Thanks to the Press Herald for highlighting the important issue of chronic absence from school – whether it’s excused or not (“Some Maine school districts taking on truancy with tenacity,” June 19).

At the John T. Gorman Foundation, we are proponents of community-based, positive strategies that foster a culture of consistent attendance. That’s because we’ve learned that schools can’t do it alone – they need the help and support of families and other community partners to regularly get some kids to school.

We all want our children to succeed, but many Maine families face real economic and other stresses that can sometimes impede consistent school attendance. As the article mentions, our partner Count ME In is having terrific success in raising attendance rates in districts throughout the state. The organization does this through strong and consistent messaging about the value of attending school daily, as well as effective strategies that include incentives for improving attendance, fostering personal connections between students and adults and the smart use of data to identify students who are at-risk of chronic absence before it becomes a problem.

Consistent school attendance is a strong predictor of long-term academic success for Maine’s students, which means that it’s critical to the economic future of our state. We invite other community members to join us in supporting districts, families and students in promoting school every day.

Tony Cipollone

president and CEO, John T. Gorman Foundation

Portland