Following the launch of the Bridges to Success program in 2018, all school districts had access to the services provided throughout the five Bridges regions. From 2019 through 2021, 17 out of 32 school districts (54%) access the Bridges to Success (Triage MHSA) referral system for a total of 771 referrals. Fifteen of the 17 Bridges districts (88%) completed the CHKS Core Module for the 2020-2021 administration.
Additional analyses will be conducted once the 2019-2021 CHKS file and CA School Dashboard become available.
The graphic below displays the trend in median chronic absenteeism and suspension rates from 2016-17 through 2020-2021. For the school districts that engaged with the Bridges to Success program (e.g., used the referral service, access to hired staff in education and public health), there is a steady decline in Chronic Absenteeism from 14.5% in 2016-17 to 9.5% in 2020-2021. This same pattern of decline is not evident in the cohort of school districts that did not engage with the Bridges to Success program. The upward trend from 2016-17 to 2017-18 and a significant increase to 28.8% in 2018-19, shows a troubling pattern, even before COVID-19.
Both cohorts displayed an increase in suspension rates over time with the Bridges cohort reporting .5% to 2.5%. The non-Bridges group reported 0% that then significantly increased to 10.1% in 2018-19.
Note: 2019-2020 data is not included due to modified data collection methods and restricted data reporting as specified in Assembly Bill 130 (Committee on Budget) Chapter 44 of Statutes of 2021. Additional analyses will be conducted as additional data in education and public health become available.
Although the focus of Bridges to Success program was on prevention, and in particular, for earlier grades and elementary students, the positive effects of engaging in the program are evident with secondary student outcomes, graduation rates and A-G completion rates. The bridges cohort reported a steady increase for both traditional and alternative (DASS) schools, compared to a decline in the non-Bridges cohort for both types of schools. A similar trend was observed in the A-G rates with increases prior to the pandemic that were not as consistent with the non-Bridges cohort.