5 Recommendations To Reduce Truancy and Improve Attendance from Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan along with Kamala D. Harris, the attorney general of California, penned an Op-Ed appearing in the LA Times with their thoughts on solving problems of truancy. While the focus was on California, the advice resonates anywhere students are missing school.

“It’s clear that intervention helps,” the op-ed says. “As needed, schools should connect families with social services, public health and community resources to address underlying problems. Parents must be held accountable, and law enforcement should support interventions that educate and bolster struggling students and parents.”

The Op-Ed coincides with the release of an in-depth report on Truancy in California, which is available at http://oag.ca.gov/truancy, but the key findings include five recommendations for schools and districts:

1) Accurately track individual attendance in order to make informed intervention decisions
2) Intervene quickly – even after the very first unexcused absence
3) Collaborate with local service organizations including public agencies and faith-based communities
4) Design and implement a communication strategy to educate families on the importance of school attendance, including the legal consequences
5) Reassess any policies that may be counterintuitive, such as suspending a student for non-attendance or expelling a student from school when an alternative learning environment would be more beneficial

“The Key recommendations in the California study mirror the services that Aim provides districts everyday,” said Aim’s founder Paul Pottinger, Ph.D Clinical Psychlogy. “Early identification of at-risk and truant teens, increasing accuracy in school attendance reporting, educating parents and students about attendance, and working with local organizations to help families resolve whatever issue may be keeping their student from attending school are all under the umbrella of our current offerings.”

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