Latest from REL West: Reducing chronic absenteeism,progress of English learner students
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August 2016

In This Issue

~ Director’s Update
~ Video on Chronic Absenteeism Released for Attendance Awareness Month
~ New Studies Offer Insight Into How English Learner Students Are Progressing
~ News from Other RELs

Director's Update

Photo: Nikola FilbyWelcome to a new school year! September is Attendance Awareness Month, so you may be especially interested in our new video on reducing chronic absenteeism. It features strategies from three schools in Utah, and is accompanied by a discussion guide. More below. And be on the lookout for several REL West research reports coming this fall.

New Research & Resources

Video on Chronic Absenteeism Released for Attendance Awareness Month


Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: Every Day Counts!

Photo: Students sitting on school stepsNationwide, as many as 6.5 million public school students miss close to a month of school every year. Research shows that these chronically absent students generally fall behind academically, having lower grades and test scores and higher dropout rates than their classmates who attend school regularly.

To help school and district staff, parents, school board members and others seeking strategies to reduce student absences, REL West has developed a new video, "Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: Every Day Counts!"

The video, released for national Attendance Awareness Month in September, shares data on chronic absenteeism and discusses its causes and consequences. It highlights three Utah schools, each featuring staff interviews describing promising strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism: building a schoolwide culture of good attendance, using data to identify students missing school to trigger outreach, and personalizing outreach to support students. The 19-minute video is accompanied by a viewing and discussion guide, as well as a list of additional resources. 

New Studies Offer Insight Into How English Learner Students Are Progressing in the West Region


Photo of young English learnerThe Achievement Progress of English Learner Students

A new set of studies looked at the achievement of English learner student subgroups in three West Region states over six years, looking specifically at students’ progress in English fluency and in mastering core academic content in English language arts and math. Although the research examined students receiving widely different academic supports in a range of settings, the findings were strikingly similar. Consistently, older EL students (those in middle and high school), EL students eligible for special education services, and EL students at lower English language proficiency levels were less successful than their peers.

While the study period is from 2006-2012 and some instructional and assessment approaches have shifted in each state since then, the consistency of the findings across such diverse contexts may offer insights about EL student subgroups that need additional attention. An accompanying fact sheet summarizes the studies.


News from Other Regional Educational Labs

REL Northeast & Islands
July 2016
"Principal Leadership Is Key Factor in Teachers’ Satisfaction with Evaluation Systems"

REL Central
April 2016
"Decision Points and Considerations for Identifying Rural Districts That Have Closed Student Achievement Gaps"

REL Southwest
April 2016
"Exploring the Foundations of the Future STEM Workforce: K–12 Indicators of Postsecondary STEM Success"

Cross-REL Collaborations
The Early Warning Systems Learning Series: Roundup of webinars, research, and tools being offered by various RELs.
IES website

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