Radical Attendance Improvement for One Nets Award for All

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Counseling In Schools High shool students working on a presentation
April 2, 2015

CIS Intern Laura Lee wrote the following story about a 12-year-old student at Urban Assembly School who, through the help and support of individual and group counseling with CIS staff, soared from chronic absenteeism to near-perfect attendance over the course of just one school year.

Laura Lee submitted this story to the DOE Office of Safety and Youth Development and won the Attendance Success Story contest. As an award, Urban Assembly Unison School has since been awarded $1000 in funding for student admission to cultural events.


A twelve-year-old student in the seventh grade was identified as chronically absent, with 76 absences by June 2014 and an attendance rate of 58 percent. At the outset of the 2014–2015 school year, the school social worker recommended her as a candidate for the Counseling In Schools (CIS), program. The mother voluntarily enrolled the girl and was open to regular contact and discussions of her progress. CIS implemented individual and group counseling, and the student’s participation allowed her to explore her interests in drawing and discuss her personal struggles as an adolescent in poverty. Her relationships with school staff, CIS counselors, and peers improved, and she has maintained an average attendance rate of 92 percent to date, compared with 46 percent in January 2014. She now displays increased extroverted behavior in the school and takes pride in her artwork, showcasing her drawings in an after-school community gala. Additionally, she has shown an interest in achieving academic success, as her mother says she has often fallen asleep in her room after long hours of studying. She was recently recognized as Student of the Month for her radical improvement and positive engagement in the school community.

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