In addition, LCM follows a community intervention approach which engages staff and volunteers to conduct regular home visits to talk to both parents and students about the importance of school attendance.
"We send the message that 'we want you at school and we need you to come back to school,'" Speight said. "If students miss so many days of school we go and get them."
Speight said that when she arrived at LCM, average daily attendance was 32 percent. By the end of her first year, attendance increased to 65 percent, and then to 72 percent the following year. By the end of the 2011-12 school term, the school's average daily attendance hovered at 75 percent.
"The truancy rate dropped about 23 percent last year, and we're currently between nine and 10 percent," Speight said.
Upshaw believes much of LCM's success lowering truancy is because it's an alternative school.
"We understand that there are a lot of issues our students have, like having to find transportation or arranging for child care," Upshaw said. "In helping them, we also work with the [D.C.] Office of Youth Engagement on a weekly basis – which provides us percentages on truancy rates, and how many kids are marked tardy."
Speight added that the chancellor said that given the population LCM serves and its academic program, a goal had been set for increasing daily attendance, decreasing truancy and increasing the graduation rate. Henderson praised the school's truancy turnaround during an August 2012 visit.
"She had been very clear to us about [reducing truancy], and partnered with Luke C. Moore to make sure we had the resources necessary to make a change," Speight said.