ELC has created three new tools to identify and address attendance barriers. Far too often, we see that families are held accountable for systemic or school-based barriers, instead of receiving needed supports. This set of resources helps families, schools, and Magisterial District Court Judges -the three key players in the truancy context- proactively identify and address attendance barriers while upholding the legal rights of students and families.
- Family Needs Self-Assessment To Address Attendance Barriers: Families encountering attendance barriers are entitled to procedural protections under Pennsylvania’s truancy laws. This tool helps families proactively identify barriers to school attendance, request supports to resolve attendance barriers, and prepare for the School Attendance Improvement Conference. This conference must take place prior to any referral to truancy court and no later than after a student has six unexcused absences.
- LEA School Attendance Barriers and McKinney-Vento Screener: Schools have legal obligations under Pennsylvania’s truancy laws to identify and address barriers to student attendance during the School Attendance Improvement Conference. This conference must take place prior to any referral to truancy court and no later than after a student has six unexcused absences. Schools can use this tool to identify attendance barriers and take action steps to be in compliance with truancy laws once a barrier is identified.
- Magisterial District Court Judges Tool to Address Truancy Referrals: Magisterial District Court Judges (MDJs) hear truancy proceedings and have the authority to impose discretionary penalties on families and students. This tool helps MDJs make sure that all attendance barriers have been identified by local education agencies (LEAs) and confirm that LEAs have complied with all duties outlined in Pennsylvania’s truancy laws. It provides action steps to address school-based issues.