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White House Establishes Mentorship Program to Help 1 Million Students Increase School Attendance

White House Establishes Mentorship Program to Help 1 Million Students Increase School Attendance

The White House announced last week that Obama’s education initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, will now include an extensive mentorship program that will seek to pair 1 million at-risk students with mentors to prevent them from missing school.

"The mentorship program, part of Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, is starting in 10 cities. It aims to reach 250,000 children in grades six through nine over the next two years, and then to expand to students in grades K-12 and in additional cities,” said The Washington Post.

The first 10 participating cities, according to the Post, are Austin; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Miami-Dade; New York; Philadelphia; Providence, R.I.; San Antonio; and Seattle.

At-risk, chronically absent students who participate in the program will meet with mentors three times a week. The mentors will be trained individuals from all parts of the education field.

"Research has shown that mentors can play a powerful role in helping chronically absent students improve their attendance. Chronic absenteeism — missing more than 10 percent of the school year for any reason — is tightly linked to lower academic achievement and higher dropout rates. An estimated 5 million to 7 million students are chronically absent each year,” the Post said.

The program will run in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University and will be supplemented with an advertising campaign to help get the word out about the importance of attendance.

"The operation will target parents of students in kindergarten through eighth grade with billboards and posters put up at bus shelters, barbershops, doctors' offices and schools. The coalition also plans to launch a website aimed at educating parents about how chronic absenteeism affects children in the short and long term, and offers them tips and resources to help curb the problem,” said US News.

Read the full story. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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