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November 16, 2015

Attendance Works Director Praises Suncoast Reading Efforts

I wanted to say thank you so very much for this opportunity to see first-hand the work that is emerging from the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. What an impressive effort to bring together these two communities—Manatee and Sarasota—to help them find common ground around the goal of ensuring their children are reading by third grade so they can succeed in school and life.

It was so wonderful to get a chance to spend time in each community. Clearly, The Patterson Foundation is playing a critical knitting role—helping the two communities see their similarities and discover opportunities for collaboration, while setting an example for the region.

It was a joy to have a chance to meet the winners of the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest. They were adorable. It’s clear that the Suncoast Campaign is benefiting from Beth Duda’s long history working with schools and helping youth find a voice through the arts!

It was exciting to be here with the Suncoast Campaign as it launches work related to chronic absence. There is so much to build upon – the strong support of both Superintendents, the investment in the Graduation Enhancement Technicians in Manatee, and the excellent history of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and Responsive to Intervention (RTI) approaches in Sarasota. You’re off to a great start.

I so appreciated the strong partnership emerging with the Housing Authority. While nascent, the fact that they are following exemplary practices as they collect their data is significant. You are poised to become a model for the nation by collaborating with the Housing Authority to address chronic absence, not just serious truancy cases. Especially since the Housing Authority’s data could be used to show that intervention works!

I was impressed by how open everyone was to using data to analyze how transportation, busing and zoning issues might be presenting barriers to attendance, and then using that information to shed light on potential solutions.

There is great work happening here and I look forward to seeing where it takes you.

Thank you again for the warmth, the hospitality and the added bonus of visiting Patriot Plaza, which is such a concrete example of how The Patterson Foundation uses its principals to help a community come together and collaborate.

Thank you for all the inspiration from seeing the Suncoast Campaign in action.

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