Governor Lamont and Commissioner Russell-Tucker Announce the LEAP Effect: A Systemic Approach To Boosting Student Attendance and Engagement
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker today announced the release of a comprehensive report detailing the successful outcomes and insights in boosting student attendance and engagement that have been gained from the recent implementation of the state’s Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP).
The report, entitled The LEAP Effect: Taking A Systemic Approach to Improving Attendance & Engagement, outlines the success of LEAP as a highly effective student intervention program. Through home visits and check-ins, LEAP focuses on establishing trust with families, removing attendance barriers, and reengaging students in school. Community partners and school staff work together to visit families to find school and community-based solutions to barriers contributing to chronic absenteeism.
“Closing the achievement gap in K-12 education has been a priority for our state, and one of the largest challenges in making these kinds of improvements centers on student attendance and engagement,” Governor Lamont said. “The steps we’ve taken in implementing LEAP over the last couple of years are proving to be successful in ensuring that our children and their families are connected with their teachers and their schools. The LEAP model revolves around strengthening partnerships among everyone in the entire community, and the outcomes we are seeing today are the result of the dedicated work of all these partners who are operating together with the unified goal of improving student success. I thank all the community partners who are working with the state on this program.”
“LEAP is a testament to our collaborative efforts with local school districts and the dedication of our home visitors,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “The LEAP Effect validates the program’s significance and the critical role it plays in nurturing strong connections between schools, families, and their communities.”
The LEAP Effect is being published to help states, districts, and other organizations implement the evidence-based Connecticut LEAP home visiting model. A key finding of the report is that LEAP succeeds when it is part of a comprehensive system of attendance support.
“In a time of continual uncertainty and unprecedented challenges and loss, outreach from a trusted adult connected to the school and acting as an ally for one’s child and family is an invaluable strategy for encouraging students and families to show up at school,” Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, a national organization aimed at addressing chronic student absence, said. “Layering LEAP onto a preexisting, comprehensive approach to improving attendance is part of what makes this home visiting model work.”
Governor Lamont and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) launched LEAP in early 2021 in response to the urgent need to reengage students and families in schools late in the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was designed in collaboration with Connecticut’s Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) Alliance. CSDE partnered with the nationally renowned Attendance Works, as well as the national Parent Teacher Home Visiting initiative. Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) and EdAdvance supported the development and implementation of LEAP, with CREC housing the professional development home, CT Home Visit Hub.
“Everyone at EdAdvance is proud to have been part of the dedicated team that helped create and implement the LEAP program,” Jonathan Costa, assistant executive director of EdAdvance, said. “Whenever you can contribute to an effort that has direct positive impacts on families and children, it is an opportunity to be both celebrated and duplicated.”
“CREC is thrilled to join CSDE and our partners in the RESC Alliance in celebrating the release of The LEAP Effect,” Greg J. Florio, Ed.D., executive director of CREC, said. “The research shows that LEAP has significant positive effects on student attendance, and LEAP families report numerous benefits to school belonging and engagement. CREC proudly supports LEAP by training home visitors across Connecticut and throughout the country.”
The LEAP Effect describes the core components of the LEAP home visiting model, Connecticut’s support structure for the program, and its funding approach. A robust evaluation of the LEAP program demonstrates that, when implemented faithfully as designed, the LEAP model has a positive impact on both students and families in improving school attendance and relationships and connections between schools and families.
For more information on LEAP, visit www.ct.gov/LEAP.