P16Plus News

P16Plus Wins Data Stories Competition

P16Plus Wins Data Stories Competition

At the 3rd Annual Strive Cradle to Career National Convening in Milwaukee, Wis., P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County (P16Plus) was recognized for its data story submission on chronic non-attendance. P16Plus is a member of the Strive Network, which connects community members to share expertise and resources to tackle specific challenges.

Chronic non-attendance is a challenge that plagues many school districts across the city. P16Plus consultant Carol Mendenhall led a pilot program addressing chronic non-attendance found in the Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade classes at 12 elementary schools from three public school districts.

Chronic non-attendance is when a child misses more than 10% or more of school days. During the study and based on data collected, three factors were identified as major contributors to high absenteeism, including chronic health issues (predominantly asthma), transportation, and lack of parent knowledge about the importance of regular attendance and student success in current and future years.

Pilot Program
P16Plus and representatives from the 12 elementary schools and Communities in Schools (CIS) adopted a positive process when communicating with parents of this target group: a change is communication style and tone. The study revealed that by focusing on chronic non-attendance and changing the communication tone from negative and accusatory (Why isn’t your child at school today?) to a positive, parent-friendly question, (What dreams and aspirations do you have for your child?) and working with parents to problem solve barriers to being in school, attendance among the chronic non-attenders increased by 50% during the 5-month pilot period.

Out of 852 students, 90 students were identified a chronic non-attenders in the middle of the year, and by the end of the year, half those students were attending school regularly.

Planning Ahead
Currently, P16Plus is expanding the chronic non-attendance focus with seven public school districts and 30 elementary schools. P16Plus is identifying other resources to help parents deal with health issues like asthma and creating communications to assist parents in understanding the importance attendance has on reading proficiently by third grade, math and graduating from high school. Solutions for transportation, specifically bus transportation and safety issues, are also being addressed with the schools.

The data story was shared at the Strive Conference earlier this month and will be included in a case study led by the national Strive Network. The current P16Plus study and a resulting white paper will be shared with school district superintendents as a best practice and hopefully adopted in the 2013-2014 school year by all 15 school districts.

Learn more about the Strive Network.
See Chronic Non-Attendance Study Results.