WAKEFIELD — Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth (MPY) Executive Director Margie Daniels is pleased to share that the nonprofit will soon host its first in-person conference in 18 months.
Educators, a mental health expert, a leading state legislator and representatives of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Children and Families are among those who will discuss issues related to chronic absenteeism, and the mental health issues that impact school attendance.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schooling and childrens’ lives for over 18 months now, and that makes this year’s summit more relevant and important than ever,” Executive Director Daniels said. “Educators’ work to address learning loss and gaps in social and emotional development will be high on our agenda.”
Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School, 758 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA
- Sen. Cynthia Friedman, 4th Middlesex District, former educator, advocate for addressing the mental health crisis, and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on COVID-19.
- Stephen K. Zrike Jr., Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Salem, MA
- Edward Bouquillon, Ph.D., Superintendent, Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School
- Lisa Harney, M.Ed., Education Specialist, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Leah M. Kelly, Psy.D., Executive Director, Adolescent Consultation Services, Inc., Middlesex County Juvenile Court Clinic
- Thomas Malone, Esq., Metro Regional Counsel, MA Department of Children & Family Services, Northern Regional Office
- Michael Moriarty, Esq., Board Member, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
MPY sponsors a School Attendance Summit every fall to discuss issues relating to chronic absenteeism and tardiness, along with the mental health issues that impact student school attendance. The organization has used virtual events to continue its work throughout the pandemic, but this year’s School Attendance Summit will be the first in-person conference the organization has been able to hold in 18 months.
Data on school attendance in Massachusetts over the past four years shows an overall improvement in attendance, but the percentage of students who were chronically absent (out for over 10 percent of the year) and the percentage of students who missed more than 10 days increased significantly during the pandemic.
Data also shows that black and brown students suffer higher rates of absenteeism than white and Asian students, which disproportionately impacts urban communities and suggests a potential widening of learning gaps in those communities.
“We know that chronic absenteeism is a symptom of trauma and instability in the home. This has a negative impact on student performance and outcomes for our students,” Executive Director Daniels said. “As students go back to school, we must focus as much attention as we can on helping educators to engage them and keep them in school to reduce inequality and improve outcomes for all.”
About the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc.
Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides training, fosters collaboration, and develops programming to increase the health and safety of students. MPY is committed to bringing cutting-edge information and high quality trainings to constituents and endeavors to provide solution-oriented, community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches to reducing and ideally eliminating risky behaviors for youth.
The nonprofit is governed by a Board of Directors made up of school superintendents, police and fire chiefs, and other community leaders who work closely with MPY staff to deliver this mission.
To learn more, visit www.mpyinc.org.