PASADENA UNIFIED LAUNCHES “I’M IN!” CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO RETURN TO SCHOOL
District Also Announces Efforts to Boost Student Attendance and a New Twilight School for At-Risk Students
Pasadena, CA—Students who have not yet been to school for the 2013-2014 school year will have visitors Wednesday, Sept. 18 as part of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) “I’m In!” school attendance campaign. Volunteers and staff from PUSD and the city of Pasadena will visit homes across the district to find students who have been chronically absent since August or have not returned to school this academic year to counter the immediate and long-term effects of chronic absenteeism.
During the Sept. 18 student recovery day, volunteers 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 prevent them from attending school. Counselors and staff will offer on the spot help and support to bring them back to school to complete their education.
“Our schools are working at an accelerated pace and a single day of missed instruction can adversely affect the student’s academic progress,” said PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. “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 is also important to the district’s financial bottom line. 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. 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.
The “I’m In!” campaign is part of an overall district strategy to monitor and prevent excessive absences by students at all grade levels as well as provide options to students who would drop out of school because of the inability to attend school during the traditional academic day.
In October, PUSD will begin using Attention to Attendance (A2A), a program that links with the district’s student information system to monitor absences and automatically generate and mail letters to parents/guardians when students are truant three times, more than 30 minutes late to school or class, or have excessive excused and unexcused absences. A2A will also allow schools to document interventions and develop solutions in partnership between the student, family and local resources.
In addition to letters being sent to the home, PUSD will be calling the homes of students who are not at school in both the midmorning and in the evening to notify parents that their child was not in school. These automated messages from School Messenger, the districts’ parental notification service, are designed to ensure that the school and parents/guardians are on the same page when it comes to the daily whereabouts of students.
On Sept. 23, PUSD’s Twilight school will open its doors, providing several different programs for Pasadena area students. Among the options are classes for students who are not on track to graduate or those who need to remediate D and F grades for college readiness; diploma options for older students who would benefit from a non-traditional school schedule to meet requirements for graduation and ease the transition to community college; and a GED program for adult students who wish to earn their diploma.
Twilight school hours are from 4 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and classes will initially be held at Rose City High School. The credit classes will use blended instruction where students will receive both direct and online instruction. Career development and English language development classes will also be offered. Interested individuals that are not currently attending a PUSD school should contact Jack Loos at (626) 396-5883 or firstname.lastname@example.org to enroll.
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Editor’s Note: Media wishing to be imbedded with Student Recovery Teams are asked to call (626) 396-3606 or email email@example.com. Media will also have the opportunity to meet with PUSD and City of Pasadena volunteers at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Pasadena High School Little Theater, 2925 East Sierra Madre Boulevard in Pasadena (Enter off of Washington Boulevard).
For Immediate Release: September 17, 2013
News MediaContact: Adam Wolfson, PUSD Communications Director, (626) 396-3606, firstname.lastname@example.org