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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-49
June 24, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2020 Model School Attendance Review Board Winners

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 14 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.

The announcement of the model SARBs follows the statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARBs were recognized for successful
multi-tiered attendance strategies used during the school year, which have been adapted and implemented during distance learning.

“Students who were chronically absent before schools closed due to the global health crisis are particularly at-risk for poor participation in distance learning,” said Thurmond. “School communities are navigating through unprecedented challenges; however, it is imperative that all students—especially those who have attendance issues—stay connected to ensure that they don’t fall behind. The attendance systems these model districts have put in place are examples that other districts throughout the state can review and utilize now and when schools reopen.”

All the Model SARB districts developed a three-stage approach driven by data to engage students and families in school:

  1. With family and student input, the school and district create a welcoming environment for all students and families.
  2. Each school uses participation data to identify any student who is not engaged and works with the family to overcome barriers and develop resiliency.
  3. If the school team's efforts with the family are exhausted without success, the school refers the family to the SARB for more intensive community resources, such as mental health support.

For example, Tulare City School District used “coffee klatches” with parents and surveys to find what activities appealed to the school community. Absenteeism data was analyzed weekly to form collaborative teams with parents for any students who were missing too much school to develop student resiliency and overcome any barriers to attendance. If school resources were not enough, the school team referred the family to the SARB for more support by a diverse group of community and district experts.

Statewide chronic absenteeism data became available for the first time in 2017 and demonstrated chronic absenteeism patterns in schools, districts, and counties. In 2018, chronic absenteeism became a state indicator on the California School Dashboard and increased awareness of the high chronic absenteeism rates in the state, particularly among the following student subgroups: students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and homeless and foster youth.

Students are considered chronic absentees if they miss 10 percent or more of the school days they have been enrolled. Students and families are referred for SARB meetings when a school has tried and failed to prevent or resolve attendance or behavior problems.

State Superintendent Thurmond convenes the State SARB that brings together key agencies and community partners. The expert panel appointed by Thurmond reviewed the applications submitted by local and county SARBs throughout the state.

The Model SARB award recognizes excellence in specific content areas, including establishing goals and objectives, implementing prevention and intervention strategies, and developing collaboration with local agency resources.

The 14 Model SARB winners were recognized during the annual State SARB meeting held virtually this year.

Below is a list of the Model SARB districts and Model SARB chairpersons:

  1. Bakersfield City School District, Jesse Beed
  2. Beaumont Unified School District, Domenica Bernauer
  3. Campbell Union School District, Rosanna Palomo
  4. Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, Antonio Gipson
  5. Fresno Unified School District, Kristi Jackson
  6. Moreno Valley Unified School District, Amanda Deniston
  7. Nuview Union School District, Jennie Kosters-LaBriola
  8. Parlier Unified School District, Praxades Torres III
  9. Pleasanton Unified School District, Ashley Sprader
  10. Pomona Unified School District, Cesar Cassarubias
  11. Riverside Unified School District, Raul Ayala
  12. San Jacinto Unified School District, Karen Kirschinger
  13. Tulare City School District, Debbie Terry
  14. Tulare Joint Union High School District, Lupe Aguilera

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, June 16, 2023
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