Teens and Their Families

Please note: The materials on this page were created prior to March 2020. Some of the recommendations or images may refer to in-person activities and have not been adapted to conform with health guidelines regulating the number of people who can meet in person or safety measures to prevent transmission of Covid-19. We recommend that you follow your local health department, district and/or state guidance related to safety and education for the 2020-2021 school year.

Engage Teens In Tracking Their Attendance

Among middle and high school students, it is important to empower students to develop their own strategies for getting to school and to monitor when absences add up.

Outreach to Students and Parents

In middle and high school, it’s important to target messages toward students as well as parents. Schools can engage students with incentives, contests and strong messaging. Sports stars can be particularly powerful messengers.

What to say to families of teens.

Handouts to give to families of teens.

Use these research-based handouts developed by the University of Chicago Consortium of Chicago School Research with talking points for the high school years.

Bullying and Attendance

A quarter of U.S. middle and high school students report that they are bullied at school, and about 15 percent of those bullied student miss school because of it. See these resources:


Mentoring has proven an effective strategy for improving attendance among teens who are chronically absent or at risk of becoming so. Different models use school staff, peers or National Service workers.

  • The national Success Mentors initiative uses an evidence-based and data-driven mentor model and student support system to tackle chronic absenteeism. The initiative connects students with dedicated Success Mentors to help them navigate their school experience, improve attendance and become college and career ready.

  • Check & Connect assigns trained mentors to at-risk students to improve engagement with school and learning through close monitoring of their attendance, behavior, and grades.

  • City Year uses AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools, where they work as tutors, mentors and role models. Attendance is a key focus.

  • Peer Group Connection; The Center for Supportive Schools uses a peer learning model to ensure a better transition from middle to high school.

  • RAMP: The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program uses group, peer, and individual mentoring to build on existing career development efforts by schools and employers.


Developed by Tray Chaney and Champion Studio


Created by Mission: Graduate, a cradle to career initiative in Central New Mexico, by New Mexico PBS and Blackout Theater

See more Mission: Graduate videos here