Connecticut Gov. Launches Effort to Engage Families, Students At Home

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) launched the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) with $10.7 million in federal relief funds. This program is designed to support students who struggled with chronic absenteeism and disengagement from remote learning during the 2020-21 school year. Funding is being distributed across 15 priority districts to contract support personnel who will go directly into homes to engage with families and students. The goal is to help students return to school regularly and assist families with placement in summer camps and learning programs.

We are spotlighting this practice because research has documented that chronic absenteeism influences students’ long-term success in school. Since the pandemic disrupted students’ engagement and attendance patterns, this investment is an evidence-based approach to re-engage students for COVID-19 recovery.

Reviewer Analysis

TNTP

The plan to send support personnel directly to the very heart of the matter (the homes of the students) has the potential change the trajectory of the students and their families. - Dr. Tequilla Brownie

Leslie Villegas

English learners were disproportionately absent during remote learning and even as schools re-opened, parents of ELs were among those most weary of sending their kids back to school considering the higher infection rates that affected immigrant communities.

John White

This intervention makes a lot of sense and is badly needed. School systems should be encouraged to do more of this, even if there’s not an obvious path to replication or scale in this program.

New Leaders

This is a targeted and strategic use of funds that will help to rebuild relationships with students and families and directly address obstacles prohibiting students from being in school. It’s an opportunity to both re-engage and address unfinished learning.

Learning Heroes

This is a strong approach for three fundamental reasons: 1) it prioritizes students most impacted by the pandemic, 2) it focuses on an essential driver of academic success (attendance), and 3) approaches absenteeism through proven methods (individualized outreach and support to families). - Dr. Eyal Bergman

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