DETROIT (WWJ) – Nearly four dozen Detroit Public Schools attendance agents and parent organizers from the Detroit Parent Network have hit the streets, knocking on 2,150 doors to drive home the district’s message on the importance of attendance and reach out to families impacted by school consolidations.
The attendance drive aims to reverse a long trend of low and shifting enrollment, particularly during the first weeks of school, which caused DPS to lose $3.5 million in state aid for attendance in first nine days and $25 million throughout the year.
Parent organizers, who began their door-to-door outreach in July, went to 3,523 homes through the high-touch campaign last year. Attendance agents, who usually start their outreach at the start of the school year, are also now working eight hours a day in a new initiative that more than doubles the outreach to parents prior to the start of school.
The attendance drive is part of the district’s expanded Back-to-School enrollment recruitment drive with an added emphasis on attendance on the first day of teaching and learning, September 6. Last year, 23 schools did not meet their goals for adequate yearly progress in the area of attendance alone.
DPS lost $3.5 million in state aid for attendance that was recorded as being below the required 75 percent for the first nine days (and as low as 51 percent) last school year and $25 million throughout the year. Reasons include families choosing not to bring students to school until well after the school year began and movement from school to school that made attendance reporting incomplete.