Superintendent’s Memo #041-16

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

February 26, 2016

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction


Attachment:The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Office of Student Services, is sponsoring a two-day spring institute:  EVERY STUDENT, EVERY DAY: Strategies to Address Attendance and Truancy, April 12-13, 2016, at the Doubletree by Hilton, Williamsburg, Virginia.  This institute offers an opportunity for school divisions to bring a multidisciplinary team of school professionals and community partners together to improve school attendance.

This Attendance and Truancy Institute will focus on an approach that aligns with multi-tiered systems of supports framework.  The VDOE will be introducing a Web–based, twelve-session modular training that introduces systematic and comprehensive structures and strategies for improving attendance.  The keynote speakers and breakout sessions will focus on the following topics: Understanding Chronic Absenteeism, Messaging Attendance, Using Data to Drive Action, Establishing School Attendance Teams, Frameworks for Reducing Chronic Absence, Creating Opportunities for Peer Learning, Integrating Attendance into Parent Engagement, Leveraging Parent-Teacher Conferences, Providing Personalized Early Outreach, Recognizing Good and Improved Attendance, Identifying Barriers, and Engaging Community Partners.  The Web-based attendance sessions were developed with the support of Attendance Works, a nationally recognized organization and consultant to the United States Department of Education.
Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works will be the Day 1 keynote speaker, followed by breakout sessions.  On Day 2, Dr. Joyce Epstein, director for the Center for Student, Family and Community Partnerships will be the keynote speaker highlighting community partners and resources.

The target audience for this institute is school professionals, such as school administrators, school counselors, attendance officers/coordinators, truancy specialists, school social workers, as well as, community partners, such as court services workers and Department of Social Services workers who are responsible for school attendance and truancy.  There is no charge for the institute but individuals are responsible for travel and lodging.

Additional information, including an online registration link, can be found at the following link:
Registration URL:

The registration deadline is April 1, 2016.  If you have questions or comments, please contact Vivian Stith-Williams, school social work specialist at; (804)225-4543 or Joseph Wharff, school counseling specialist at or (804) 225-3370.