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Attendance and Academics: Making Critical Connections

Thursday, October 28, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Attendance and Academics: Making Critical Connections

Presented by Dr. Tommy Welch, School Superintendent, Office of the Superintendent, Boston Public Schools (MA); Jennifer Lawson, Chief Academic Officer, Cobb County School District (GA); Helen Chan Hill, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development, Pasadena Unified School District (CA); Eric Bethel, Instructional Superintendent, District of Columbia Public Schools; and Dr. Monica Lee, Senior Research Associate, Annenberg Institute at Brown University and EveryDay Labs

Sponsored by EveryDay Labs

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation. Get a CE Certificate for this edLeader Panel Learn more

Attendance begets discovery, exploration, learning, and achievement—it is the keystone of student growth and well-being. Prior to the pandemic, one out of six students missed nearly a month of learning. Now, data suggests students are missing more learning opportunities than ever. View this edLeader Panel of instructional leaders to learn how they are making critical connections between attendance and achievement in their districts and what strategies they’re implementing to improve both.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to preK-12 district leaders.


Tommy Welch

About the Presenters

Tommy Welch supports elementary schools in Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End, as well as two schools in the South End. His work focuses on connecting the leaders and resources within the network to provide a coherent instructional vision for all schools. Previously, he served in a similar role supporting high schools and alternative schools in BPS. Prior to coming to BPS in 2015, Tommy was the founding principal of a middle school and later a high school in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles. His classroom teaching experience focused on English learners and special education inclusion in the lower elementary grades, as well as ESL and English at the high school level. Tommy is a graduate of Occidental College and the University of California Los Angeles and is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston College. He lives in East Boston and is a parent of two BPS students.


Jennifer Lawson

Jennifer Lawson currently serves as the chief academic officer for the Cobb County School District where she previously served as the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. She leads Cobb County School District academics in 112 schools that serve approximately 107,000 students. Prior to joining the Teaching and Learning team, Jennifer has served as a principal in both the Cobb County Schools and Marietta City Schools. Her professional career and passion for working with children began as an elementary teacher almost 25 years ago.

Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Alabama, and her Master of Education and Specialist in Education from the University of Georgia. She is committed to serving students through innovative and engaging educational programs, where her continued goal is to ensure every child is provided with learning opportunities and experiences that lead to a self-determined, choice-filled life. Jennifer and her husband, David, live in West Cobb with their three teenage boys—John David, Matthew and Luke.


Helen Chan HillHelen Chan Hill serves as the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and professional development for the Pasadena Unified School District. She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her M.A.Ed. from Loyola Marymount University. This is her 21st year as an educator, coming to PUSD via Teach For America, and teaching at both Washington middle and elementary schools. She joined the central office as a district math coach with the PUSD Math Pipeline Project, before moving into administration. Helen additionally serves on the board of the Association of Pasadena School Administrators and is a firm believer in supporting students, teachers and administrators alike in lifelong learning. Her passion for education is influenced by her experience as an immigrant and English language learner herself, resulting in her becoming a vocal proponent of public education and its potential and responsibility to serve all students. With her husband a PUSD alumnus, and her son and daughter themselves current PUSD students, it is her joy to see them and their classmates thrive in a positive learning environment.


Eric BethelEric Bethel is the Instructional Superintendent for the District of Columbia Public Schools.


Dr. Monica Lee

Dr. Monica Lee is a senior research associate at the Annenberg Institute. Her research interests include nudge experiments in education, as well as examining non-cognitive factors such as absenteeism and social-emotional learning via a quantitative lens. Much of her role centers around management of the SFUSD-Annenberg Research Partnership, in addition to collaborating on research projects across the Institute.

Dr. Lee holds a Ph.D. in educational policy and an M.A. in economics from Stanford University, an Ed.M. in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University. Her background as a first-generation college student and immigrant informs her work and scholarly interests.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

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EveryDay LabsWe unite behavioral science, data science, and evidence-based family outreach to deliver personalized messages that are proven to prevent absences district-wide.

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Thursday, October 28, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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