An Introduction: What is the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP)?

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Hania Marien

In February of 2014, the Chalkboard Project released a report of the Condition of Education for Oregon’s Tribal Students. The study revealed that nearly one-third (33%) of Native American students were chronically absent (missing 10% or more of school days), while less than one-fifth (19%) of other student groups are chronically absent. In response, the Government to Government Education Cluster (comprised of representatives from each of Oregon’s 9 federally recognized tribes) created a Policy Option Package (POP) to solicit state funding to reduce chronic absenteeism of Native American students.

The Oregon legislature allocated funding to operate pilot projects with the goal of reducing chronic absenteeism of native students in nine preselected Oregon schools. Participating districts hire a community advocate position with deep community connections in an effort to cultivate school-wide initiatives to increase attendance. This project is referred to as the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP). The funding is available January 2016 to June 2017.

The collaboration intends to strengthen the links between Oregon tribes and the schools that serve enrolled tribal members. However, the school-wide nature of this initiative has the potential to positively impact the attendance of every student attending those schools.

The Oregon Department of Education will also create a broad-based messaging campaign about the importance of school attendance, to provide technical support and training for the family advocate cohort, and monitor and report on the effectiveness of the pilot. Outcome products of the project include evaluation of promising practices and robust data sharing partnerships, and will provide an impetus for a tribal member performance improvement plan that highlights the effective collaboration of the tribes and rural school districts.