The first full month of the school year is almost over, but there are still nine more months to go and staff at the Coachella Valley Unified School District wants to remind students and parents not to miss a day.
The district’s Director for Child Welfare and Attendance, Norma Rodriguez, led an early meeting with staff and parent volunteers who gathered to go over a new campaign with the slogan, “Attendance Matters and it Matters to our Community”.
Its purpose is to send a message to the community that school attendance is important for students.
Rodriguez said, “Whether it is an excused absence or excused, it is still and absence and we want to encourage our families to say, ‘let’s keep our children in school’.”
Jesse Telles is a local dad who is helping the cause. He will go out to a neighborhood in Coachella and knock on doors to encourage fellow parents to keep sending their children to school.
Telles said, “Being involved with the kids is good, it is really good, it just helps them and it helps us understand better how to work with them.”
Ten groups of staff and volunteers went door to door with pamphlets and contact information for parents to contact district staff if they need help to keep their students in school.
This is the first year the CVUSD does a foot on the ground campaign and it is starting with the surrounding neighborhoods of its schools in Coachella.
Rodriguez said, “Attendance is improving but like anything, we want to reach 100%.”
The average daily attendance data from the California Department of Education shows just over 1,000 students miss school, out of nearly 19,000 students who are enrolled.
Joey Acuña is the Vice President for the CVUSD Board of Trustees, he said the next step after the campaign is to have an open dialogue with parents on how staff can help improve their student’s attendance.
He said, “It’s is not, kids are just bad kids, we have to look and have that conversation and find out individually why they are not coming.”