During the 2015-2016 school year, more than 50,000 students (or 9.6% of children) in Connecticut’s public schools met the criteria for being chronically absent (i.e., absent for 10% or more of school days). These numbers represent baseline levels in the state from a time before the COVID-19 global pandemic fundamentally disrupted the practice of schooling, pushing schools and students into emergency remote learning. The Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) was launched in April of 2021 to address student absenteeism and disengagement from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the summer of 2021, home visits were conducted with students identified as chronically absent from a targeted sample of 15 districts throughout Connecticut.
In spring 2022, the Connecticut COVID-19 Education Research Collaborative (CCERC) selected a team of researchers from Wesleyan University, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of Connecticut to conduct a mixed-methods study on the LEAP home visit intervention. Post-intervention school attendance rates, after controlling for relevant background variables (e.g., gender, ethnicity), served as the primary quantitative outcome measure. To provide greater context for interpreting the quantitative results, focus groups and interviews were also conducted with over 100 participants. The goal of this mixed-method evaluation was to provide a holistic evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the LEAP home visit intervention.
- Dr. Steven Stemler, Wesleyan University (PI)
- Dr. Eric Brunner, University of Connecticut
- Dr. Jacob Werblow, Central Connecticut State University