Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Rochester

City School District's Third Attempt to Get Kids to School

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Rochester: City School District's Third Attempt to Get Kids to School
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The Rochester City School District continues efforts to encourage kids to attend school. Volunteers knocked on the doors of dozens of homes of students who are chronically absent from school Tuesday morning.

This was the third round of the door-to-door effort this school year to get face to face with parents and students to find out why they are not at school and what the district can do to help get them there.

The Rochester City School District has one of the worst graduation rates in the state. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says truancy is a serious problem.

The district told volunteers that more than 1,000 students have missed more than 50 days of school. Vargas said 8,000 students have missed two weeks or more of school.

So the focus was a knock on the door of as many as 90 homes.

This third truancy blitz targeted students registered at school 4, 17, 22, 30, Monroe High School and Robert Brown School.

Volunteers knock on the door and ask the parent or student why they are not at school.

Reasons range from transportation issues, school transfers, medical conditions or simply because they don't want to.

Superintendent Vargas says parents of elementary kids who are not at school need to be held accountable and realize that the district can help with support services.

"When you do not attend to truancy in kindergarten, first, second and third grade, later on it becomes a way of life for the child and the family and for the community as well," Vargas said. "For too long we have tolerated the fact that thousands and thousands of children in Rochester do not come to school. I am fortunate that the community is beginning to pay attention to this issue."

The district believes this outreach effort works, saying it has helped resolve some of the issues parents had.

The district says it will continue to push, and encourage and support families.

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