Vargas continues attendance push

Posted by Tim Louis Macaluso on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

More than 60 school officials, parents, and residents gathered at the Rochester school district’s central office this morning in another organized effort to track down truant students.

In groups of two to four, volunteers were handed a list of students and their addresses from schools 4, 17, 22, 30, and Monroe who have not attended school at all this year, or have not attended regularly. Volunteers visited 90 homes this morning.

Between 11 percent and 12 percent of the district’s roughly 30,000 students miss school on any given day. And more than 4,800 city school students have missed at least three weeks of school this year, which puts them at risk of falling behind.

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas began the push to improve attendance last year. This morning’s outreach was the third this school year. When asked if the district is making progress at improving attendance, Vargas said, “The problem is so big; it’s an epidemic in this community.”

But Vargas has made some progress. School officials have sharpened their attendance record-keeping, and the districtwide attendance rate for last year reportedly improved. School officials say they want to achieve a 90 percent attendance rate this year. The goal, officials say, is to reach at least a 93 percent attendance rate in the future.

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