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Where Have the Students Gone?

Addressing Attendance, Chronic Absenteeism, and Truancy with Research and an Asset-Based, Proactive Approach

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Partnerships between schools and families are important for many reasons related to student success and well-being. However, there may be no greater need for effective partnerships than improving attendance. The time has come to shift attendance practices. Reactive, sometimes punitive efforts fall short and can actually break down the relationships with families. Learn how to take a proactive and positive approach with practical strategies you can implement today. We explore common root causes for absence, chronic absenteeism, and truancy and how schools and districts can address those root causes to achieve systemic improvement of attendance issues.

Meet our Hosts

Hedy Chang
Executive Director
Attendance Works

Hedy is the founder and executive director of the non-profit initiative, Attendance Works which promotes equal opportunities to learn and advances student success by reducing chronic absence. Founded in 2010, Attendance Works is the nation’s go-to resource for attendance policy and practice. The website serves over 400,000 users each year. Attendance Works successfully moved chronic absence from a little-known term to a required reporting and optional school accountability metric in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  A skilled presenter, facilitator, researcher and writer, Hedy co-authored the seminal report, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, as well as numerous other articles about student attendance.
Nancy Ludu
FACE Program Specialist
Elk Grove Unified School District

Nancy Ludu is a Program Specialist for the Family and Community Engagement Department in Elk Grove Unified School District.  She supports Attendance, Enrollment and TalkingPoints for EGUSD.  Nancy oversees an Attendance Team that assists sites so they are best able to serve and support the families and students across the district.  She began her career teaching elementary school in neighboring Sacramento City Unified School District and taught in EGUSD for almost 20 years before moving to administration.  She is passionate about providing opportunities for families to partner with schools to provide the best opportunities for all students.
Kate Pechacek
Head of Impact Strategy

Kate Pechacek currently serves as the Head of Impact at Talking Points, as the most recent of several roles in the area of education technology over the last eight years. She began her nearly thirty year career in education as a secondary math teacher. In addition to fifteen years as a teacher, she has also served in districts across the country in multiple site and district leadership roles in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment as well as MTSS. She is passionate about ensuring equity, disrupting predictability, and narrowing opportunity gaps.

About TalkingPoints

TalkingPoints is an edtech nonprofit with a mission to drive student success through effective family-school partnerships. Our family engagement platform promotes effective school-family partnerships through accessible one- and two-way communications translated into 150+ languages. This unique approach eliminates barriers including language, time, mindsets, and capacity to foster strong family engagement.