


High absenteeism has been a challenge in Central Texas. Each year, Central Texas students are absent 2.4 million days of school and miss more days of school than their peers across the state in every grade.  Each day our students miss costs our schools about $38 in lost state revenue. Across Central Texas, our schools have been losing more than $91 million a year!  That’s why E3 Alliance spearheaded a regional campaign to improve attendance starting in 2011. Since the start of the campaign, Central Texas schools have saved more than $12M in increased revenue due to improved attendance.


“We’re excited to win this Challenge,” said Simon Middle School Principal Matt Pope. “We worked hard last semester and emphasized the importance of learning good attendance habits. Credit belongs to our parents, our students, and our staff for working as a team to win the Challenge. The lasting effect is that our students, who have learned to appreciate the significance of excellence attendance, are on their way to lifelong success.”


To encourage students to come to school every day during the Challenge, Simon used a variety of mini in-school challenges between grade levels and offered incentives, games, and activities to rally students around attendance improvement.


Simon Middle School will be celebrating their accomplishment with a school-wide “Champion Rally” on Monday, January 6th at 8 a.m. with performances from their students, cheerleaders, high school dance team and the world premiere of the champion motivational music video for their students.


E3 Alliance (Education Equals Economics), is a regional, data-driven, education collaborative based in Austin, Texas. E3 Alliance is leading the effort to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive economic prosperity for Central Texas. E3 Alliance does this by using objective data and focused community collaboration to align the education systems so that all students can succeed. Together with the Central Texas community, E3 Alliance has created The Blueprint for Educational Change, the strategic plan for Central Texas to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country.


Get Schooled is a non-profit organization dedicated to using media, technology, and popular culture to improve high school graduation rates and college success rates.  Get Schooled connects with young Americans through its combination of on-air programming, online content, on-the ground events and school-based initiatives.  Together with hundreds of schools, educators, and students, and boosted by partners like Viacom and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Get Schooled motivates and empowers students to make high school education a priority and college education a possibility.  To learn more, go to www.getschooled.com or follow Get Schooled at www.facebook.com/getschooledfoundation, or www.twitter.com/getschooled.

05 Sep

What a kickoff!


Yesterday Missing School Matters kicked off the 2013-2014 campaign (and Attendance Awareness Month!) at IBC Bank in east Austin.

Susan Dawson, president of E3 Alliance, started off with the startling facts about attendance in Central Texas – for example, did you know there are 2.4 million student absences in Central Texas per year (for over 300,000 students)?  She also shared that fortunately, the Missing School Matters campaign as well as other efforts seem to be making progress – 2012, the first year of the campaign, had the fewest absences in over 10 years – saving schools $7.5 million dollars!

Next, Dr. Meria Carstarphen, the superintendent of AISD, echoed the importance of the campaign to the region and the dedication and efforts that are in place on Austin campuses.  She emphasized the importance of keeping the roughly $40 per day that each student absence costs a school.  Next, this video of Round Rock’s Stony Point Middle school (last year’s Get School national attendance champions) was shown before principal Albert Hernandez got up to discuss the positive impact that the campaign had on the students.

Dr. Amy Wiseman gave her presentation on the reasons that students are absent – over half of which are potentially preventable.  Even though the study used self-reported data, the second most common reason for absence (5% of absences) was students willing to admit that they skipped!  Other common reasons that can be easily avoided are travel, routine medical and dental appointments, and suspensions.

Lauren Paver, task force co-chair, gave an overview of the Missing School Matters taskforce – our campaign to generate broad awareness with parents and in the community.  Task force members shared ways that they had reached out:  from putting up posters at the YMCA, giving a presentation at the PTA meeting, to telling church groups, to having a conversation with the local constable, every bit of awareness helps!  Resources for spreading the word (including posters, infographics, news articles, and PSAs) can be found in our Campaign Toolkit.  Speakers from the task force can also be requested by emailing info@e3alliance.org

Finally, for our big closer, Bree-Anna Dominguez got up to remind us all why it’s worth all this effort.  A former student at Manor High School, she  found out she was pregnant during her senior year, and her morning sickness extinguished her motivation to go to school.  Luckily her Communities in Schools advocate Krista was there for her, keeping her motivated every step of the way and convincing her to finish high school.  Bree-Anna found her strength and finished high school on time – eliciting applause from the audience and a beaming smile from Bree-Anna!  She serves as a reminder that every day a student misses school, they miss out on a chance to find their inspiration and make a change in their life.

Thank you IBC Bank for hosting, Costco for providing breakfast, and to all of our speakers and sponsors who helped make this event a huge success!  To see pictures, go to www.facebook.com/MissingSchoolMatters and check out our live tweets @MissingMatters

05 Aug

2013 Missing School Matters Kickoff Event

Miss School.
Miss Out.

When your son or daughter misses a day at school, they’re missing out on a lot more than classes or
homework. They’re missing opportunities. Opportunities to learn. To gain confidence. To be inspired. To be
a friend. To experience a moment that may have a positive, lasting impact.

But that’s not all. They’ll also start to miss out on things like teachers, electives, sports programs and arts
education. Because every year, school absences cost Central Texas $34 million dollars in lost revenue.
That’s $34 million in lost opportunities for your child, your school and your community.


E3 Alliance, together with AARO invites employers, associations and community groups to help spread the word that that Missing School Matters.  Join us on September 4th to kick off the 2013 Central Texas campaign – and National Attendance month!  Speakers include Dr. Meria Carstarphen, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, and Susan Dawson, president and executive director of E3 Alliance.

  • Learn about the Get Schooled Central Texas Fall Attendance Challenge to get middle and junior high school students aware of the importance of going to class.
  • Review new data from E3 and Children’s Optimal Health regarding the reasons for absences.
  • Get your own promotional tool kit with messages, flyers, articles and more to help spread the word about keeping kids in school.
  • Network and brainstorm with other business and community leaders on how to tackle this important issue.

The kickoff event will be held at IBC Bank on (2817 E. Cesar Chavez) from 9am-10:30am.  To register for the event, please click here.  For more information, please contact us at info@e3alliance.org

29 Apr

News Release: OMG Girlz Recognize Stony Point High School as National Champion in Get Schooled Attendance Challenge with a 5.06% Attendance Gain

Round Rock ISD High School posts a 5.06 percent attendance gain

Round Rock, TX – More than 2,200 students at Stony Point High School will celebrate their 5.06% in student attendance on Tuesday, April 30 as the OMG Girlz will recognize the school as the national champion in the Get Schooled Foundation’s national Attendance Challenge. The Challenge was a friendly competition across more than 200 middle and high schools around the country in a campaign to improve student attendance.  As celebrity “principals for a day,” they will connect with students in their classrooms and host a school-wide assembly as part of the celebration of the students’ accomplishments. The Victory Tour event is not open to the public.

Get Schooled has focused on attendance as a critical metric in school and student performance because it is one of the best predictors of high school graduation rates and college readiness rates.  Despite its importance, a Johns Hopkins student released earlier this year estimates that 7.5 million students in the United States miss a month or more of school, putting them at risk for failing to learn key skills and potentially dropping out of high school.

Austin’s E3 Alliance partnered with Get Schooled to recruit and support 33 Central Texas middle and high schools in the Challenge as a regional effort to boost school attendance and ultimately student achievement.  The average school in the challenge boosted attendance 2.53% and Stony Point posted a 5.06% gain earning them the title of national champions. The challenge also had a transformative effect on Stony Point High School. The high school, one of the largest high schools in the challenge, came together and not only posted huge attendance gains but also boosted student engagement.  More than half the student body was active in the challenge.

“We are very proud of the hard work the Stony Point High School staff, faculty and especially the students did to earn this victory,” said E3 Alliance president & executive director Susan Dawson. “The Challenge is a great first step in our overall campaign to increase awareness about student attendance across Central Texas through our Missing School Matters campaign.”

The OMG Girlz, based in Atlanta, is made up of three high school students:  Star, Beauty and Baby Doll.  Formed by Tameka “Tiny” Harris, formerly of the multi-platinum girl group, Xscape, the OMG GIRLZ released their hit song “GUCCI THIS (GUCCI THAT)” in 2011 and it quickly became an instant hit on the Top 10 list of BET’s 106 & Park. Their first album will be released this fall.

More than 10,000 students across the country have earned a stop on the Get Schooled Victory Tour. As part of the Victory Tour, celebrities serve as “Get Schooled Celebrity Principals for the Day” at the school. Past Get Schooled Celebrity Principals for the Day have included Nicki Minaj, Ne-Yo, Bella Thorne, Rocsi and Big Sean.

“Stony Point High School, the E3 Alliance and the entire Austin community demonstrate what is possible when communities come together and focus on a critical predictor of student success,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of the Get Schooled Foundation. “The amazing effort put forth by thousands of community leaders, students and teachers is an example for the rest of the nation.”

Incite Social Impact Marketing collaborated with E3 Alliance and Get Schooled to implement the Challenge in Central Texas. Incite is associated with the Emmis Austin Radio, featuring stations 93.3 KGSR, News Radio KLBJ 590 AM & 99.7 FM, 93.7 KLBJ FM, 101X, Comedy 102.7, 103.5 Bob FM and 107.1 La Zeta.

To see a full list of schools that participated in the Fall Attendance Challenge along with their final scores, go to www.getschooled.com. To see a photo album of the challenge in action in participating schools go to www.facebook.com/getschooled. To learn more about the E3 Alliance Missing School Matters Campaign, visitwww.missingschoolmatters.org. Visit Incite Social Impact at www.inciteimpact.com.
# # #
About Get Schooled
Get Schooled is a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Get Schooled is the premiere education brand for young people – linking students with high quality, cutting edge resources and tools they need to succeed. Get Schooled has developed a track record of success because it engages with young Americans using the media, technology and popular culture that is an integral part of their lives. Get Schooled’s work is boosted by partners like Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In its first two years, Get Schooled has engaged more than 2.5 million young Americans and has built a network of more than 325 middle and high schools.
About E3 Alliance
E3 Alliance is a regional, data-driven education collaborative based in Austin, Texas. We are building the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive regional economic prosperity. Founded in 2006, E3 Alliance acts as a catalyst for change, working to break-down barriers and build better alignment across the education continuum. Our name tells our story: Education Equals Economics. We believe that only through greater educational achievement for current and future generations of children, can Central Texas realize economic prosperity and a high quality of life for our community. Such achievement requires systemic change from cradle to career, and that is our commitment to our community.