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March 30, 2017

NYC Mentoring Program Cuts Back on Missed School Days
by Mary Frost (mfrost@brooklyneagle.net), published online 11-10-2011
 
Anti-Truancy Efforts to Expand

By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

NEW YORK CITY — Kids provided with mentors missed fewer days of school last year, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city officials.

The mayor, along with Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, said Wednesday that chronically late students provided with mentors showed measurable improvement in attendance. They also announced the expansion of the city’s mentorship program, which last year targeted 25 schools with high rates of absenteeism. This year more than 300 mentors have been trained.

The program is part of the “Every Student, Every Day” anti-truancy campaign, which includes the Wake Up! NYC campaign of wake up calls to students from celebrities.

The first year of the mentorship program — Success Mentors — saw chronically absent students get to school more often than other chronically absent students who did not get mentors. The roughly 2,000-plus mentored students participating in the program attended 7,000 additional days of school, or more than three additional days per student, on average.

The program approved attendance among children of all ages who were chronically absent, but was especially effective in high school. Among children who were described as “severely chronically absent,” the program was highly effective among high schoolers, but oddly ineffective among middle schoolers. “Severely chronically absent” middle school students with mentors actually missed more school than the same category of students without mentors.

Program to Expand

This school year, the program will double the number of chronically absent students receiving in-school Success Mentors to more than 4,000 and double the number participating schools. In addition, the city’s program will add new specialized mentors to work with students returning from suspensions, placements at juvenile facilities, foster care, or temporary housing, who are especially vulnerable to chronic absenteeism.

The “Every Student. Every Day” campaign was developed by the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism & School Engagement, which is overseen by John Feinblatt and chaired by Leslie Cornfeld. The mayor made the announcement at the High School for Teaching and the Professions in the Bronx, where he was joined by Principal Gary Prince, Success Mentor Derrick Williams and other success mentors and students who benefited from the program.

Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement that that nearly 80 percent of children in the juvenile justice system were chronically absent the year before their arrest, and chronically absent students are more likely to experience substance problems or teen pregnancy.

Feinblatt said that student tracking showed that it didn’t matter who the mentor was — what was important was “providing consistent, year-long relationships with the students, face-to-face interaction meetings between principals and mentors, and celebrating the students’ achievements.” Providing a mentor access to the student’s data also helped. Each mentor oversees a group of 15-20 chronically absent students.

“Being a part of this program gave me a sense of stability and I feel like I am part of a family here at the High School for Teaching and the Professions,” said high school senior Jean Robinson.

“This is the boldest, most comprehensive in-school mentoring model in the nation,” said Dr. Robert Balfanz, research scientist at Johns Hopkins and the task force advisor.

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Questions? Comments? Sound off to the Editor

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(c) Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2011 All materials posted on BrooklynEagle.com are protected by United States copyright law. Just a reminder, though -- It's not considered polite to paste the entire story on your blog. Most blogs post a summary or the first paragraph,( 40 words) then post a link to the rest of the story. That helps increase click-throughs for everyone, and minimizes copyright issues. So please keep posting, but not the entire article. arturcatt at.gmail.com

 



 

 


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