Mayor's Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement
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Operation Start Strong

Research shows that strong attendance at the beginning of the school year is critical for reducing truancy and absenteeism. To help establish a firm foundation during the crucial first months of school, the Task Force launched “Operation Start Strong.”

Summer Chancellor Letters: As part of the campaign, the Schools Chancellor has sent special letters home to the families of students who were chronically absent. The letters emphasize the importance of daily attendance for success in school.

Parents' Student Success Summits & Resource Fairs: Research indicates that parents of chronically absent students are often disengaged from school and unaware of the importance of attendance and school success for their children's future. In an effort to target this specific group of parents and guardians, the pilot schools held Student Success Summits & Resource Fairs at their schools within the first eight weeks of school, targeting this hard-to-reach parent population.

Each summit included a welcome from the principal and school leadership, with many schools providing parents with printouts showing the number of days their students had missed and informing them why school attendance is so important.

The summits also featured multiagency resource fairs, where service providers in the community and CBOs connected to the school had tables presenting information on their services, such as mental health, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy services; tutoring; and housing and financial planning assistance. School leadership teams were urged to connect these resources to their schools in a systematic way, including inviting a representative from each group to attend one of the Principal’s Weekly Student Success Summits that are part of the Task Force’s work.

Wakeup NYC
Wakeup NYC
The Challenge

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