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© 2022 Association of California School Administrators
Model School Attendance Review Board recipients announced
April 18, 2022
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced that six school attendance review boards (SARBs) have been designated as model programs by the state SARB for exemplary practices that have contributed to reducing chronic absenteeism rates and improving student attendance.
“These six school districts have overcome incredible challenges to student attendance created by the ongoing global pandemic by employing great attendance strategies,” said Thurmond, in a press release. “I commend these schools for utilizing creative strategies that have been highly successful in getting more students back to learning and on the path to success. A key to these schools’ plans has been a multi-tiered approach including early intervention, professional development, strategic staffing, family engagement, and school connectedness.”
The Model SARB Recognition Program identifies and recognizes multi-tiered school attendance improvement programs at the district or county level. Attendance interventions have been modified to address students in independent study and students in quarantine.
All the Model SARB districts developed a multi-tiered approach driven by data to engage students and families in school:
  • Early Intervention: The exemplary practices implemented by this year’s recipients share similarities. Among them are the frequent and consistent practices of the school attendance review teams, whose members recognize their role as the catalyst in supporting and improving student attendance and behavior. A focus on Tier 1 early interventions is key to de-escalating trends toward chronic absenteeism, truancy and suspension.
  • Professional Development and Added Staff: Recipients have taken the vital step of utilizing increased school funds to invest in new and existing staff. Improved professional development has focused on enhancing cultural competencies, elevating social and emotional learning, and recognizing and addressing mental health needs as well as engaging practices for students in remote learning. The addition of counselors and social workers has allowed for rapid and positive response aimed at mitigating the needs of disengaged students.
  • Family Engagement and School Connectedness: To best meet the needs of students and families, some of our recipients have adjusted the tiers and processes for attendance improvement as a way to provide students and families the individual and needed support to ensure they are successful, feel valued and are connected to their school community. Communications and interventions at the school and district levels provide education to families via newsletters and attendance presentations to inform and empower parents and/or guardians. Community resources and partnerships further help mitigate the many barriers to attendance faced by students and families.
State Superintendent Thurmond convenes the state SARB, which brings together key agencies and community partners to score applications submitted by district and county SARBs throughout the state.
The Model SARB awards will be presented at the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance State Conference on May 11–13, 2022, in Olympic Valley.
Below is a list of the recognized school districts and their Model SARB chairperson:
  • Buena Park School District, Orange County, Elsie Briseño Simonovski
  • Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County, Mike Beekman
  • Irvine Unified School District, Orange County, Michelle Walsh
  • Ocean View School District, Orange County, Barb Davis
  • Sunnyvale School District, Santa Clara County, Tasha L. Dean
  • Yuba City Unified School District, Sutter County, Jennifer Cates