September 6, 2018 -- With the month of September comes students returning to the classroom, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer is proving that school attendance is a top priority by declaring the month of September as “Attendance Awareness Month.” The campaign takes place every September to stress the importance of having children attend school every day, to reduce chronic absenteeism and the negative impacts associated with poor attendance.

Latimer said: “As a new school year begins, parents and school staff will embark upon a wide range of activities to ensure that children have a successful school year. Simply put, students need to attend school every day to achieve academic success. Students who are chronically absent often find it harder to read proficiently and catch up with their classmates; have lower test scores; and are more likely to drop out of school all together. I encourage all parents to recognize the dangers of chronic absenteeism, and help your child create positive school habits.” 

Executive Director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “Although Westchester County boasts some of the best schools and students, chronic absenteeism rates are increasing. Given the research concerning school chronic absence, it behooves all stakeholders, beginning with youth, parents, schools, government, faith-based and community organizations to collaborate on efforts to increase public awareness of the adverse impacts of chronic absenteeism. The administration, inclusive of the Youth Bureau, and non-profit organizations like Student Advocacy, will continue to identify community-wide approaches and interventions to stem school absences, and recognize young people who strive to attend school each day.”

Policy Advocate at Student Advocacy Karen Blumenthal said: "As the new school year begins, it is so important to remember that students who miss more than 10% of school days for any reason often find it harder to read proficiently, catch up with their classmates and perform well on standardized tests. Students who go to school on time every day will have a much brighter future!"

Ossining School District Superintendent Ray Sanchez said: "The impact of chronic absences is clear. One important step we can all take to make sure all children succeed is to ensure they are in school."