Congratulations on recognizing the need for action to keep all students in school, and on track for achievement, graduation, life success and safety.
Five to 7.5 million students missed a month or more of school in our nation last year. In New York City, over 200,000 public school students missed a month or more of school - that's 1 in 5 students. These numbers are highest in our low income communities where school offers students the best pathway out of poverty.
Research shows that chronic absenteeism widens the achievement, graduation and post-secondary enrollment gaps - and contributes to juvenile crime, teen pregnancy and many other issues. It is simply a problem that we cannot afford to disregard.
The good news is that chronic absenteeism can be reduced through targeted strategies that Measure, Monitor, and Act -- as models in New York City and elsewhere demonstrate.
This Toolkit is a compilation of the tools and models that have helped New York City begin to address the challenge of chronic absenteeism. We have shared many of these strategies with other cities over the past two years, and have benefited greatly from the work of other cities and programs in developing them. This is a work in progress. The information contained herein will no doubt be further strengthened and tweaked as pilot programs evolve both here and in other cities throughout the country.