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California Legislature Designates September School Attendance Awareness Month

Sacramento, Calif. – The California State Legislature passed a resolution today that designates the month of September 2014 as School Attendance Awareness Month. Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 149 by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D – San Diego) encourages public officials, educators, and communities in California to observe the month with appropriate activities and programs.

“As we embark on the new school year, the goal of Attendance Awareness Month is to mobilize schools and communities not only to promote the value of good attendance and its link to academic success, but also to take concrete steps toward reducing chronic absence,” said Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, the organization that sponsored the resolution.

In a statement on the Assembly Floor, Assemblymember Weber noted that chronic absenteeism disproportionately affects low-income pupils and children of color and called on schools and communities to raise awareness, monitor chronic absence, and work to address the individual and systemic barriers that lead to missing schools, including school climate, engagement, transportation, health, nutrition and even unfair discipline policies.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson also sent out a communication to all county and district superintendents and charter school administrators in July inviting them to join the September Attendance Awareness Month Campaign and provided links to resources to support their efforts.

Attendance Awareness Month was celebrated for the first time in September 2013 as part of a nationwide event recognizing the connection between school attendance and academic achievement. The annual campaign is led by Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry.

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