News Briefs | FYI
April 24, 2023
Chronic absenteeism doubled during pandemic
Chronic absenteeism more than doubled in California schools between 2020-21 and 2021-22, which should be cause for alarm, according to the authors of a recent PACE commentary.
Chronic absenteeism (when a student misses 10 percent or more of instructional days during the school year for any reason) has spiked following the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing from 14 percent in 2020–21 to 30 percent in 2021–22.
In a new PACE commentary, authors Kevin Gee, Heather Hough and Belen Chavez show that students of color experienced some of the largest increases, presenting troubling equity implications for our state’s most vulnerable youth populations.
The commentary reflects findings from a new PACE report that used data from the California Department of Education to identify disparities in labeling school absences unexcused. Report authors analyzed data from the 2017–18, 2018–19 and 2021–22 school years and found that the statewide percentage of absences labeled unexcused held constant at around 38 percent yet varied significantly by school.
Socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students of color were more likely to have their absences labeled unexcused, with Black students experiencing the largest disparity. This is particularly problematic since accumulating too many unexcused absences places students at risk of becoming classified as “truant.” This can lead to involvement with the court system as well as still greater risk of not being able to engage academically and nonacademically — missing opportunities to complete make-up work and exclusion from extracurricular activities are penalties for unexcused absences.
The report makes several recommendations, including using attendance data to identify disparities and bright spots; strengthening monitoring of reasons for absences; updating policies related to unexcused absences; improving communication of attendance policies to students and families; and investing in professional development to improve attendance practices.
Read the commentary at
Report: Arts education can achieve broader outcomes
A new report funded by the Wallace Foundation reimagines arts education as a way for students to tap into their identity, culture and opportunities in the world.
While many students learn “art for art’s sake,” arts learning expert Kylie Peppler and her team at the University of California, Irvine, present a connected learning framework that “focuses on how to achieve broader outcomes through the arts.”
In connected learning, educators seek to create meaningful learning experiences based on young people’s interests and then connect these experiences to real-world issues and communities. The authors put art within this context to discover how arts education can help young people build connections with their culture, identity, home lives, communities, professional artists and future aspirations.
The team identifies five approaches for Connected Arts Learning that emerged from its literature review and follow-up interviews with arts education leaders.
The five approaches are:
Culturally sustaining arts: Puts a community’s culture at the center of arts experiences. Future forward arts: Prepares youth for future workforce or civic participation. Networked arts: Embeds art in networks including families, educators, and working artists. Doing well by doing art: Supports participants’ health and well-being through art. Youth voice arts: Emphasizes youth perspectives, leadership and activism.
A series of case studies shows how five organizations each exemplified one of the approaches. The team also states that these approaches are not mutually exclusive. Organizations might use a combination of these approaches or add an approach of their own.
Read the full report online.
Join last K-12 site admin networking event for 22-23
ACSA has launched the K-12 Site Administrators Leadership Network, a new series sponsored by the ACSA Elementary, Middle Grades and Secondary Education Councils in collaboration with NAESP & NASSP. Each session will feature an essential leadership priority based upon statewide input from school site leaders. Breakout rooms will be available for grade span specific focus. Join this free opportunity to learn from and network with colleagues around the state. The last session is 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 10. To register, visit
ACSA Candidate Virtual Town Halls held this week
ACSA Virtual Town Hall Candidate Forums for Vice President and Vice President for Legislative Action are scheduled for this week. The Town Hall Candidates Forum for Vice President will take place from 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, April 25. To join the forum, visit The candidates for ACSA Vice President are: Daryl Camp, Superintendent, San Lorenzo USD, Region 6; and Julie Vitale, Superintendent, Oceanside USD, Region 18. The Town Hall Candidates Forum for Vice President for Legislative Action will take place from 10-11 a.m. Thursday, April 27. To join the forum, visit The candidates for ACSA Vice President for Legislative Action are: Dana Carter, Principal, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint USD, Region 12; and Gina Potter, Superintendent, San Ysidro ESD, Region 18. Members can submit questions up to the event by emailing Naj Alikhan. In the subject line please use “Questions for VP/VPLA candidates.” Please submit questions prior to 10 a.m. on April 25.
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