July 13th, 2020
“The amount and quality of our relationships are a defining point in all our lives, but for a young person, at the height of their development, the presence or absence of positive connections often dictates their future course,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
There are a host of reasons why students miss school and we can learn so much about how to support all our students by better monitoring and understanding the factors behind absence and creating relevant solutions. Educational leaders have been successful in driving greater school engagement and success when approaching students with a multifaceted approach providing practical resources and relationship-centric supports for students that is individually responsive and systemically driven. This report language allows the Department of Education to analyze proven federal, state, and local strategies to address chronic absenteeism like school-based mentoring while also collecting valuable data to help inform potential interventions. It will help further and scale the efforts of mentors, alongside parents, guardians, teachers, and school staff to partner with students in building social-emotional skills, validate identity, create consistency and provide helpful navigation. This is especially important for students facing the most challenges and is powerful in closing persistent gaps that are not about achievement but driven by resource, support, and opportunity. We appreciate Representative Tim Ryan and the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee under Chair Rosa DeLauro for their commitment to creating relationship-rich environments for students and elevating mentoring as a data-backed solution to chronic absenteeism. Listening, identifying and lifting up the core reasons students can’t engage in school will help us create environments where we truly show up for all young people so they can thrive and strive. We are committed to Representative Tim Ryan and Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s bill, H.R. 4220, the Chronic Absenteeism Reduction in Every School Act, because it expands on this report’s work and helps put the findings into practice.