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

09 Aug

Why do students miss school?

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.

15 Sep

Media Alert: Missing School Matters Kickoff Events

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick L’Amie, Communications Director, E3 Alliance

Media Alert

Central Texas business and community leaders join forces to boost school attendance
Missing School Matters campaign will reclaim millions of dollars for Austin-area schools
What: News conference and kick-off events for Missing School Matters – a regional effort to increase school attendance across Central Texas
When: Pre-kickoff news conference/media availability (see below for immediately following public kickoff event and schedule)
  • Sept. 19, 2012
  • 10 am
Where: Texas State Capitol Extension conference room E2.020, Austin, TX
Who: Austin Area and Research Organization (AARO) and E3 Alliance
  • Suzanna Caballero, Chair, Community Accountability Team of the AARO Education Committee
  • Susan Dawson, President and Executive Director,  E3 Alliance
  • Jesús Chávez, Superintendent, Round Rock ISD
  • Sarah Harris, Founder and CEO, Incite Social Impact Marketing
  • Rick L’Amie, Communications Director, E3 Alliance
Why: There are 2.4 million student absences in Central Texas per year. When kids aren’t in class they can’t learn. What’s more, chronic absences often lead to dropping out, and schools lose funding from the state for every student absence. Increasing student attendance by an average of just three days = $34 million in added revenue to schools across our region.
Austin Area Research Organization(AARO), together with E3 Alliance is inviting employers, associations and community groups to help spread the word that missing school matters during three community-wide kick-off events across Austin. Missing School Matters Campaign kick-off events will include
  • Business leaders Tim League of Alamo Drafthouse, Bobby Jenkins of ABC Home and Commercial Services, and Clarke Heidrick of
    Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, PC. as speakers.
  • Results of a new national survey of teens that explores why kids miss school.
  • An overview of the Get Schooled Central Texas Fall Attendance Challenge. A targeted campaign with “substance and sizzle” to get 40,000 central Texas middle and junior high school students aware of the importance of going to class.
  • A preview of a new Ad Council and U.S. Army’s new BoostUp High School Dropout Prevention PSAs, launching mid-October, making parents aware of the connection between their student’s attendance and educational outcomes.
  • Access to a promotional tool kit with messages, flyers, articles and more to help spread the word about keeping kids in school.
  • An interactive, table-top brainstorm session for participants to give feedback no how to spread the word that missing school matters.

What else: Kickoff event schedule (open to the public)

Registration is required: Visit http://bit.ly/missingschoolmatters
Kickoff Event One
• Wednesday, Sept. 19th
• 11 am -12 noon
• John H. Reagan Building, Room JHR140 (in the state Capitol complex)
Kickoff Event Two
• Thursday, Sept 20th
• 4 – 5 pm
• Dell Round Rock Campus, Building 8
Kickoff Event Three
• Tuesday, Sept. 25th
• 9 – 10 am
• LCRA Dalchau Service Center, Montopolis Drive

The E3 Alliance is a regional collaborative dedicated to developing a comprehensive, data-driven view of our education landscape to better align educational systems and practices to drive higher outcomes for students and ensure a more efficient allocation of resources, thereby increasing our competitiveness as a region. Founded in 2006 by partners the Austin Area Research Organization, The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College District;  the E3 Alliance acts as a catalyst for change and is the P-16 Council for the Central Texas region. Learn more at: www.e3alliance.org.