What does it take to stop kids from skipping school?

Among the key findings of the report:

Students living poverty were 15 percent less likely to absent at the task force schools than their peers at similar campuses. The gains were even greater for students living in temporary shelters—they were 31 percent less likely to absent. The city’s Department of Homeless Services was given access to student data and staff received specialized training and support. One city official told the researchers, “It seems like common sense, but until now we just didn’t have the tools, data, or knowledge to do it,” according to the report.

Assigning mentors to work one-on-one with students was the most successful intervention, with kids adding an average of nine days (nearly two full school weeks) of attendance per school year. High school students working with mentors were 52 percent more likely to be enrolled the following academic year than their comparison peers, suggesting the program also contributed to dropout prevention.

Students who were chronically absent in the 2009-10 academic year at the task force schools were 20 percent more likely to still be in school three years later when compared to similarly situated students at campuses that didn’t participate in the task force’s programs. That suggests the initiative was also effective as a means of dropout prevention.