Puget Sound ESD’s Positive Steps program and our community partners support students and their families who are chronically truant and those who have an At-Risk Youth Petition filed. Pierce County Juvenile Court, schools and other community agencies refer students and their families to Positive Steps, where they work together with an Early Warning Specialists to identify specific goals then create and implement an action plan to improve school attendance.
Assessment and Services
- Students and parents complete assessment questionnaires including the WARNS to identify barriers to school attendance.
- Positive Steps staff meet with the family in their home or another convenient location to discuss reasons for absences.
- Together, the family and Positive Steps staff identify a plan to reduce the barriers to school attendance and to improve students’ lives.
- The student is engaged in an appropriate school program.
- When appropriate, the family is provided with Functional Family Therapy, a parent partner and/or resources from the Positive Steps team.
- Positive Steps staff are in frequent contact with the family and student to support the plan’s implementation.
- The family is linked to other community resources.
- The student’s attendance is monitored to ensure improvement.
Pierce County Juvenile Court (PCJC) PCJC partners with Positive Steps to coordinate services & keeps students from going deeper into the court system.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) FFT is a 12-16 week home-based counseling program that improves family communication and functioning.
Parent Partners from A Common Voice A parent partner is often provided to parents in our program. The parent partner provides encouragement; helps with navigating access to community services, parenting classes and support groups; attends court and school meetings; and advises parents about special education.
Community Positive Steps Teams Teams are made of community members who can help connect Positive Steps students and families to local recreation and social activities, mentoring, tutoring and services to support basic needs.
Pierce County School Districts School districts work with the Positive Steps Program to support students’ improved school attendance.
- Services are for families and students involved with Truancy Court
- Positive Steps Services are free if the family is located in Tacoma or unincorporated Pierce County
- Services are provided in the family’s home or other convenient community location
Websites offering support for parents of teens:
- A Common Voice – promoting networking and empowerment to families of children with challenging emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health needs.
- A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain – Through an entertaining and compelling mix of media — video, interactive segments, scenario-based role-playing experiences, expert advice, and practical tips.
- Science and Management of Addictions Foundation – Working to eliminate the disease of substance addiction in youth by advancing research, education and treatment.
- Attendance Toolkit – Educators and community organizations working to reduce chronic absence can download these free materials and disseminate them without express permission from Attendance Works and Puget Sound Educational Service District.
- OSPI Attendance & Chronic Absenteeism – Every absence, excused or unexcused, is a learning opportunity lost and can have significant impacts on a student’s success in school and life.