The Connecticut Commission on Children
The Connecticut Commission on Children
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18-20 Trinity Street, Hartford, Conn.  06106-1591
Phone: (860) 240-0290  Fax: (860) 240-0248
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'Here to Learn:
Chronic Absence and the Achievement Gap'

A public forum at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Nov. 12, 2013

Sponsored by the Commission on Children, the state legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Connecticut Achievement Gap Task Force, the legislature's Committee on Children, CT Kids Report Card, and the state Department of Education.

From left: Keynote speaker Hedy Chang of Attendance Works, Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman, Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, and Commission member Robert Francis.

From left: Keynote speaker Hedy Chang of Attendance Works, Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman, Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, and Commission member Robert Francis.

CT-N video | Event documents | Additional resources | Photo gallery

Overview

Research confirms what we know from common sense: Showing up for class matters. Missing 10 percent of the school year for any reason—excused or unexcused—can leave students unable to master reading by the end of third grade. It also can signal that a student is more likely to drop out of high school.

Nationwide, an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students (more than one out of 10) miss that much school every year, a crisis in absenteeism that is exacerbating achievement gaps and dropout rates.

The good news is that chronic absence can be turned around when schools, districts, community agencies, and families work together to monitor the data, identify and remove barriers for getting students to class, and nurture a habit of regular attendance. State policy and action are essential to advancing such practice.

With that in mind, the Commission on Children and its partners brought together a panel to discuss the impact of chronic absence on Connecticut children and what all of us can do to prevent it. Keynote speaker Hedy Chang, director of the advocacy project Attendance Works, gave a national overview, while Ajit Gopalakrishnan of the state Department of Education provided Connecticut data. From the local level came presentations by administrators and parents in three communities acting to improve their children's school attendance: New Britain, Vernon, and Hartford.

CT-N video

To buy the recording on DVD, visit the CT-N website. Running time: 2 hours, 22 minutes.

Event documents

Additional resources

"Truancy Intervention: National Models and Connecticut Initiatives," a report from the Center for Children's Advocacy (PDF, 40 pages)

Attendance Works

State of Connecticut, legislative branch:

State of Connecticut, executive branch:

Photo gallery

Click on thumbnail to view a full-sized photo and caption. Holding your mouse over the upper corners will give you "previous" and "next" buttons.

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This page was last updated: November 25, 2013

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