Earlier this week the Department of Education announced that they would be partnering with the departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice in launching Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism. The initiative aims to bring diverse groups of key stakeholders in communities across the country together to tackle the underlying causes of chronic absenteeism at the local levels.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days for any reason, excused or unexcused. Chronic absenteeism is a leading cause of low academic achievement, and a predictor that a student may drop out of school later in their academic career. According to the Department of Education, an estimated seven and a half million students miss 18 or more days of school a year; missing out on important lessons, due dates, and other required classroom matters.
Mentoring programs, such as Be A Mentor, help to prevent chronic absenteeism by changing the attitude of students regarding school, and making the presence of a mentor an additional positive aspect of their learning environment. Students in Be A Mentor programs have reported the belief that there is a caring adult in their lives and have shown increased school attendance. Kadija Holmes in the video below attests to the same with her own mentor. "He's the only person that actually cared about me when it comes to school, the only person that actually made me care more, the only person that made me come to school more than I was, and the only person who made me think about the positive rather than the negative,” she said.
Mentors have the power to encourage youth to get on, or stay on, the right path and to believe in their own success. When we say that mentors change lives we mean it, so we are proud of these government agencies stepping up to combat chronic absenteeism and support mentors.
For more information, and to download the Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism, please visit the Department of Educationwebsite.