Did you know a student at KIPP SoCal with 17 absences or more per school year is considered chronically absent? Research shows that too many school absences can significantly impact a student's academic progress. In California, 30% of K-12 students were chronically absent in 2020-21, more than three times the pre-pandemic rate.
At KIPP Vida Preparatory Academy in South Los Angeles, Registrar Lizeth Guevara has grown a deep passion for building good attendance habits that set students up for success. Last year, Lizeth’s interest in attendance peaked during her Aspiring Ops Leadership Cohort, where she was asked to create a project plan to improve a school-wide system.
She enthusiastically chose to focus her project on implementing attendance initiatives because she constantly saw the data and the direct connection it had to a student’s academic performance. Having attended public schools in South LA, she understood the daily challenges families face—such as gang violence, community safety, and financial hardships—which can also have an impact on student attendance.
Looking back, Lizeth has immense pride in the education she received and recognizes the pivotal role her parents, educators, and school team played in instilling a deep love for learning. Because of their interest and investment in her future, she was always motivated to attend school and make them proud.
When it came time to present her project on attendance initiatives, Lizeth shared her personal experience attending schools in South LA to highlight every team member's crucial role in creating spaces that make students want to attend school daily.
Since then, Lizeth and the KIPP Vida team have gone above and beyond to ensure our KIPPsters attend school regularly and have launched the following attendance initiatives:
- Attendance Champion Pins — Each student whose attendance rate is 95% or above for the month receives an attendance champion pin. Fun fact: KIPP Vida art teacher Nicole Ralph-Forton is responsible for designing the monthly pins and started this initiative in 2019.
- Attendance Calendars + Random Prize Drawing — Every day a student is at school, they will mark an “X” on their individual attendance calendar and turn it in at the end of the month to their teachers to be considered for a random prize drawing, such as a Razor Scooter. All students are eligible for the drawing as long as they turn in the calendar and are truthful about their attendance. Fun fact: This idea was shared by KIPP Corazon Lower School.
- Rainy Day = Pajama Day — On rainy days, KIPP Vida allows students to wear their pajamas to help families prepare them for school regardless of the weather conditions. Fun fact: This idea was shared by KIPP Comienza Lower School.
- KVP Attendance Days — The "How many school days are there per month?" flyer was created for students and families to reference and see how many days there are in a particular month. The flyer is shared with families on ParentSquare and is posted in each classroom and other common areas so the students can have that constant visual. Fun fact: This idea was shared by KIPP Corazon Upper School.
- 17 Days = Chronic Absenteeism Flyer — Lizeth created an information sheet for families to know what chronic absenteeism means and how many days the students can be absent. The information sheet also includes her contact information so families can know who to contact regarding their student’s attendance.
- Family Resources — Last year, the team sent Attendance Works infographic handouts to help students and families build the habit of good attendance. The team also conducted Zoom calls and distributed surveys to learn more about the common barriers as they relate to a student's absences.
Through these initiatives, Lizeth hopes that the unwavering love and care the KIPP Vida team pours into our KIPPsters will continue to excite and motivate them to come to school each and every day. Because of their collective efforts, KIPP Vida has seen a significant improvement in attendance and looks forward to continuing these efforts alongside their students and families.