Rochester City School District Reaches Out to Absent Students
The Rochester City School District continues efforts to deal with the ongoing challenge of students who are too often absent from school. One program, called Attendance Reach Out, has the district target specific kids to find out why they are not attending school and what needs to happen to get them there.
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The Rochester City School District's attendance drive, "Be Here, Learn More" is focusing on the worst cases. These cases include around 150 city school students, who so far have missed more than 10 days of school.
The district says it includes students at School, 17, 22, 30, East High and Charlotte.
Some district staff and about 50 volunteers agreed to go to each and every home today to find out why these specific kids are missing school and offer ways to help. The goal is to be helpful and not confrontational.
The district says what they're finding are parents who say transportation is a problem, also no-shows, kids who have moved, others with families with mental health and social issues, kids working instead of going to school and teens who are taking care of other siblings.
Music teacher and registrar Liz Hanan has been at school 17 for seven years. On her list of homes to visit, kindergartners who have missed 12 to 14 days of school, just two months into the school year.
The volunteers have a list of programs and phone numbers to give to the families they speak to. If no one is home, they leave a packet of information about programs to help. The district says this is not only a school issue, but a community issue and that everyone needs to encourage and advocate to get kids to school.
Liz Hanan knows this door-to-door effort is not a quick fix to truancy, but believes it is a step to show parents and students that they care.