The GLR Campaign recognizes Marvell, Arkansas, as a 2016 Pacesetter for reporting population-level, measurable progress in school attendance and summer learning for children from low-income families.
A full-day six-week summer day camp attended by about half of the community’s children offers academic and enrichment programming, as well as breakfast, lunch and a snack. Among 2016 participants, 53 percent of third graders, 40 percent of second graders and 55 percent of first graders increased reading levels. The summer program is a partnership of the school district and the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center, which elected to combine its previously separate efforts to provide children with a richer experience. On attendance, analyzing data to see where to focus efforts and a team approach — involving teachers, the school nurse and the school social worker who reach out to parents and help resolve issues — have reduced chronic absence for kindergarten through third-grade students from 17% to 7%, with kindergarten rates dropping from 27% to 3%.
This success has created momentum for a statewide chronic absence effort led by the Arkansas Grade-Level Reading Campaign and the Arkansas Department of Education.