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Agencies launch distance learning engagement PSA, offer tips for success as new school year begins

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools, in partnership with the Kern Education Pledge and the Truancy Reduction and Attendance Coalition of Kern (TRACK), launched a distance learning engagement campaign titled, “Present, Engaged and Supported!” featuring a PSA and tips for distance learning success.

For the past six years, TRACK has hosted an annual attendance awareness month every September to promote the value of good school attendance and its direct correlation with student achievement. Research shows that if students are not present and engaged, they are more likely to fall behind. This year, more than ever before, there is a great need to invest in the transition back to school for students, families and educators as Kern County schools begin the school year with an atypical distance learning model.

“We are really focused on emphasizing that strong, trusting relations between students, families, teachers, and other critical school staff will have a significant impact on the ability of students to focus and learn in this new environment,” said Sal Arias, KCSOS Prevention Program Coordinator and chairman of TRACK. “Establishing and maintaining regular communication with families and welcoming them as partners will help ensure that students are supported at home and in school.”

On the heels of the abrupt physical closure of schools in March due to COVID-19 and the resulting inconsistency among districts and schools across California, the state has set new requirements for distance learning for the 2020-21 school year. Schools must:

• Document daily attendance and participation and create a system to track;

• Set procedures for reengaging students who are absent or unengaged;

• Communicate with parents about learning progress;

• Ensure teachers interact daily to instruct, monitor progress and maintain connections;

• Provide academic supports for students who fall behind academically.

The “Present, Engaged and Supported!” campaign features valuable resources for parents, students and educators at TRACK’s website http://www.kernstayinschool.org.

About TRACK:

The Truancy Reduction and Attendance Coalition of Kern (TRACK) is a countywide, collaborative workgroup with the goal of improving school attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism in Kern County schools. The coalition meets quarterly and is composed of school administrators, supervisors of attendance, attendance clerks and school resource officers.

About the Kern Education Pledge:

Since 2017, Kern’s 47 school districts and partnering institutions of higher education have committed to working together as one system to ensure student success from cradle to career.