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Los Angeles Unified Designates September as Child Welfare and Attendance Month (09-12-23)

Los Angeles (September 12, 2023) – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Board Vice President Scott M. “Schmerelson and co-sponsored by Board President Jackie Goldberg, and Board Members Dr. George J. McKenna III, Dr. Rocío Rivas, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, highlighting the importance of student attendance in schools to promote their overall welfare.


With the adoption of this resolution, Los Angeles Unified will continue to promote the various strategies in the fight against chronic absenteeism, truancy and dropout rates while partnering with the Association of Pupil Services and Attendance Counselors (APSAC) to strengthen community ties.


The resolution also calls for the District to continue utilizing social media outlets and websites, conducting home visits, making phone calls and sending emails to parents and caregivers, reminding them of the importance of students being in school.


“We will continue to work with partnering agencies and community groups to ensure that chronic absenteeism is a distant memory to our district,” Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said. “While we cannot know why students are absent or drop out entirely, we know that this problem is often preventable. It is why this resolution is also a call to action, making everybody equally responsible for amplifying the message.”


“Our counselors play a critical role toward improving outcomes for our students and families and we are incredibly grateful for their tireless efforts and dedication,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Attendance plays an important role in student outcomes and Los Angeles Unified is taking the necessary steps to ensure our students have access to the resources they need to help them overcome challenges and accelerate their success.”


“Our Pupil Services and Attendance Counselors are often unsung heroes, tirelessly working to support our students and families,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said. “Recognizing September as Child Welfare and Attendance Month underscores the essential role that Pupil Services and Attendance Counselors play in our schools. Their work is critical for student success and well-being.”


“We are grateful to our Pupil Service and Attendance Counselors for their tireless work on behalf of our students and families,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “This vital work is integral to student success.”


“Chronic absenteeism hits our Black, Latino and unhoused students harder than any other groups,” Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas said. “Understanding the issues behind the empty seats is critical to solving this problem, and for that, we rely on our Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) Counselors who connect with students and families, nurture their social and emotional well-being, and keep our kids in school. Recognizing the elemental role PSA counselors play in creating healthy campuses where students can thrive is one step toward healthier schools and communities.”


“A student who is not present cannot learn. A student who does not have their fundamental needs met cannot learn,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I’m proud to support this resolution to commemorate Child Welfare & Attendance Month, and to validate and celebrate the work of this District, its employees, partners and parents in supporting the whole needs of children all year long.”


“We hope all our students, staff and families will join us in celebrating Child Welfare and Attendance Month this month,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Every school day matters, and consistent attendance is the cornerstone to a successful academic journey for our kiddos. Together, we can ensure every student has the support they need to reach their full academic potential!”


“This month, as we honor Child Welfare and Attendance Month, I celebrate our dedicated pupil services and attendance counselors for supporting our students and families with essential resources,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Thank you for your efforts, which extend beyond ensuring attendance and contribute significantly to our students' well-being.”


“In order for students to be ready for the world, they must maintain excellent attendance,” Student Board Member Karen Ramirez said. “The District's effort to encourage students to be in school every day will have a positive impact in our education. In addition, we are excited to have the opportunity to appreciate and recognize the tremendous work of our PSA counselors.”


“Attendance isn’t about numbers or percentages; it is about students,” Ofelia Ryan, President of the Association of Pupil Services and Attendance Counselors (APSAC), said. “It’s a result of meeting child welfare needs. That’s why it’s so important to have a PSA counselor in school, teaming up with school staff, caregivers, teachers and the wider community to help students stay in school and thrive.”