GJSD administrators invited to be presenters at a White House event on chronic absenteeism May 15

a man wearing a suit and tie stands in front of a painted wall

JHS Principal Scott Hale will present at the White House on Wednesday, May 15 on behalf of the Greater Johnstown School District at a summit on the topic of chronic absenteeism.

Four administrators from the Greater Johnstown School District (GJSD) have been invited to the nation’s capital next week to be presenters at a White House event being held May 15, 2024 on the topic of chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10% or more days out of the school year. 

The event – “White House Every Day Counts Summit: Addressing Chronic Absenteeism and Engaging Students” – will feature representatives from four school districts across the nation. Each district will present an in-depth look at how they have tackled chronic absenteeism, the strategies they have implemented to support students and families, and the successes they have seen in increasing student attendance and engagement. 

The event, which will run from 9:30 – 11 a.m., will be livestreamed on the White House YouTube channel. Viewers will have the opportunity to hear from senior Administration officials – including Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, and others – about the Administration’s efforts to increase student attendance and engagement and help students come to school every day.

Johnstown is the only school that was selected from New York state, and the only small-city school district on the panel, that is located in a rural community.

Johnstown High School Principal Scott Hale will present on behalf of the district, with Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Nicole Panton, and Knox Middle School Principal Robert Kramer also in attendance.

a man in a suit and tie sits in an office at a desk

Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw

a woman wearing a grey jacket poses for the camera

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Nicole Panton

a man poses in the hallway of a school

Knox Middle School Principal Robert Kraemer

After participating in the panel, Johnstown representatives will attend the “White House Summit Workshop & Lunch: Districts Engaging Students and Addressing Chronic Absenteeism,” hosted by the National Partnership for Student Success. GJSD leaders will have an opportunity to connect with school district leaders from around the country to share solutions and promising practices to better understand and address chronic absence challenges.

The Greater Johnstown School District has collaborated with Attendance Works since 2019, and each year, has strengthened its commitment to making sure PK-12 students are attending school as fully as possible. Attendance Works is a nonprofit organization that assists school districts with attendance awareness initiatives. Johnstown’s initiative to battle chronic absenteeism is currently in its fifth year and has generated very positive results.

According to Student Information Repository System (SIRS) data, Johnstown’s 2021-2022 chronic absenteeism rate averaged 35.33% for Johnstown Jr.-Sr. High School (grades 7-12 for 2021-22 school year) and 29.45% for students at Warren Street Elementary School (grades 4-6 in 2021-22). With the full implementation of tactics to combat absenteeism, those numbers improved in just a one-year span to 26.91% for JJSHS and down to 17.20% for Warren Street.

“The District has done a collaborative deep-dive into the topic of district-wide chronic absenteeism over the last five years,” Dr. Crankshaw said. “We have analyzed it from many different angles and narrowed in on the most common reasons our students were having difficulty getting to school. We’ve deployed initiatives and resources to help address the root of the issue and have seen tremendous success. I am extremely proud of the hard work that our administrative team has done to tackle this important issue and am thrilled to have their work be recognized on a national level,” he added.

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