PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Students in Pasadena who have yet to attend school since classes started last month may be getting a visit from district officials Wednesday.
KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports volunteers and staff from Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) and the city of Pasadena will visit homes across the district to contact students who have been chronically absent since school began on Aug. 14.
The “Student Recovery Day” effort — which is part of the PUSD’s “I’m In!” school attendance campaign — will target absent students at all grade levels to determine whether they left the district and enrolled at another school or if they have family, social, or economic issues that are preventing them from attending school.
Teams of counselors and other staff went out into the community Wednesday to offer on-the-spot support to encourage students to finish their education and prepare themselves for a 21st-century job market, according to the district.
The teams were expected to visit about half of the roughly 400 students who never showed up for class this year throughout the 18,000-student school district, CBS2′s Kara Finnstrom reported.
“Our schools are working at an accelerated pace and a single day of missed instruction can adversely affect the student’s academic progress,” PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry said. “Immediate action is necessary because research tells us that missing or skipping school occasionally in the early grades can easily become a habit that put students on track to drop out of school.”
Student attendance has a significant impact on the district’s bottom line as well; in California, schools are funded based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA), meaning that if a child does not show up for at least part of the academic day, the school loses the daily funding allocated for that student.
Just a one percent increase in the district’s annual attendance rate would mean an extra $888,000 in funding from the state for PUSD schools, according to the district.
Daniel Ochoa with the Pasadena Unified School District took part in one of the home visitation teams Monday and said the door-knocking effort is aimed at determining exactly why students are showing up.
“It could be financial instability, it could be substance abuse, it could be teen pregnancy, it could be repeated academic failure,” La Suera said.