The Attendance Challenge

In New York City about one in five students in New York City is chronically absent each year - meaning that over 200,000 students each year miss a month or more of school. 

By organizing school and community resources, meeting weekly to case manage student risk, and engaging mentors who can get to the root causes of absence, schools can see positive results in attendance trends.

Attendance Resources

Leveraging Leadership
The initiative supports principals in preventing chronic absenteeism. 

Click to access,
 Success Mentoring

The initiative promotes the work of Success Mentors as a key school-based strategy.

Click to access, "The Success Mentor Guide"
 Engaging Parents
The initiative engages parents as important partners in the attendance solution. 

Click to access, "Bringing Attendance Home"

Prepping for September Awareness Month
The start of each school year is the perfect time to start tackling the issue of chronic absenteeism in your school. This September, as we celebrate Attendance Awareness month, you have the opportunity to help your students build the essential skill of showing up on time every day. If they were to start off their year missing days of school, that would continue throughout the year leading to chronic absenteeism. The Attendance Works website provides free toolkits and tips for celebrating Attendance Awareness Month in September.

Webinar recording - "September Awareness Month"
(presentation is 30 minutes long)

Slide Presentation: Download the slides used during the September Attendance Awareness webinar presentation

Attendance Program Toolkit
The Attendance Program Toolkit on the Principal's Portal on the DOE intranet is full of organizational tips, checklists and links to additional resources. An invaluable resource when developing and refining your attendance plan. (Note: you must log-in with a DOE email address). For other attendance strategies, use this Attendance Toolkit available to the school leadership.

Here's What Works: Key Strategies from Every Student Every Day 

The Weekly Attendance Meeting: Helping Students Stay on Track

Weekly Attendance Meeting: Helping Students Stay on Track from Magic Box Studios on Vimeo.

The weekly attendance meeting is a vital part of proactive attendance strategies in schools. The weekly meeting has four key components:

1. Consistent Time and Place
2. Principal leadership
3. Use of Data
4. Draw on Community Resources

Sample Weekly Meeting Agenda: This tools is designed to help your Student Success Team understand desired outcomes and actions from the weekly meetings, and plan effective agendas to facilitate a successful meeting.

Starting Strong: Attendance Planning Worksheet: This tools is designed to help your school identify and prioritize strategic actoins that will improve your chronic absence rates.

By following a set agenda and using an inquiry process, school teams can discover the root causes of absences, and find the resources that can help students stay and succeed in school.

The Attendance Inquiry Protocol can help guide you in consistent attendance planning procedures.

Please use this CBO Confidentiality Agreement during these meetings.

Personalize Students' Experience - Success Mentor Corps

A Success mentor is any caring adult who works with chronically absent students to address the barriers that prevent them from coming to school. 

Mentors interact with their mentees during the school day at least three times each week. They are cheerleaders, advocates and motivators.

Access these helpful tools and resources for creating a highly Effective Success Mentoring Program:

How to Start and Sustain a Success Mentoring Program in Your School: Slides from a presentation on how to implement a robust success mentoring program.

NYC Success Mentor Corps Guide: This is the Office of Community Schools official guide for NYC Success Mentors.

Creating a Success Mentoring Program: A How - To Appendix: This resource provides success mentors with the what and how of being effective in the role.

Connecting Through Conversation: Short Activities for Mentors (Provided by the Center for Supportive Schools): Provides mentoring strategies to integrate through student to mentor conversations.

My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Success Mentor Initiative: Top Ten To-Dos: A list of 10 things that will help ensure your success mentoring program is a success.

Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absenteeism (from Attendance Works): This resource provides guidance on how to engage parents as important partners in the attendance solution.

Organize Resources
The Principal’s focus on attendance makes the biggest difference for a school in combating chronic absenteeism, by building a welcoming climate, a supportive culture, and a system for recognizing and rewarding good and improved attendance. 

Draw on Community Partners to Connect with Families
Draw on community partners to better connect with families. Schools host Parent Success Summits and use the support of local community-based organizations to get the message out and connect families to vital services that help students get back on track.
Parents and Communities are important partners in addressing and preventing chronic absence. Read "Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence"

Additional Resources
Starting Strong: Attendance Planning

The first step in addressing Chronic Absenteeism is to identify a target list of students and coordinate the appropriate interventions for each student.

Community Schools target interventions according to the following tiers:

Tier 1 - Attendance above 90%
Tier 2 - Attendance between 80% - 90%
Tier 3 - Attendance below 80%

Use the Community School Tiered Attendance Intervention Plan to ensure your school is targeting attendance interventions to the right students. Download these presentation slides for additional help in assigning tiered supports to address chronic absenteeism.

Helping Students Stay and Succeed in School
The U.S. Department of Education Every Student Every Day initiative was launched under the Obama Administration as a targeted strategy to address chronic absenteeism. 

On June 9, 2016 the Office of Community Schools presented at a national conference on the topic.