Did you know that if every student in Central Texas took one extra day off for Spring Break, districts would lose $12 million? That could mean losing extracurricular activities, librarians, and counselors!
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:
Dance Party at Manor Excel Academy:
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.
Take a look at this chart that shows the new data from the 2012-2013 school year. Although the number of students has been increasing, the number of absences since 2011 (the year that we started the Missing School Matters campaign) has decreased significantly. As a result, of reduced absences, Central Texas schools have saved $12,048,000!
We can’t take all the credit – there are multiple efforts from school districts and other key players to combat student absences. Even though we are still working to decrease absences even further, it’s important to celebrate the successes. Imagine how many more teachers, science labs, and technology can be added with an additional $12 million!
We’ve been very busy since our kickoff event spreading the message that Missing School Matters! Remember that if you would like a task force member to give a presentation to your school, office, or organization, we would be happy to do so! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a speaker.
KUT covered our kickoff event and has some quick facts and interviews. You can find their coverage here:
The League of Women Voters has created yard signs to help spread awareness – we’re excited to start putting these up!
Central Texas has over 20 schools participating in the Get Schooled Attendance Challenge, starting October 7th. We’ll be out raising awareness anywhere we can – and please use our Campaign Toolkit to help our cause!
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 email@example.com
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
Earlier this year, E3 Alliance and Children’s Optimal Health cooperated on a study to find the most common reasons that students miss school. Researchers analyzed the 16,800 absences in 9 schools with demographics that mirrored the Central Texas region. Perhaps not surprising is that acute illness accounted for 48% of school absences – but on the other hand, that means 52% of absences were NOT due to illness. Preventable absences like routine medical appointments, skipping, and travel were all among the top 10 reasons students missed school. Every day counts – if we can reduce those preventable absences by 3 days per student per year, Texas schools could gain an additional $34 million in funding.
To read more about the study and see the presentation of the findings, please visit the following links:
Acute Illness is the Prominent Reason why Students Miss School in Central Texas – Link to press release and presentations
Student Absences in Central Texas – What are the reasons? – Blog post on the study by Dr. Amy Wiseman.
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.
Find out about our 2013 Missing School Matters campaign at KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park! The event will take place August 7th, and from 7:30-9:30pm we will have a booth in the Polycom/Nonprofit area just north of the main stage (if facing the stage, on the left). You can listen to a free live music show from White Denim, My Jerusalem, and The Preservation, and come away with easy actions that YOU can take to help schools get more funding.
For more information about Blues on the Green, please click here.