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August 6, 2020

This message was shared for the 2020-21 school year.

Dear Colleagues,

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is pleased to announce the release of the next resource in The Roadmap for Education Leaders: Creating Equitable School Systems. Regular school attendance is a critical leading indicator of educational equity. There is a positive, statistically significant relationship between regular attendance and various educational and life outcomes into adulthood. As school entities plan for the 2020-21 school year (SY), it is important that evidence-based policies and systems are in place to (1) collect and report daily student attendance, regardless of the instructional setting or delivery method and (2) strategically target investments that address the digital divide, lack of supports (health, economic, nutrition, housing, etc.), and other inequities for students who are chronically absent.

Based on guidance from national experts on attendance, PDE created a document focused on measuring, reporting, and improving regular attendance in SY 2020-21.

This document does not, and is not intended to, prescribe a specific course of action. Instead, it provides school entities with suggestions on how to enhance local attendance policies and systems to ensure consistent measurement, analysis, and support of daily student attendance when students are learning remotely.

The attendance information is available on PDE’s website.

In the coming week, the final tools outlined in the roadmap will be released. Upcoming resources will focus on strategic deployment of staff, resources for prioritizing grade and content knowledge and standards, and tools for diagnostic assessment. We recognize that these tools come as school entities are in very different stages of planning for school reopening, and that these reopening plans likely include a range of approaches. As always, we welcome your feedback to ensure that the technical assistance we commission is accessible, relevant, and responsive.


Matt Stem
Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education