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For immediate release: September 12, 2016
Contact: Craig Smith
Phone: 518-402-3130

New York State Council on Children and Families, Education Department Seek to Reduce Chronic Absences from School

September is School Attendance Awareness Month

The New York State Council on Children and Families and the New York State Education Department urge families with young students to make sure that their children are in school every day to help them do well academically. State representatives join students from the City School District of Albany Pine Hills Elementary School today to unveil this year’s “Every Student Present” campaign. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed September 2016 as School Attendance Awareness Month.

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “Attendance is critical to academic success, even as early as preschool and kindergarten. Students can’t learn if they’re not in school and missing just a few days each month can add up, resulting in students falling behind.”

Albany Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D., said, “When our students miss school, they miss the opportunity to learn. There are many reasons students miss school, but the outcome is the same – missed instruction and missed opportunities. The City School District of Albany is glad to be a partner in this statewide campaign to convey this important message to families across New York.”

Chronic absence merits careful attention and action. If schools can identify and support chronically absent students and their families, educators can help reduce the achievement gap, turn around under performing schools, and increase students’ readiness for college and careers. Chronic absence is one of the earliest indications that students are not on course. By tracking the number of absences a student has, whether they are excused or unexcused, schools and health and human service organizations can offer prevention and early interventions, when they are most likely to succeed. The New York State Education Department has developed attendance and chronic absence verification reports that school leadership uses to identify children who may need additional support. Parents interested in learning more about ways to help their children attend school every day are invited to visit Resources for schools can be accessed at

“Addressing the issue of chronic absence is a fundamental step in school improvement efforts and a collective community approach is needed to reverse the trend. The Every Student Present website provides resources that encourage a positive, prevention-oriented approach to improve attendance.” said Council on Children and Families Executive Director Deborah Benson.

“A positive, healthy school climate promotes family engagement, improved student attendance and academic success,” said NYSED Assistant Commissioner Renee Rider.

More information on Every Student Present is available at

About the CCF

The Council on Children and Families coordinates New York State health, education and human services systems as a means to provide more effective systems of care for children and families. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @nysccf, and bookmark its website,

The Council works with its 12 member agencies to coordinate the New York State health, education, and human service systems to provide more effective systems of care for children and families. Members of the Council include the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center), the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA), the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the Office for the Aging (SOFA), and the State Education Department (SED).