Attendance Achievement Program
The Attendance Achievement Program is a truancy prevention program that provides students and their families with services and other resources in a supportive, community setting in order to keep chronically absent students out of family court. The Attendance Achievement Program provides schools with a new tool to address chronic lateness and unexcused absences before they rise to the level where school officials must file a formal report alleging educational neglect. The program aims to support students and their families in improving school attendance and to ease burdens on the juvenile justice system, family courts and child welfare authorities. Click here to read a New York Times feature story on the attendance achievement program in Harlem.
How It Works
Participation in the Attendance Achievement Program is voluntary; families may elect to participate or discontinue participation at any time. The program is designed to serve students who are chronically late or absent (many are attending school less than 80 percent of the time).
A detailed assessment is conducted with every participating family, which is used to develop an individualized service plan. Plans typically include referrals to counseling, tutoring, mentoring, parenting skills classes, and after-school programs. Staff work closely with participating families to follow through with referrals and monitor changes in attendance and school performance. To enhance service delivery, a judicial hearing officer (typically a retired judge), conducts regular hearings to review achievements and setbacks and to adapt service plans as necessary. Prior to each hearing, the program team, including the hearing officer and school administrators, reviews each student’s progress in meeting goals and objectives.
Program graduations build a sense of community among program participants, acknowledge the important work of family members, and encourage further progress.
The Attendance Achievement Program has been implemented in two Harlem middle schools. During the 2010-11 school year, participants in the program improved their attendance by an average of 14 percent.