United Way of the Plains

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United Way Education Summit

On Sept. 23, 2015, United Way of the Plains held a free all-day Education Summit to provide information about the importance of school attendance, how absenteeism affects academic success and the barriers to school attendance. The summit featured Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works and was attended by 243 local educators, social workers and concerned citizens.

Agenda: United Way Education Summit Agenda

The Education Summit is part of the "Be there!" initiative, powered by United Way of the Plains. Learn more at attendtoday.org.

PowerPoint Presentations & Handouts

  • Keynote: "Ensuring an On Ramp to School Success: Working Together to Reduce Chronic Absence" - Hedy Chang, Director, Attendance Works (San Francisco, CA)
  • "Addressing Absenteeism in Our Community: What will it take?" - Hedy Chang, Director, Attendance Works; Cecelia Leong, Associate Director, Attendance Works (San Francisco, CA)
  • "Leveraging Out of School Time to Encourage School Attendance" - Kathryn Vargas, Manager of Programs for Children and Youth, United Way of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Check & Connect Mentor Training - Sharon Mule' and Eileen Klemm, Project Coordinators for Check & Connect, Institute on Community Engagement, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Lunch Plenary:
    • "Student Absenteeism in Head Start Early Childhood Services" - Glenda Wilcox, Early Childhood Program Director, Child Start, Inc. (Wichita, KS)
      Handout: Attendance-Works-Infographic
    • "Consequences of Absences/Tardiness in Elementary School" - Julie Bettis, Principal, Harry Street Elementary School, Wichita Public Schools (Wichita, KS)
    • "Check & Connect: Applying an Evidence Based Intervention to Increase Attendance" - Nancy Hinten, Executive Director, Communities In Schools (Wichita, KS)
  • "Parent Engagement as a Strategy to Increase School Attendance" - Hedy Chang, Director, Attendance Works (San Francisco, CA)
  • "Poverty and Education: The Opportunity Gap" - Cornelia Stevens, Executive Director, The Opportunity Project (Wichita, KS)
  • "Data Driven: Creating and Utilizing Data to Drive Decision Making"
    • Presentation - Janice Smith, Executive Director, Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund (Topeka, KS)
    • Presentation - Dr. Lisa Lutz, Executive Director, Innovation & Evaluation, Wichita Public Schools (Wichita, KS)
    • Shannon Benoit, Executive Director, Elementary Schools, Wichita Public Schools (Wichita, KS)
  • "2-1-1 Kansas: Improving Attendance Through Connection to Community Services" - Heather Pierce, 2-1-1 Call Center Coordinator, United Way of the Plains (Wichita, KS)
  • "The Wichita Westside Promise Neighborhoods Coalition: Join the Conversation"

Keynote speaker: Hedy Nai-Lin Chang, Director, Attendance Works

Hedy ChangHedy Nai-Lin Chang directs Attendance Works, a national and state level initiative aimed at advancing student success by addressing chronic absence. A skilled presenter, facilitator, researcher and writer, she co-authored the seminal report, “Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades,” as well as numerous other articles about student attendance. Deeply committed to promoting two-generation solutions to achieving a more just and equitable society, Hedy has spent more than two decades working in the fields of family support, family economic success, education and child development. She served as a senior program officer at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and as co-director of California Tomorrow, a nonprofit committed to drawing strength from cultural, linguistic and racial diversity. In February 2013, Hedy was named by the White House as a Champion of Change for her commitment to furthering African American Education. Hedy is also the mother of two school-aged sons who attend public school in San Francisco.