Frequently Asked Questions

Why is school attendance something to be concerned about?

Attending school is important for many reasons. School is an important place where children and teenagers learn about social development. This isn’t a class that is taught. They learn by being around peers and teachers. With daily interactions with other students and adults outside the family, they can observe healthy social interactions and can practice them too. Sometimes they learn how to manage difficult social interactions. Being in school allows children and teens important opportunities for social growth including:

  • Daily conversations with peers
  • Interactions with adults (i.e. teachers)
  • Learning to navigate social challenges
  • Interacting with peers on academics
  • Interacting in unstructured activities (e.g. lunch, clubs, sports)

Obviously attending school is important for academic growth. This isn’t just about doing homework and getting good grades, however. Students miss out on opportunities for growth when they aren’t in school. Although students may be on different life paths, school offers:

  • Variety of classes and topics to learn
  • Opportunity for feedback from teachers
  • Interactions with fellow students on projects
  • Opportunities to ask teachers questions
  • Opportunities to hear other opinions

Being in school also provides a place for cultivating physical and emotional health. This can come in the area of physical education and health class. But, it’s more than that. Having a regular schedule to be out of the home and stimulate our minds and bodies is healthy for emotion regulation. School provides things our bodies need such as:

  • A regular daily schedule
  • Mental stimulation
  • Social stimulation
  • Opportunities for physical activity

What if I don’t think school is a healthy place for my child?

For some students, school can be associated with real-life difficulties, such as learning problems, bullying, or conflict over academic goals. These things need to be worked out. It is important for school to be a healthy place where a student can grow academically, socially, and in physical/emotional health. Fortunately, the Center for School Engagement at the Institute of Living wants to address the whole student (student, family, school).

Why the Center for School Engagement?

The Institute of Living has been addressing the problem of school avoidance since 2004. The Center for School Engagement pulls in the academic and clinical expertise from the Webb Schools Attendance and Credit Recovery Programs and the Anxiety Disorders Center School Refusal Program. The IOL is able to intervene in school avoidance by addressing academic issues, motivational issues, and clinical problems (Anxiety, OCD, Depression). The IOL is also involved in the publication of research in relation to school refusal.

What does the Center for School Engagement have to offer?

The Institute of Living offers evaluation and interventions including diagnostic assessment, motivational enhancement consultation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more. Our experts can help to identify the functions of school refusal, academic problems related to school avoidance, issues related to the academic environment, credit recovery needs, as well as issues related to motivation to attend school. 

School Engagement Services & Resources
Center for School Engagement

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Center for School Engagement