The SUNY commitment to strengthen the education pipeline has led to a new partnership that hopes to end chronic absenteeism. Through the Every Student Present campaign, launched this fall, SUNY is joining forces with a statewide collaborative to address chronic absenteeism in our State’s schools and help to improve student attendance.
The best teachers and the most supportive schools cannot do anything for a student that is not in class. When a student misses 10 percent of the school year, this is considered chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is related to lower test scores and higher dropout rates for students at all income levels and is one of the largest red flags when it comes to student achievement. According to Attendance Works, an initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success, approximately one in ten U.S. students miss ten percent or more school days each year.
As many as four in ten kindergarten and first grade students will miss about a month of school, which particularly jeopardizes early reading proficiency. Additionally, Attendance Works finds that chronically-absent sixth grade students graduate less frequently than their peers. Chronic absenteeism is particularly problematic among children living in poverty. Reasons for chronic absenteeism include illnesses like asthma, safety concerns and bullying, academic failure, transportation problems, and family issues.
Spearheaded by New York State Council on Children and Families and Attendance Works, several organizations across New York, including SUNY, have come together to raise awareness around absenteeism and to help school leaders, teachers, parents, and communities encourage and support school attendance. Other partners include the Children’s Aid Society’ Erie I Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES); NYS Afterschool Network; NYS Education Department; NYS Department of Health; and the United Way of New York City.
This fall, the collaborative launched a public awareness campaign, called Every Child Present, to raise awareness around the detrimental impact of chronic absences on student performance and to promote strategies to engage students in school and to prepare them for long-term academic success. The website (above) hosts an array of resources including videos, toolkits, data collection techniques, and more to support our children’s academic success and reduce chronic absenteeism.
School attendance is a critical and fundamental link to school improvement efforts and student success. The important work of classroom teachers to put in place curriculum reform strategies are dependent on students being physically in school. Every Child Present is designed to bring partners together across the cradle to career pipeline to raise awareness around this serious issue and encourage student engagement so that more students can succeed and graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce.