Latest Data Indicate Strong Response to Anti-Truancy Measures in Pilot Schools: Students with Mentors Gained 11,820 More Days of School This Year
City Resources – Including New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Library Systems – to Help Parents Keep Students on Track
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched a new public ad campaign to fight chronic absenteeism and truancy, kicking off the largest effort in the nation to inform parents that students who routinely miss school are more likely to drop out. The campaign – created with the support of AT&T and the Ad Council – target parents and guardians to reinforce the startling consequences of repeated absences from school: students who miss 20 days or more in a single year have a dramatically reduced chance of graduation. The Mayor also unveiled new resources to connect parents with the support needed to address their child’s needs. The strategies are the latest initiatives of the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism & School Engagement, and new data released today by Mayor Bloomberg show their positive impact as chronically absent students gained 11,820 more days of school in the last year alone. The Mayor made the announcement at P.S. 91 Richard Arkwright School in Queens, a participant in the “Every Student, Every Day” anti-truancy program, and was joined by Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Task Force Chair Leslie A. Cornfeld, John Hopkins University Research Scientist and Task Force advisor Dr. Robert Balfanz, Principal Victoria Catalano, and program participants.
“After working with schools and in communities, our Truancy Task Force has learned that many parents and guardians either don’t recognize the serious consequences of chronic absenteeism, or don’t know what to do about it,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “That’s why we are launching an ambitious, City-wide campaign to inform parents and connect them with the help they and their children need. Our latest data confirm that we’re taking steps in the right direction to curb absenteeism, and these new initiatives will keep us on track.”
“We are launching this public awareness campaign because the cost of chronic absenteeism is too great to remain silent,” said Chief Policy Advisor Feinblatt, who oversees the Task Force. “National research tells us that three out of four 6th graders, who are chronically absent, will not graduate. And when kids are on the streets, public safety is a concern. Of juveniles arrested in New York City, 79 percent had been chronically absent prior to their arrest. This campaign will help amplify the message that getting our kids to school every day is critical to their success in school, and in life.”
“There has been remarkable success in our schools over the past eight years in improving not only attendance rates, but also the educational outcomes for our students,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Despite that, far too many students are missing school. In New York City, one out of every five students missed a month or more of school last year – that’s over 200,000. And those rates are highest in our high need communities where school offers students the best chance for a brighter future.”
The multimillion dollar campaign will run citywide starting this spring, when chronic absenteeism rates are known to spike, and will appear again this fall – adorning the front of 5 million MetroCards – when the school year begins and attendance is critical. The ads were created pro bono by advertising agency Publicis New York, with the support of AT&T and the Ad Council, and ask: “It’s 9:00 AM do you know where your kids are?” The campaign engages parents and guardians in the critical work of getting every child to school every day.
The ads encourage New Yorkers to call 311 or text “SCHOOL” to 30364 for more information and users will be prompted to log onto http://www.schooleverydaynyc.org/, a new web resource that includes a Truancy & Absenteeism Help Center. The one-stop shop for information helps parents identify the underlying reasons for chronic absences, including illnesses like asthma, tutoring needs or substance abuse – and provides a targeted list of local resources to assist students and families. The Help Center links to the Department of Education ARIS Parent Link, an online portal where parents can review attendance and performance records and better assess their child’s needs.
New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Library Systems Join Campaign
Mayor Bloomberg also announced that the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries have joined the campaign to reduce chronic absenteeism and improve educational outcomes for the students in their communities.
The partnership will kick off on Saturday, May 19, with School Every Day – which will feature Department of Education employees who will aid parents in logging onto http://www.schooleverydaynyc.org/, to learn how many days of school their child has missed and determine what help may be needed. The School Every Day events will take place at the following libraries from 12:00PM to 4:00PM:
Seward Park Library
192 East Broadway at Jefferson Street
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road at Briggs Avenue
10 Grand Army Plaza
Queens Library at Flushing
41-17 Main Street