Mayor's Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement
Translate Email a Friend Printer Friendly Text Size: Sm Med Lg

Watch PSAs Created By Students

Recent News

Washington Post Highlights the Work of the Truancy Task Force
September 13, 2013

The Washington Post's Editorial Board interviewed Truancy Task Force Chairperson Leslie Cornfeld to write a piece about the importance of school attendance. The article highlights the work of the Task Force, calling New York City, "a model of what's possible."

Read the Article Here

Mayor Bloomberg Announces the City’s First Engagement Center
September 3, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg was joined by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at the Police Athletic League's Harlem Center to announce the City's first Engagement Center for at-risk students. The center, spearheaded by the Mayor's Truancy Task Force and run by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, in partnership with the Department of Education, Police Athletic League, and the NYPD, will provide programs designed to maximize school engagement and success, including with data-driven best practices developed from the task force's successful three-year pilot currently in 100 city public schools.

Read the press release for the event (in PDF)

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott Announces the Task Force’s Summer Reading Challenge

June 18, 2013

NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Leslie Cornfeld, Chairperson of the Task Force, and Greg Worrell, President of the Scholastic Classroom and Community Group, kicked off the Scholastic Summer Challenge at P.S. 15 Roberto Clemente in the East Village to encourage students to keep reading over the summer months.

Scholastic is donating 100 books to every Task Force elementary and middle school that signs up for the Scholastic Summer Challenge. In addition, Scholastic will also be donating 500 books to the pilot elementary and middle school that logs the most minutes in the challenge.

Read the press release for the event (in PDF)

AT&T, NYC Digital, and the Task Force Announce Winners of the Truancy Hackathon

October 15, 2012

Students, policy makers, and web developers from throughout the five boroughs came together this weekend to create apps to help prevent truancy. All of the apps provided innovative insight into this crucial issue, but there could be only three that would take home the top prizes. First place went to KnowTruant, an app that would help prevent truancy by allowing students to check-in to school, earn points towards prizes, and learn more about school services.

NYC 5x Winner - 100 Best Communities for Young People
America’s Promise Alliance Names New York City in its Ranking of the Top 100 Best Communities for Young People

October 18, 2012

New York, a five-time 100 Best winner, was again honored this year for its work to provide better opportunities to its young residents. America’s Promise Alliance highlighted the Task Force for its interagency approach to combating truancy and chronic absenteeism.

Task Force Starts Year Off Strong
September 6, 2012

Principals and school leadership from the Task Force’s 100 schools gathered on August 30th at Scholastic in SoHo for the annual Principals’ Retreat. Mayor Bloomberg was in attendance, congratulating veteran principals on the excellent work they have done so far to combat chronic absenteeism and offering words of encouragement for the year to come to all of the principals.

On September 5th, nearly 250 Success Mentors came together for Success Mentor Training, where they were able to hear from experts in the field and learn effective mentoring strategies based on the issues facing New York City’s school students. Success Mentors will begin their placements in the coming weeks in schools throughout the five boroughs.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Unanimously Passes Resolution Calling on Mayors to Launch Campaigns Combating Chronic Absence, Specifically Highlighting the Truancy Task Force’s Work
June 18, 2012

The U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution urging mayors to raise awareness of the effects of chronic absenteeism on student achievement. The conference cited Mayor Bloomberg’s creation of the Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism & School Engagement and its work as evidence of the importance of addressing chronic absenteeism and the impact it is having on NYC public school children. The resolution urges mayors to pursue strategies similar to the Task Force’s in order to address this problem in their own communities.

Read the full resolution

Mayor Bloomberg Launches Nation’s Largest Public Ad Campaign to Fight Chronic Absenteeism and Announces New Resources to Help Parents Improve Student Attendance
May 10, 2012

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

Visit the Truancy and Absenteeism Help Center
Read the press release


Chancellor Walcott Announces Task Force Partnership with New York Sports Club
April 2, 2012

Today, Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced a partnership with the New York Sports Club (NYSC) to support student fitness programs and engage students in school as part of the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism & School Engagement. The partnership will support the CHAMPS morning and after-school fitness programs in Task Force middle schools, including distributing “Skip Rope, Not School” jump ropes to students. NYSC is also donating gym equipment to the Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn to improve student fitness and encourage students to attend school every day. Additionally, NYSC will offer a reduced Lifetime Membership rate for Task Force Success Mentors and all Department of Education (DOE) employees. 

Click here to read more about the partnership and the Task Force’s other health initiatives 

Task Force Holds Winter Training Retreat for Success Mentors 
January 13, 2012

Today, Success Mentors from across the City came together to share best practices and ongoing challenges – and to develop new strategies for making even greater gains with their mentees in the months ahead. The mentors attended workshops that offered strategies for dealing with a variety of issues, such as mentoring youth in gangs, working with LGBTQ youth, and engaging families. They also had the opportunity to hear from national mentoring leaders, veteran mentors, and high school students currently serving as peer mentors for freshman – giving them new and creative ways to improve their mentees’ attendance.  

Click here to learn more about the NYC Success Mentor Corps.

Task Force and DOE Host Principals’ Gracie Mansion Winter Retreat and DOE’s Children’s First Network Leadership Session
January 9, 2012 

Over 100 principals and school leaders from the Task Force pilot schools gathered with the Task Force, the Department of Education, and the Children’s Aid Society to review their efforts to increase school attendance and reduce truancy. Through breakout sessions, a principals’ panel, and a Q & A with the Task Force’s advisor Dr. Robert Balfanz from Johns Hopkins University, principals shared strategies they have used to increase attendance at their schools, learned new best practices, and developed plans for addressing this issue going forward. 

Click here to view photos of the retreat

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Results from the First Year of the NYC Success Mentor Corps: More than 7,000 Additional Days of Attendance for Students Who Received Mentors
November 9, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg, Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today that the first year of the Success Mentor program saw chronically absent students who received mentors attend a total of more than 7,000 additional days of school this year.  Students in the mentorship program were also more likely to see improvements in attendance when compared to chronically absent students who were not in the program. This school year, the Mayor announced that the program will double the number of chronically absent students receiving in-school Success Mentors to more than 4,000 and double the number of elementary, middle and high schools that are part of the initiative. In addition, the Mayor announced the launch of first-ever Transition Coaches – new specialized mentors to work with students returning to school from suspensions, placements at juvenile facilities, foster care, or temporary housing, who are especially vulnerable to chronic absenteeism. 

Click here (in PDF) to learn more about the results of the Success Mentor program and the expansion of the Every Student, Every Day campaign.

Mayor Bloomberg Opens Task Force Summit at Gracie Mansion for Principals and Community Partner Liaisons Participating in Task Force Efforts
July 20, 2011

Today, principals and Community Partnership Program (CPP) liaisons joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt, Task Force Chair Leslie Cornfeld, and other members of the Task Force for two summits at Gracie Mansion.  The events celebrated the successful work done during the previous school year and gave principals and CPP liaisons the opportunity to discuss successes and ways to strengthen the initiative in the new school year.  The Principals’ Summit also gave the 25 principals who are new to the pilot program the opportunity to learn more about the initiative and the best practices employed by principals in the first year.

See photos from the event

Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Partnership with New York Yankees to Reduce Truancy and Improve Student Attendance

Tonight, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Yankees launched a new partnership to combat truancy and chronic absenteeism in City schools.  To kick off the partnership, the Yankees hosted their first annual Attendance All-Star Ceremony on the field at Yankee Stadium honoring 100 students with the best and most improved attendance from the 25 pilot schools that are part of the Mayor's Task Force program.  The ceremony - which also featured Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, the Mayor's Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt, and members of the Yankees - was a great opportunity to celebrate the outstanding students who have turned their attendance around through the Every Student, Every Day campaign at their schools this year.  The Yankees broadcast the Mayor's "Call to Action" urging all New Yorkers to spread the word about school every day, and will broadcast it at all Yankee home games this season. The ceremony also highlighted the three schools in the Mayor's pilot program that won cash prizes from Old Navy's yearlong attendance challenge.

Read more about the pre-game ceremony (in PDF)
See photos from the event

Task Force Announces NYC Asthma Friendly Schools Campaign
 June 9, 2011

Today, Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the Mayor's Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt launched the NYC Asthma Friendly Schools Campaign to reduce asthma-related absenteeism in city schools. This interagency effort includes the creation of an Asthma Ambassador Corps; enhanced 311 assistance on school and community health resources; Parent Summits at selected schools and family shelters; the expansion of the American Lung Association's Open Airways for Schools program; and trainings for physical education teachers and other school staff. This fall, the New York Sports Club will also play an integral part in the campaign by supporting morning fitness classes at selected schools and organizing weekend fitness summits to promote health and wellness citywide.

Read the press release for the launch of the NYC Asthma-Friendly Schools Campaign

Mayor Bloomberg Launches WakeUp! NYC
February 10, 2011

Today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of WakeUp! NYC, a new multimedia campaign to keep students motivated to attend school. Through WakeUp! NYC, celebrities like Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Trey Songz, Jesse McCartney, and BET’s Terrence and Rosci will record inspirational automated wake-up calls and public service announcements to raise awareness about the importance of attendance -- and get students out of bed and into school. In addition, campaign partners including Viacom and their BET Networks division, 98.7 KISS FM, Hot 97 FM and 101.9 RXP FM will highlight the importance of school attendance every day on the air.

Read the press release for the launch of WakeUp! NYC
(in PDF)
See photos from the WakeUp! NYC launch event
Listen to Trey Songz's WakeUp! NYC clip 
Listen to Magic Johnson's WakeUp! NYC clip

Gracie Mansion Retreat on Truancy and Absenteeism for Task Force Leadership
February 7, 2010

The Principals’ Winter Retreat at Gracie Mansion brought principals and key school leaders together with their Community Partnership Program liaisons to explore outcomes to date, and identify practices and actions to further strengthen student attendance and school engagement. The event bolstered the connections between schools and community-based organizations. It also gave all attendees the opportunity to share their experiences and strategize about how to make an even greater impact on students and improve attendance going forward. Task Force advisor, Dr. Robert Balfanz, of Johns Hopkins University, was the keynote speaker.

View Photos from the Principals' Winter Retreat

Task Force and DOE Hold Winter Retreat for NYC Success Mentor Corps 
December 3, 2010

Success Mentors from across the City joined the Task Force, the Department of Education, and the Children's Aid Society for a Winter Retreat. The event gave mentors the chance to connect with each other, discuss their progress and challenges, and learn new best practices to make their spring semesters even more successful. They also had the chance to hear from students whose Success Mentor helped to turn their lives around - reaffirming just how vital their work is.

Learn More about the New York City Success Mentor Corps

New Public-Private Incentive Programs: 300 Students with the Best and Most Improved Attendance Win Shopping Spree at Old Navy
November 4, 2010

Today, 300 students from three pilot schools earned a shopping spree and free winter coat at the Old Navy flagship store for having the best or most improved attendance at their schools. In addition to getting the chance to shop with a personal shopper from the Old Navy staff, the students also heard from Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, schools Chancellor Joel Klein, the Mayor's Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt, and the New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. The students also took an Attendance Pledge - promising to continue trying their best to work hard in school every day

See photos from the Old Navy Attendance Challenge
Read the press release from the event

Mayor Bloomberg Announces First Set of Initiatives for New School Year
August 19, 2010

Today, Mayor Bloomberg joined City leaders and community partners to announce the launch of the “Every Student, Every Day” campaign in 25 pilot elementary, middle, and high schools. The Mayor also announced the first set of initiatives aimed at helping students start the year off strong, including a letter from schools Chancellor Joel Klein to 5,200 young people who were chronically absent the year before; the development of a new Student Success Data Dashboard to help schools target and reduce truancy; the creation of the New York City Success Mentor Corps, an innovative mentoring program to give more than 1,500 high-risk students the support and guidance they need to come to school on time every day; and the donation of free backpacks by the Office Depot Foundation for elementary school students who attend the first day of school.

Read the Press Release about the Task Force's First Set of Initiatives (in PDF)
Learn More about the Task Force’s Initiatives

Wakeup NYC
Wakeup NYC
The Challenge

Learn what the Task Force is doing to tackle this problem.