★ REgister now! 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014  
1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Hedy Chang
Attendance Works

Hedy Nai-Lin Chang directs Attendance Works, a national and state-level initiative aimed at advancing student success by addressing chronic absence.  A skilled presenter, facilitator, researcher and writer, she co-authored the seminal report, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, as well as numerous other articles about student attendance. Deeply committed to promoting two-generation solutions to achieving a more just and equitable society, Hedy has spent more than two decades working in the fields of family support, family economic success, education and child development. 


Ensuring World Class Readers  

Exploring the Link between Third Grade Literacy and Chronic Absence    


Please join us for the third annual "Ensuring World Class Readers" forum, sponsored by the Child and Family Policy Center, United Way of Central Iowa, Campaign for Grade Level Reading, and Iowa Afterschool Alliance.


This year's event is focusing on one of the key elements of a comprehensive third grade literacy agenda: chronic absence. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason-excused or unexcused. Students chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read proficiently in third grade, and much more likely to eventually drop out of school.


The keynote speaker is Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works. Attendance Works promotes better policy and practice around school attendance, including tracking chronic absence data for each student beginning in kindergarten (or ideally earlier) and partnering with families and community agencies to intervene when poor attendance is a problem.




1:00 p.m.  
Welcome, Background and Updates
1:25 p.m. 

Keynote Speech from Hedy Chang of Attendance Works 

2:25 p.m.

Lessons from Iowa Communities

Panel discussion

Learn about efforts taking place across Iowa to encourage regular school attendance. Hear the successes, challenges and ideas for engaging a range of community stakeholders to make a real difference for children. 


3:25 p.m.

What Can You Do to Reduce Chronic Absence?

Table conversations


Attendees will break into stakeholder groups to develop action steps: What is the most important message to our sector? What are we already doing and what will we do next? How can we mobilize others?

4:00 p.m.
Next Steps and Final Thoughts