| This summer, we’ve looked at best practices within each of our six policy recommendation areas. We’ve taken a look at the need to demand accountability at the state level; the need to foster leadership in our districts and schools; ideas for developing an excellent teacher talent pool; strategies for raising expectations of our students; and the importance of investing intelligently in our education system.
Let’s kick off the school year by discussing some practices for turning around achievement at the school-level.
Too many of Connecticut’s underprivileged students are in chronically low-performing schools, which exacerbates the state’s highest-in-the-nation achievement gap. In order to ensure that every child is receiving the education that she deserves, we must focus on reform strategies that are specifically targeted towards the complex problems that students in these schools face.
Chronic absenteeism is defined differently by different states; often it is described as missing 10% of school. While chronic absenteeism occurs in almost all districts, it is generally concentrated in a few low-performing schools. These schools are disproportionately in low-income, urban districts. In some districts, as many as one-in-three students misses a month of school or more each year. Students who were chronically absent scored 60 points below their peers on reading and 100 points below their peers on math, even when both groups started school at comparable levels. Falling behind academically further discourages students from attending school and can have a cyclical effect. School attendance is the most accurate determinate of whether students will eventually drop out.
Below are some of the methods that are being used around the country to combat absenteeism and turn around schools.Read More »