April 4, 2022

The Power of Present: Highlights From Our First Attendance Summit

Setting the Scene

On March 23-25, in partnership with Attendance Works, we hosted our very first summit on student absenteeism—The Power of Present.  District leaders devoted to improving student attendance and success gathered in Boston to hear from preeminent thought leaders in the attendance and education space. Much of the event was streamed virtually, with over 175 attendees tuning in! 

But that was only the beginning. As we took in the latest research and data, attendees made it actionable as they shared their own insights, challenges, and best practices. 

A nod to our proven-effective mail nudges, mailboxes served as centerpieces, and attendees were invited to share their unmissable day of school on stationary, serving as a social artifact.

Key Takeaways

  • Over 35 district leaders convened in Boston to hear from preeminent thought leaders and share their challenges and strategies, leaving them energized to bring new ideas and approaches back home. 
  • Hedy Chang, Founder of Attendance Works, kicked off the summit with the latest in attendance data and research.  
  • Phyllis Jordan, Associate Director at FutureEd, presented the latest research on the pandemic’s impact on schools and how the recent influx of funding can be maximized. 
  • Dr. Karen Mapp, Senior Lecturer on Education at Harvard University, spoke on family engagement. “Family engagement is a strategy, not a goal,” particularly resonated.
  • Pam Allyn, cofounder of Dewey, delivered a motivating keynote on how we can joyfully support the needs of the whole child, all year long.  
  • A breakout discussion featuring two of our district partners: Executive Director of Student Services at Fulton County Schools, Chelsea Montgomery, and Sarah Peterson, Senior Director of Attendance at the NYC DOE,  left attendees excited to build on best practices. 
  • A district leader panel discussed challenges and actionable strategies to improve attendance in their districts. This panel included Eric Bethel, Instructional Superintendent at DC Public Schools; Dr. Shadae Harris, Chief Engagement Officer at Richmond Public Schools; Derek Little, Deputy Chief of Teaching & Learning at Dallas ISD; Chelsea Montgomery, Executive Director of Student Services at Fulton County Schools; Katie Casstevens, Administrative Supervisor in the Department of Student Service at Austin ISD.  

Who was Present?

Over 35 education leaders from 25 different districts enjoyed keynotes from thought leaders on the cutting edge of attendance research and data, whole child instruction, and family engagement. 

Hedy Chang, Founder of Attendance Works and currently serving as Executive Director and President, kicked off the summit with the latest in attendance data and research, sparking rich discussion and reflection amongst attendees. 

After returning from insightful and actionable cohort roundtable discussions, attendees heard from Phyllis Jordan, Associate Director at FutureEd, who presented some of the latest research on how the pandemic has impacted our schools and how the recent influx of funding can be best used to mitigate the numerous challenges. Lively conversation and swapping of best practices followed.

Dr. Karen Mapp, Senior Lecturer on Education at Harvard University and Special Advisor at EveryDay Labs left everyone invigorated with profound thoughts on family engagement. 

Dr. Karen Mapp role-plays a new take on family phone calls

Pam Allyn, author, advocate, and cofounder of Dewey, delivered a motivating keynote on how we can joyfully support the needs of the whole child, all year long.  

Pam Allyn speaks on a dynamic vision of a new era of learning.

Summit attendees particularly appreciated connecting with new friends and colleagues, swapping best practices and building on various approaches. A breakout discussion led by EveryDay Labs Chief Scientist Dr. Todd Rogers and two of our district partners: Executive Director of Student Services at Fulton County Schools, Chelsea Montgomery, and Sarah Peterson, Senior Director of Attendance at the NYC DOE, was especially impactful.

We closed out the summit with district voices from across the nation who discussed challenges and actionable strategies leveraged in their work to improve attendance in their districts. 

From Left: Eric Bethel, Instructional Superintendent at DC Public Schools; Dr. Shadae Harris, Chief Engagement Officer at Richmond Public Schools; Derek Little, Deputy Chief of Teaching & Learning at Dallas ISD; Chelsea Montgomery, Executive Director of Student Services at Fulton County Schools; Katie Casstevens, Administrative Supervisor in the Department of Student Service at Austin ISD; Dr. Todd Rogers, Chief Scientist at EveryDay Labs. 

The Power of Present

We were thrilled to hear summit attendees share that they left Boston invigorated with new insights and actionable strategies to take back with them to their districts. We can’t wait to reconvene next year! 

Visit our website or watch this short video to learn more about EveryDay Labs! 

Getting students on track starts with attendance. We can help.

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