Iowa Celebrates Attendance Awareness Month

Posted October 2, 2013
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog iowacelebratesattendanceawarenessmonth 2013

Up, Up, and Attend” is the clever catch phrase for Dubuque, Iowa’s Super Hero-themed atten­dance aware­ness cam­paign, focused on ele­men­tary school stu­dents. Sev­en­ty-four Grade-Lev­el Read­ing (GLR) com­mu­ni­ties par­tic­i­pat­ed in the month. Ten com­mu­ni­ties are in states where the gov­er­nor signed a state-lev­el Atten­dance Aware­ness Month proclamation.

Pulling out their secret decoder rings,” the Dubuque Com­mu­ni­ty School Dis­trict and the community’s GLR cam­paign teamed up to launch the cam­paign as the kick­off for Atten­dance Aware­ness Month in Sep­tem­ber. Efforts ranged from bill­boards to a com­pe­ti­tion at ele­men­tary schools between class­rooms vying to have the best atten­dance. The win­ner gets a piz­za par­ty or oth­er prize.

The cam­paign bounces off of last year’s wins, dur­ing the 201213 school year, that includ­ed pilot­ing sev­er­al best prac­tices in one of the dis­tric­t’s most at-risk ele­men­tary schools. The pilot pro­gram reduced chron­ic absence from 7% to 2% and the num­ber of stu­dents attend­ing school 98% of the time rose from 22% to 24%. The school’s prin­ci­pal, the district’s atten­dance com­mit­tee, and school admin­is­tra­tors imple­ment­ed an inter­ven­tion process that catch­es atten­dance issues, used a Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion of Greater Dubuque grant to imple­ment an atten­dance pilot pro­gram, and test­ed best prac­tices, poli­cies and pro­grams that have worked in oth­er schools.

This aca­d­e­m­ic year, those best prac­tices, poli­cies and pro­grams are being rolled out to scale in all of the district’s 13 ele­men­tary schools. Cam­paign pro­mo­tion­al mate­r­i­al was fund­ed by Dubuque’s Every Child/​Every Promise effort, as part of the community’s GLR cam­paign, and bill­board space was pro­vid­ed by an area adver­tis­ing firm. The word is now out: Super­man and kryp­tonite don’t go togeth­er. Nei­ther should kids and miss­ing school.

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