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City Leaders Knocking On Doors To Find School Dropouts

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school desk 51916024 City Leaders Knocking On Doors To Find School Dropouts

Students work at their desks in front of the empty desk. (credit: Rabih Moghrabi/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This Saturday the Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington Independent School Districts will have city and school leaders out knocking on the doors of possible middle and high school dropouts.

The Fort Worth program to reduce high school dropout numbers is called Prevail 2 Graduation – in Dallas and Arlington, it’s Operation Graduation.

Prevail 2 Graduation will have the Fort Worth mayor and head of schools taking to the streets.

Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond said, “The interim superintendent, Walter Dansby, he is going to be accompanied by Mayor Betsy Price and [Fort Worth ISD] board trustee Christene Moss.”

With the goal of increasing Fort Worth graduation rates, during Saturday’s Stay-in-School Walk city leaders and volunteers have the chance to interact with individual family units.

“Take the opportunity to reach out to students who have already missed a day or more of school, since school started, and just impress upon them and their parents the importance of attending everyday,” said Bond.

The Fort Worth ISD door-to-door campaign and a recently held phone bank is the district’s way of stepping up attempts to contact as many non-enrolled students as possible.

“We sit down and call the numbers, last numbers that we’ve had for these students, and in many cases we’ve been able to reduce the [no show] numbers at schools significantly,” Bond said.

Not every student listed on the no-show lists has dropped out or is truant. Bond said that often when someone goes to a student’s house no one answers the door – with good reason. “Sometimes students move and they don’t tell us,” he said. “So, we just want to make sure that they’re in school.”

Of the 13 high schools in the Fort Worth ISD there are less than 300 dropouts, but the goal is to get the number lower.

For Arlington’s Operation Graduation walk, the message is simple, keeping kids in school is integral to their lifelong success.

Arlington hopes to make an impact on their home visits.  In an emailed press release, Arlington ISD’s Dropout Prevention Director Wendy Carrington said the visits “Are vital to show the students the support that is available to them.”

Volunteers will join Arlington superintendent Jerry McCoullough and Mayor Robert Cluck in the walk from 8 a.m. to noon, and all of the Arlington ISD high schools will be open until 1:00 p.m. to re-enroll students.

This is the fourth year that city leaders in Dallas will take part in the Operation Graduation initiative.

There, Mayor Mike Rawlings will be joined by Interim DISD Superintendent Alan King and DISD Board President Lew Blackburn walking through neighborhoods to talk with potential student dropouts.

Teams of other DISD volunteers will also be out canvassing neighborhoods and talking with students and parents.

If and when DISD students who haven’t been to school are located they will have the opportunity to sign up for school that same day. The majority of DISD middle and high schools will be open from 9 a.m. until Noon to accommodate students, previously listed as “no shows”, who want to enroll in class and return to school.

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