THE BOSTON STRATEGY TO IMPROVE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
A multi-agency planning group, comprising all key partners in the youth violence reduction strategy have developed a comprehensive intervention to assist schools in preventing truancy and supporting families in developing strong attendance patterns for their children. The primary elements of the program include: enhanced services at the school level, increased attention to the issue of attendance among other agencies (e.g. police, service agencies, youth groups) which is coordinated with school leadership, coordinated truancy sweeps and interagency ‘attendance review panels’ to work with the parents of students whose attendance is truly problematic.
2. When was the program created and why?
The Boston Strategy committee began to plan the intervention in May 1998 in response to a growing interest among city leaders in identifying early intervention opportunities to direct youth toward positive development opportunities, particularly those most at-risk. Program implementation begins September 1, 1998.
3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?
Attendance rates at all schools within the system will be the primary quantitative measure of success. Additional indicators will include: parent satisfaction/awareness of the program and reports from police and schools personnel about the degree and utility of this type of collaborative effort in meeting individual institutional goals, and changes in youth attitudes toward skipping school as measured by focus groups and surveys.
4. How is the program financed?
This project utilizes existing resources such as permanent staff, police officers, etc. and has not sought outside funding as of this time. It is a re-dedication of our city resources to focus attention on this issue.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
Community involvement is primarily functioning at the planning level, where the coordinating committee for the program maintains regular contact/requests feedback from over 40 agencies and residents as well as involves staff from eleven city, state and federal agencies.
6. Contact person:
Liz O’Connor, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Resource Development, Boston Police Department, One Schroeder Plaza, Boston, MA 02120, Telephone - 617/343-4304, Facsimile 617/343-5073
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.