Michael Gottfried, University of California, Santa Barbara
Truancy and chronic absenteeism are serious problems in California schools. Nearly 30 percent of elementary school students in California were truant in 2012-2013; 90 percent of these students were from low-income families. Elementary school absenteeism has severe negative effects on students, their families, and communities. It also imposes large costs on the state’s legal, justice, and social service systems. In California over the past three years these costs exceeded $3.5 billion. To address the issues of truancy and chronic absenteeism, Michael Gottfried has partnered with Attorney General Kamala Harris to develop strategies to reduce truancy among elementary school students in public schools throughout California. These “Truancy Reduction Pilot Projects” include a two-phase study on elementary school early intervention and prevention practices in a handful of model school districts throughout the state. In this seminar, Gottfried will present findings from the first, pre-implementation phase of the study. The purpose of this phase was to study existing district attendance monitoring, truancy prevention, and intervention programs to determine the effectiveness of different approaches. The results of this research will suggest how policymakers and practitioners can identify cost-effective, scalable, and replicable practices for implementation in any district in our state.