Press Releases

September 03, 2013

LA County School Attendance Month Kicks Off Sept. 3 with Creative Efforts to Keep Students in Class

More than 25 school districts pledge incentives and outreach to boost attendance as part of “I’m In School” campaign

LOS ANGELES – As September School Attendance Month kicks off across Los Angeles County, schools are greeting students with a simple message: We want you in class and learning. More than 25 school districts have launched incentives and increased outreach aimed at reaching students at risk of dropping out and rewarding those who stay in school and on track.

Last year the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors named September School Attendance Month. Schools across Los Angeles County are part of the “I’m In” campaign.

This year’s School Attendance Month started with a press conference on September 3 hosted by Centinela Valley Union High School District, one of the school districts participating in activities to boost student attendance throughout the year.

"School attendance is critical to academic success. Families, educators and law enforcement will work together to make it happen," said Los Angeles County Superintendent Arturo Delgado. "Every student is important and our goal is to make sure every single student shows up and receives an excellent education."

"We must do all we can to ensure students are in the classroom every day ready to learn," said Mónica García, Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member. "Students have to be in class, teachers have to teach and policy makers must make policies that support learning and achievement. We are an alliance of student advocates. We will change laws, municipal codes, board policy and campus culture because it is what our students need and deserve."

Schools across L.A. County are taking creative approaches to get students back to school and boost attendance:

•    The Los Angeles School Police Department, the nation’s largest school police force, now refers students to school counselors instead of to court when they are off campus during school hours.
•    Baldwin Park Unified School District launched an “On Time, In Class, Every Day!” attendance campaign that includes rallies and rewards that recognized students for their attendance. The district will conduct a “Student Recovery Day” on September 6 to urge students to come back to school
•    Burbank Unified School District launched a “Power of 1%” campaign to increase average daily attendance that included home visits to students who did not report back to school in the first two weeks of school. Staff members also made personal phone calls to parents of students with excessive absences due to illness.
•    Covina-Valley Unified School District holds “I’m In” days when all schools strive for 100% attendance, and classes are rewarded for achieving the goal. The district launched a mentoring program for high school students with unsatisfactory absences. And Covina-Valley administrators, therapists, counselors and a representative of the Covina Police Department launched an “A-Team” to address hurdles that students and their families face that affect attendance.

More than 25 school districts have pledged to participate in the School Attendance Month with special programs and incentives for students to come to school: Centinela Valley Union High School District, Lynwood Unified School District, Palmdale School District, Azusa Unified School District, Charter Oak Unified School District, El Rancho Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, William S. Hart Union High School District, Baldwin Park Unified School District, Pomona Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District, Downey Unified School District, Covina-Valley Unified School District, Burbank Unified School District, East Whittier City School District, Lawndale Elementary School District, Torrance Unified School District, Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District, Pomona Unified School District, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Whittier City School District, Glendale Unified School District, Montebello Unified School District, Walnut Valley Unified, and Pasadena Unified School District

Students can struggle with attendance for many reasons, including untreated mental health issues or family financial problems such as foreclosure, according to a 2012 report by the School Attendance Task Force, a group of justice, law enforcement, and education leaders from the City and County of Los Angeles, civil rights groups, and community members. The report concluded that traditional ways of dealing with student attendance problems through police or harsh school discipline actually pushed students out of schools.

Learn more about the School Attendance Task Force at the Education Coordinating Council website: www.educationcoordinatingcouncil.org