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January 18, 2018

Step Right Up and Change the World … with Data!


Attendance Data at the 80-Day Mark  (and it’s lookin’ good!)

“Today, or any day, that phone may ring and bring good news.” – Ethel Waters

Attendance is one of the key solution areas moving the needle on third-grade reading proficiency. You’ve probably heard some of the statistics, but here’s a refresher because it’s important to remind ourselves about the “why” often:

  • A child learns to read through 3rd grade, and they read to learn beginning in 4th grade. When the child can’t read proficiently in 4th grade, they are looking around realizing everyone is moving on ahead of them; they are in the pipeline to prison.
  • Children from low-income families frequently do not get quality early-childhood education which means they will start school behind their peers from more prosperous families. Too often, they will miss school on a regular basis. When summer comes, they will lack the kind of enrichment programs available to kids from better-resourced families and will continue to fall behind in school, a pattern that will continue throughout their childhood.
  • In Manatee and Sarasota counties, more than 19,000 children ages 11 and younger are living in poverty.
  • 35% of the elementary schools in our region have more than 80% of their students hunger-challenged.
  • Children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are 14 times more likely than middle-class children to drop out before high school graduation. That means they will be unqualified for 90 percent of the available jobs.

Here’s the kicker:

  • In 48% of our elementary schools, 7% of students are missing more than 10% of the school year which puts them in academic danger and qualifies them as chronically absent.

By now, you’re probably wondering where that “good news” is that we mentioned.

See all those numbers below … They reflect Sarasota County Schools’ attendance at the 80-day mark. According to the data on the Attendance Dashboard, 61% of the Elementary Schools in Sarasota County are showing improved attendance for this year. Atwater, Brentwood, Cranberry, and Glenallen elementary schools are doing a remarkable job of lowering the number of chronically absent students.

Director of Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Beth Duda, inquired with the schools about their strategies. Assistant Principal of Brentwood Elementary, Dr. Patti Brustad Folino, shared what’s working for them.

“We have weekly attendance meetings as part of our School-Wide Support Team where we generate ideas to help those students who have excessive attendance concerns. Of course, we continue to credit Attendance BINGO as a huge motivator. Much of our strategies are based on the individual needs of the family … And, yes, the Student Emergency Funds definitely help support us!”

The Attendance Dashboard is proving to be a valuable tool for collecting data that can help education providers and support, fill the gaps where children and their families are falling.

Top five elementary schools in Sarasota County with impressive overall attendance percentage improvements at the 80-day mark:


Top five elementary schools in Sarasota County with impressive chronically absent attendance improvements (by student) at the 80-day mark:


Click here for a chart featuring all Sarasota County elementary schools at the 80-day mark.


Celebrating Attendance Awareness Under the Big Top!

407 Families Won Circus Tickets! 

Three “Whooty Whoos” to all the artists and schools that helped make this another incredible year: Whooty Whoo! Whooty Whoo! Whooty Whoo!

In honor of Attendance Awareness Month in September, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading hosts an Attendance Awareness Poster Contest to promote good attendance habits and help students and parents understand why going to school every day matters.

In 2018, 38,304 students in grades Pre-k-5 participated in the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest where they learned the importance of outstanding attendance by creating their own personalized artwork.

Winners of the 2017/18 Attendance Awareness Poster Contest will receive tickets to the opening weekend of Circus Sarasota, February 9-10, 2018. Regional winners will be honored in front of the School Board and gifted with an iPad. The School District of Manatee County’s event is scheduled for February 27th, 2018, and Sarasota County Schools’ event is scheduled for February 6, 2017.


  • In 2017, more than 38,000 students in grades Pre-k-5 created a poster with the message #EveryDayCounts.
  • In 2017, 65 public elementary schools in Sarasota and Manatee county participated.
  • Since the inaugural Attendance Awareness Poster Contest in 2015, elementary schools in both Sarasota and Manatee counties with a history of chronic absenteeism have shown significant reductions in student absences.



Manatee Technical College 6305 State Road 70 East Bradenton, FL 34203
January 30
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

 Circus Sarasota
Celebrating 407 students who won the
Attendance Awareness
Poster Contest
February 10
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Mind in the Making

Team Zinc
 Team Wonder
Team Velvet

Team Youthful

– Welcome to Our World
– Breastfeeding Support and Latch Clinic
– Partners In Play
– Child Personal Safety

All Faiths Food Bank Food Distribution Schedules



The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) has another uplifting volunteer opportunity from Tuesday, January 23 through Thursday, January 25.

SCGLR is looking for a minimum of 80 volunteers to help assemble 3,400 Kindergarten Readiness Bags for children in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties. Each day, shifts will run from 3:00pm-6:00pm and 6:00pm-9:00pm. The bags will be filled with items to prepare children for kindergarten and encourage parents to work with their kids.

Community service hours are available for youth.


Your time is appreciated and valuable in assisting with the mission of helping all children read on grade level.

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