D.C. Anti-truancy Program is Getting More Kids to School

The Washington Post

A single mother who is sick or dealing with car repairs. A child who’s staying with neighbors because his parent is in jail. A mother who works nights and weekends and takes her child out of school during the week to go shopping and spend time with her. These are the kinds of scenarios that lead children in the District to miss school with alarming frequency, city officials say. Case workers during the past two years have begun working with D.C. families to figure out what is causing their attendance problems and how they can help. The program, Show Up, Stand Out, is having some success, according to an evaluation of the first year’s results released Tuesday during an event at Browne Education Campus. Nearly 80 percent of the families involved in the program during the 2012-2013 school year improved their childrens’ attendance. “Parents love their children and want what’s best for them, but it’s hard for some parents to get their children to school consistently,” said Melissa Hook, the director of the Justice Grants Administration, which has spent $3.5 million in local funds on the truancy prevention program. The program pairs case workers from community organizations with public schools. The D.C. anti-truancy initiative grew from a pilot program with 17 schools in 2012-2013 to 45 schools during the last school year. This year, seven community organizations are partnering with 60 elementary and middle schools — including eight charter schools — and the city plans to promote school attendance with the new slogan on city buses and billboards.


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