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LBUSD Attendance Effort Earns State Honor

The Long Beach Unified School District is one of 27 honorees designated as models of attendance improvement and dropout prevention by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The Model School Attendance Review Boards honor goes to school systems that demonstrate innovative and effective practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions and chronic absenteeism.

“Students need to be in school to learn.  The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st Century careers and college,” Torlakson said.

The state’s own School Attendance Review Board (SARB), an expert panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.  All school programs chosen use a three-tiered approach to keep students in school.  The first tier rewards improved attendance and creates an engaging school climate with low suspension rates.  The second tier identifies attendance problems early and provides personalized outreach to students and parents.  The third tier refers the most persistent attendance or behavior problems to a local SARB and provides resources to solve the underlying attendance problems.

LBUSD staff have made a concerted effort to work more closely with families who face challenges such as transportation barriers, or situations in which older siblings are kept home to care for younger ones, said Erin Simon, student support services director.

The Model SARBs will serve as mentors to other school districts, and help them to develop their own strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism.  This year’s awards will be presented at the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance State Conference on April 19 in Tahoe City.