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NOLA Public Schools Challenges Families to “Strive For Less Than 5” Absences

NEW ORLEANS – (Aug. 15, 2019) - NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) has partnered with Baptist Community Ministries’ (BCM) to launch, “Strive for Less Than 5,” a campaign to challenge families to strive for less than five absences and tardies throughout this new school year.

In New Orleans, 25 percent of public school children from kindergarten to 12th grade were chronically absent during the 2017-2018 school year – meaning they missed more than 10 percent of the school year, or 15-18 days. Missing more than five days of school can impact learning and lowers test scores and can put students at risk of repeating a grade and/or dropping out of school.

“Our mission is to provide the best education possible for our students. When students aren’t in the classroom, they’re missing out on the critical lessons and skills they need to acquire in order to be successful not only in school, but also throughout their lives,” said NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. “This campaign works to remind the Greater New Orleans community, our families and students, about the importance and benefits of consistently attending school. We want everyone – not just our students and families in our district – to be a part of this mission and encourage our students to strive for less than five.”

With an understanding that students miss school for various reasons, the campaign seeks to help families understand the importance of attending school daily and on time. NOLA-PS and BCM are urging parents, guardians and students to do the following for the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Become familiar with your school’s calendar for the 2019-2020 school year
  • Create a backup plan to get your student to school daily, and on time
  • Schedule appointments before or after school and during scheduled breaks
  • Don’t allow students to stay home unless the student is truly sick (i.e. fever, vomiting etc.)
  • Seek support from school staff and community organizations for any concerns with transportation, bullying, uniforms, safety concerns, physical health concerns, mental health concerns, behavioral health concerns, etc.

“Strive For Less Than 5” is part of a national movement to reduce chronic absenteeism. The initiative was created by the DeVos Foundation and Grand Rapids Public Schools and has been implemented in school districts around the United States, such as the Mississippi Department of Education and St. Joseph School District in Missouri. Locally, the campaign will feature billboards, RTA advertisements, posters, social media content and more to make this initiative visible to the New Orleans community.

“Strive For Less Than 5” is one of four targeted efforts that will be facilitated under the “Keeping Kids in School Attendance Awareness Initiative”. Visit for more details.


Information about reducing chronic absence:

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