Improving School Attendance

As a sixth-grader, Allen missed over 40 days of school. After help from the truancy court prevention program, he missed only one day.
Improving School Attendance

Allen was one of the 60 students who participated in The Village’s truancy court prevention project last year. As a sixth-grader, he had missed over 40 days of school, tried to commit suicide and was diagnosed with depression. Cautious of another social service program trying to help him, it took a while for him to trust the case manager. But he did and after working closely with her throughout the year, Allen’s school attendance improved dramatically. He missed only one day that year.

As an 8th grader, Allen kept in contact with his case manager, because his home life became chaotic, and he was placed in a relative’s care. His mother asked the TCPP case manager for help.

TCPP staff fought to get better accommodations for Allen so that he would be better prepared for high school. They worked with him and his teachers to ensure he received academic support — and he ended the year with an A in math. During the summer, they helped Allen get into a baseball league, which he loved, while also helping him and his family determine which school he’d like to attend in the fall, and complete the application. Allen is now attending a local technical school.

Unfortunately, Allen is not the only student who needs help staying in school. A quarter of Hartford’s students miss more than 10 percent of school days, making them considered “chronically absent.”

In its sixth year, the Truancy Court Prevention Project is successfully helping Hartford students improve their attendance. For school year 2012-13, 81 percent of 6th, 7th and 8th graders in three Hartford schools who participated in the program achieved 90 percent attendance or higher. Overall, attendance increased by 28 percent, with attendance at one school increasing by 54 percent.

And because research shows that patterns of absenteeism begin early on, the program is beginning to serve first and second graders.

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