Improving Attendance: How the Blackboard Connect Service Can Help Your School

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Educators agree, and studies confirm, that a child who maintains a solid attendance record is twice as likely to graduate from high school. This direct correlation between attendance and graduation can be vitally important to your district. Not only will students be able to excel as their attendance increases, but school districts can also improve their revenue opportunities for a variety of functions including transportation and lunch or tutorial programs. Improving attendance is a 'win-win' situation for both students and the district.

Join Dr. Gwen Miller, Principal at J.R. Tucker High School (VA), Rita Morehead, Principal at School 17, Yonkers Public Schools (NY) and Scott Law, Assistant Principal, Paramount West High School (CA) as they share the unique ways they are using the Blackboard Connect service to improve student attendance, as well as demonstrate how they are having success with Blackboard Connect overall.

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Improving Attendance: How the Blackboard Connect Service Can Help Your School

  1. 1. Improving Attendance: How the Blackboard Connect Service Can Help Your School Dr. Gwen Miller , Principal, J.R. Tucker High School Rita Morehead , Principal, School 17, Yonkers Public Schools Scott Law , Assistant Principal, Paramount West High School Cheryl Parris , Sales Engineer, Blackboard Connect, K-12
  2. 2. Keeping them informed and aware Engaging and assessing learners at all levels Enrich the experience through devices they love Making their daily lives more convenient and secure
  3. 3. Our Vision: <ul><li>Close the gap between the way students live and the way they learn </li></ul><ul><li>Empower district leadership to communicate directly and effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Engage parents in their child’s academic progress </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver a 21st Century educational experience </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Fully-hosted notification and alert solution for reaching millions in minutes through Voice, Email, SMS, Text, TTY, Wireless, and PDA capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>2,600 clients in K-12, Higher Education, and Government </li></ul><ul><li>470 million messages delivered in 2009. 99.99% uptime, serving: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 in 5 K-12 students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1 in 6 Higher Ed students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 million+ citizens </li></ul></ul>Keeping them informed and aware
  5. 6. Attendance –Critical to your Success <ul><li>1.7 Million attendance messages sent during 08-09 school year </li></ul><ul><li>Connect supports your district’s efforts to raise attendance (ADA, single count day, count period) </li></ul><ul><li>Meet your needs with daily or period attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Seamless integration with your student information </li></ul>
  6. 7. HENRICO COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS <ul><li>Blackboard Connect Client Spotlight </li></ul>
  7. 8. Overview of county and school <ul><li>Henrico County Public Schools – located in Richmond, Virginia </li></ul><ul><li>67 schools in district </li></ul><ul><li>49,407 students </li></ul><ul><li>J. R. Tucker High School </li></ul><ul><li>1,666 students </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Deprivation: 25.1% </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asian: 9.8% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black: 18.1% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hispanic: 7.7% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other: 4.2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>White: 60.1% </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. How are we using this for attendance? <ul><li>At the end of the day, the attendance secretary has calls go out to all households where absent students reside. Students from the VA Home for Boys and Girls and 11 group homes attend Tucker. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of each day, the principal’s secretary goes into the program and selects all students with unexcused tardiness. A wake-up call which the principal pre-recorded goes to those households one hour before the first bell on the following school day. </li></ul><ul><li>Calls go out regarding important school and PTSA events. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Results <ul><li>Our absences decreased by 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Unexcused tardiness decreased by at least 60%. We went from an average of 70 per day to an average of 30 per day. On many days, we have below 20! </li></ul><ul><li>Parental participation at major events has increased tremendously. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents constantly compliment us on the effective way that we use this program. </li></ul>
  10. 11. YONKERS PUBLIC SCHOOLS <ul><li>Blackboard Connect Client Spotlight </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Student Population – 24,956 in Grades Pre-kindergarten through Twelve 24.3%African American 5.9%Asian 51.4%Hispanic 0.2%Native American 18.1%White 72.8% of the students are eligible for Free/Reduced Breakfast/Lunch 15.2% of the students are Limited English Proficiency 13.3% are Special Needs Learners </li></ul>2009-2010 Budget: $487,051,292 Personnel: 3,845 total staff 2,164 Teachers & Administrators 1,681 Civil Service support staff 40 school facilities
  12. 13. School 17 Rita Morehead, Principal <ul><li>Student Population – 436 28.7% African American 5.3% Asian 50.2% Hispanic 15.8% White </li></ul><ul><li>Personnel: 2 Administrators 32 Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>197 Blackboard Connect calls in 2008-2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>143 Automated Attendance calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>54 Community Outreach calls </li></ul></ul><ul><li>125 Blackboard Connect calls in 2009-2010 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>79 Automated Attendance calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>41 Community Outreach calls </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>One of Six District Goals The Yonkers Public Schools is maintaining an environment that welcomes parents/guardians and the community. Parental/Guardian involvement influences student achievement and is integral to the district focus, a “Community of Learners,” implemented through the Superintendents’ Non-Negotiable Goal for administrators. Daily use of the Blackboard Connect system for attendance purposes. Weekly use of the Blackboard Connect system to inform and update parents and students, and to support PTA activities and school events. </li></ul><ul><li>Achieving the goal… </li></ul><ul><li>2,196,458 Blackboard Connect calls were made in 2008-2009, an increase of 16% over the prior year . For the current school year, 1,122,509 calls were made through February 25, 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>100% of the District’s schools made 5,551attendance calls in 2008-2009. </li></ul>
  14. 15. PARAMOUNT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT <ul><li>Blackboard Connect Client Spotlight </li></ul>
  15. 16. Paramount West Demographics <ul><li>Paramount High School West Campus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Serving Paramount, Bellflower, South Gate and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long Beach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9th Grade Campus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1,490 students, 64 teachers, 3 administrators </li></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Connect Implementation <ul><li>Daily Attendance Messages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily automated call to 60-100 students who have missed one or more periods during the day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generic message with detail of absence and contact info </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Saturday School notification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any student with an absence is invited to attend Saturday school tutorial session (4 hours) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>500+ students receive paper invites and Blackboard Connect reminder messages detailing the tutorial and absence info </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Daily Attendance Message <ul><li>Daily communication with parents requiring less than 10 minutes of preparation by Attendance Office. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in suspected truancy by constant parent notification. </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach with contact information results in 2-5 parent call backs to Attendance Office per day. </li></ul><ul><li>Call log is used as evidence in truancy hearings. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Saturday School Notification Pre Blackboard Connect Post Blackboard Connect 100 or less students invited each week 500+ invites 6 hours per week making parent calls Less than 30 minutes to prepare list and send messages Average attendance was 30 students per Saturday Average attendance 155 students per Saturday Year average Attendance <94% Year average Attendance >96% Recoup $34, 200 Recoup $176,700
  19. 20. Challenge: Increase Attendance Rates & Parental Involvement Parental outreach through multimodal communications Solution: Blackboard Connect ™ Result: 9X return on investment “ I thought that the [Blackboard Connect] service would pay for itself if attendance brought the ADA up...The system paid for itself many times over and has become an integral part of our communications plan.” - Brian Marshall, Superintendent, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, CA La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Blackboard Case Study <ul><li>12,700 students, K-8 </li></ul><ul><li>21 Schools </li></ul><ul><li>• Blackboard Connect client since Feb. 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Automated attendance notification yielded an ADA increase of $450,000 in state funding in the first year alone. </li></ul>
  20. 21. DISCUSSION & QUESTIONS?
  21. 22. Thank you! <ul><li>Dr. Gwen Miller, J.R. Tucker High School </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Rita Morehead, School 17 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Scott Law, Paramount West High School </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blackboard Connect </li></ul><ul><li>www.blackboard.com/connectfork12 </li></ul><ul><li>(800) 424-9299 ext. 4 </li></ul>

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