Attendance and Truancy
Good school attendance sets the stage for students to fully benefit from the many learning resources our schools offer. Children and families may face challenges that impact regular attendance. Recognizing and responding to those challenges can help keep students on track academically.
The Office of School and Student Supports provides resources and guidance to help schools monitor and reduce chronic absenteeism. While assisting in the implementation of Maine’s truancy statute dealing with unexcused absences is an important aspect of that work, research clearly shows that frequent excused absences – for genuine health or family reasons – are equally important to the work of making school a place where all students thrive. The office supports school attendance and intervention teams, assists families in understanding school attendance requirements and exploring learning options, and partners with other agencies to coordinate a community approach to making school attendance a priority in Maine.
Alternative Education and Drop Out Prevention
Maine’s high school graduation rate is consistently above the national average, in part, because of Maine’s strong statutory support for dropout prevention and educational alternatives. We can reach Maine’s goal of achieving a 90% high school graduation rate by ensuring that existing resources, protections, and research based interventions reach our most vulnerable students.
School and Student Supports provides technical assistance to school dropout prevention committees, promotes best practices in student support and alternative education programming, and works with partner agencies to make sure that students experiencing educational disruption remain on track to graduate.
Children who find themselves having to make frequent moves face many challenges staying connected to their school communities and keeping up with their peers academically. By unifying programs for children in foster care, families experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and migratory families, School and Student Supports works to minimize the potential impact of family mobility on school success.
State Consultants for Homeless Education and Children in Foster Care assist local schools in developing processes to ensure educational continuity by providing transportation and other needed supports. The Migrant Education Program communicates with agricultural employers to make sure that children are enrolled in school and that both children and families have access to needed health and other resources. The program sponsors an annual Blueberry Harvest School every summer to provide a safe, educational experience for the many children who come with their families each July to rake Maine’s famous wild blueberries.
Amelia Lyons Rukema
Office of School and Student Supports