District hits the streets to get kids back in school

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Reaching out to the community in hopes to bring students back to school, the Adams 12 Five Star School District conducted a districtwide Home Visit Day in September. Along with Thornton and Northglenn police officers, district administration and staff visited 133 homes of students currently in truancy court who have inconsistent attendance with a goal to ensure students are connected to a school and that families have the necessary resources to support their student’s learning.

Of the 133 homes visited, 32 face-to-face contacts were made with families, 42 door hangers were left at non-occupied homes, and 26 students were identified as attending different schools.

Kenlyn Newman, director of intervention services, said not only were the visits an effort to connect students with schools, but also an effort to ensure the safety of the students.

“If kids aren’t in school, they aren’t learning,” New man said. “It’s imperative to find out why these kids are not school and how we can get them connected to a school.”

During the visits staff provided families with information regarding truancy law, alternative educational options for high school student and contact information for their home school. Newman said staff learned some truant students were actually attending other schools and a few families were also reminded that by law, students are required to go to school.

“Some high school students we spoke with said the reason they weren’t attending school was because their home school wasn’t working for them,” Newman said. “For these kids, staff gave them information on our two alternative high schools, Pathways and Vantage Point. And the best part is several of those kids ended up attending an informational session later that week at Pathways.”

Superintendent Chris Gdowski was one of the 30-plus members to make home visits.

“We know regular school attendance is essential to school success,” he said. “We’re expanding our efforts to strengthen the school-to-home connection, and home visits are one of these opportunities.”

Specific high schools conduct their own home visits every year, but Newman said this is the first time she’s aware of that a districtwide home visit was conducted. She said the Home Visit Day program will continue next year and in future years, with even more planning and dedication.

“We definitely have some things we can improve on for next year,” she said. “But it’s the collective effort from all of the staff and volunteers who made this possible and took it upon themselves to say it’s their responsibility to make sure kids are in school and that’s really fantastic.”

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