CORA’s Truancy Case Managers are gearing up for the 2016-2017 school year with over 200 active cases to help families in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. Last year, we served over 1000 students in our prevention and intervention services. Under the supervision of Roxanne Green, staff are helping students transfer to appropriate schools, following up on paperwork for needed academic support and assisting parents with interagency meetings to start the year on a positive note. CORA will show a presence at Back to School Nights at about 20 schools throughout the Northeast section of Philadelphia. Staff has begun to meet with principals of our 33 partner schools to discuss truancy prevention services for the upcoming year.
Throughout the year, CORA focuses on intervention resources to help students re-engage with schools and reduce barriers to consistently attending school. As child advocates, case managers provide assessment reports to Family Court in the best interest of the child. CORA tries to help families overcome obstacles that cause truancy. The program’s goals include identifying youth at-risk of truancy and providing resources to improve regular attendance. Usual cases of truancy with the Philadelphia School District involve families going on vacation, immigrating into the community, loss of student motivation, gaps in medical care and issues with bullying.
A new rule from the School District of Philadelphia states that a child coming after 10am in the morning or leaving before 1 pm is considered a half day unexcused. According to Pennsylvania State law, a child becomes truant when there are 10 or more unexcused absences. “Parents are often unaware that school year vacations are marked an unexcused absence even if a note is sent in by the parents,” reports Roxanne Green, CORA’s Truancy Services Supervisor. To have a successful school year, Roxanne recommends for families to limit TV/Screen time close to bedtime, ask students about their school day every day, and promote learning outside of the school building through extra-curricular activities or supporting their hobbies.
Parents can improve student attendance by
- Understanding each school’s attendance policy
- Setting a bed time/curfew that is age appropriate
- Creating a plan for getting to and from school
- Scheduling doctor appointments after school hours
- Communicating with school about any prolonged absence with excuses notes