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Lessons Learned From Four Truancy Demonstration Sites

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2006
10 pages
This report presents results and lessons learned from an evaluation of four truancy demonstration sites funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
The four communities developed and implemented a variety of approaches that were effective in improving school attendance. The major lesson learned is the power of community organizations when they join forces with schools to improve school attendance. A general lesson learned is that interventions based on locally designed strategies can improve school attendance by calling attention to truancy and making school attendance a priority. Programs in Contra Costa County, CA, and Hawaii/Waianae elementary schools showed the importance of intervening early with young children in preventing an ongoing truancy pattern. A lesson learned in Hawaii is that early intervention pays off when it begins with attention to excessive absences in kindergarten and first grade. Middle school program models were developed in Suffolk County, NY (Bellport Middle School) and Tacoma, WA (Mc Ilvaigh Middle School). They were effective in improving school attendance by integrating the intervention into the ongoing student services at the school. This integration at Bellport added a probation officer in the regular special education and child study team staff, which assisted in making the truancy program a regular part of the school's helping culture. The truancy case manager in Tacoma joined the counseling staff of the middle school and worked closely with community organizations in the neighborhood. A lesson learned is that when outside agencies provide services in schools, they should become part of the existing student support services in order to have greater acceptance and impact.

Date Published: December 1, 2006