October 1, 2019 - As Westchester County’s students embark upon a new school year, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is proving that school attendance is a top priority with the release of an Attendance Awareness Public Service Announcement (PSA). The PSA was created in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, the Westchester County Youth Bureau and the Tuckahoe School District.

Watch the PSA HERE.

Latimer’s attendance awareness campaign stresses the importance of having children attend school every day, in order to reduce chronic absenteeism and the negative impacts associated with poor attendance.

Latimer said: “Most of the class work that happens in an academic year from September to June builds day after day. So when you miss a day of school or a week of school, you miss the connective bridge on that topic. We all want our children to be as well-educated as possible. This world is changing every single day, and the skill sets you achieve through a formal education are going to be essential. I encourage all parents to recognize the dangers of chronic absenteeism, and help your child create positive school habits.”

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “Chronic absenteeism not only affects student achievement, it can affect a student's social and emotional development. While the causes of chronic absenteeism are multi-fold, addressing this complicated issue in a successful way involves a partnership between parents and caregivers, schools, government and community organizations.  We all have an important role to play in promoting school attendance, and investing in our children’s well-being.”

Executive Director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “There is a multi-pronged approach to addressing chronic absenteeism, which starts with a clear message that our children should attend school every day. In Westchester County we are very fortunate to have community stakeholders who have championed this message, and who understand the number of socio-economic and health determinants that lead to absenteeism. Rather than place blame on parents and caregivers, we aim to leverage natural supports in our communities to remove the barriers that families and children face regarding school absenteeism.”  

Superintendent of the Tuckahoe School District Carl Albano said: “The research is clear. The more a child is absent from school, the more it negatively impacts their student performance. The trick is not waiting until it becomes a chronic problem. You need to intervene earlier as a school district, and as a community.”