State and Local Education and Law Enforcement Leaders Join Forces to “Race to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism”

5th Annual Reducing Chronic Absenteeism Regional Conference. Aligning conditions of learning, outcomes, and engagement for all students. Race to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism. September 29th, Riverside Convention Center.RIVERSIDE – Riverside County’s initiative to keep students in school is revving up with the Fifth Annual Reducing Chronic Absenteeism Regional Conference on September 29, which is expected to draw more than 500 participants to the Riverside Convention Center (3637 Fifth Street, Riverside).

This year’s conference has adopted the theme “Race to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism.” Organizers will honor nine school districts with top School Attendance Review Board (SARB) models with racing-themed banners. Chronic absenteeism refers to students who miss 10% or more of a school year through excused or unexcused absences (approximately 2 days or more per month).

The conference is a Riverside County initiative bringing together schools, community, and statewide leaders to strengthen the connection between school attendance and academic achievement through research-based practices and strategies. The conference’s general and workshop sessions will focus on trauma-informed practices, engaging and effective parenting strategies, and strategic planning to increase attendance that align to the state priorities in the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) requirements with specific emphasis on school climate, student engagement and parent involvement.

“Educators across our county are eager to make an impact on students’ lives, yet that transformational impact can only occur when they are present in the classroom,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White. “Partnering with parents and community leaders to focus on school attendance is an investment that not only pays dividends for the individual students, but for our community as a whole.”

Students whose academic careers include frequent and recurring absences are subject to lower academic performance, are more susceptible to dropping out of high school, and are less likely to complete college according to a 2014 research report from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP).

In addition, with 21,164 students missing school daily, the cost to local districts is more than $176 million in lost state funding each year.

“An investment in our children’s future is one of the best investments we can make. That is why I strongly support the conference, and I commend the combined efforts of the organizers and participants to reduce chronic absenteeism and help secure a brighter future for our children,” stated Riverside District Attorney, Mike Hestrin.

The Reducing Chronic Absenteeism Regional Conference, as part of Attendance Awareness Month throughout September, includes a full day of workshops from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $100 and includes breakfast, lunch, and event materials. Online registration is available at rcoe.k12oms.org.

Featured speakers include:

  • Michael Gottfried, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education,
    UC Santa Barbara.
  • Cindy Kazanis, Director of Educational Data Management, Measurement & Accountability Reporting Division, California Department of Education.
  • Erica Peterson, Regional Area Manager, School Innovations & Achievement
  • Mark Seay, former National Football League wide receiver, San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles.

School Attendance Awareness Month is a national initiative sponsored by Attendance Works that brings together families, schools, community, and statewide leaders to publicize the connection between school attendance and academic achievement.

For additional information on the conference, please contact Catherine Belcher, Administrative Assistant, Riverside County Office of Education at (951) 826-6603, or cbelcher@rcoe.us.