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September 2017 is Attendance Awareness Month, the fifth annual national campaign centered on raising awareness of the importance of school attendance, and its role in promoting positive youth development, academic achievement, and future success in life. This campaign is an exciting opportunity for everyone–community members, parents, schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, and politicians alike–to highlight the important roles that we all play in supporting youth in our communities.
School attendance is one of many factors in whether or not a youth ends up on a successful path, but it is a crucial one, and one that we can work together to address. Excused and unexcused absences result in lost classroom time, and chronic absence—missing 10 percent of the school year or more—affects the whole classroom, not just the students who miss school. Reducing chronic absence can also help close achievement gaps. By sharing and monitoring attendance information, we can intervene early and help keep students engaged in school.
The campaign is spearheaded by Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance. Other campaign organizers include America’s Promise Alliance, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Points of Light and United Way Worldwide and it is also supported by a growing list of other organizations including our national partners at MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership), the Afterschool Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City Year, The Council for a Strong America, No Kid Hungry, FamilyWize and a diverse range of other organizations.
How Can Mentoring Help?
As referenced in the campaign messaging, “relationship building is fundamental to any strategy for improving student attendance.” And according to results from the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, around 50% of middle and high school students do not “feel like they matter to adults in their community.” In contrast, according to the 2016 Vermont Mentoring Surveys, nearly 73% of youth in Vermont who are matched with an adult mentor do “feel like they matter to people in their community.”
When youth have positive relationships with adults, and feel a greater sense of connection to their community and school, they are more likely to be engaged academically. National research studies from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and MENTOR demonstrate that students who regularly meet with mentors are…
- 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 37% less likely than their peers to skip a class
- 55% more likely to enroll in college
Mentoring programs play a key role, along with other people and organizations who regularly interact with these youth (parents, educators, counselors, after school programs and other youth development agencies), in keeping students in school, and actively engaged in the classroom.
We hope you will join us on social media in sharing the campaign!
You Can Help By…
- Changing Your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to this campaign badge and using this Facebook cover photo to spread the word
- Sharing images, quotes, and statistics about the importance of school attendance
- Asking your friends, family, and colleagues to join the campaign too
Where Can I Find Resources To Share?
- Check back later in September for more information on this year’s “Attendance and Mentoring Effect” activities, organized by MENTOR
- Follow Mobius on Facebook and Twitter for updates and ideas
- Follow the Attendance Awareness campaign website and social media pages:
Be sure to include the hashtag #SchoolEveryDay in all of your posts to make sure they are a part of the larger campaign! For any posts connected to mentoring, use the #MentorIRL hashtag.