DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Halfway through the school year and some 12,000 Dallas ISD students — in all grades — just aren’t coming to class.

So, an effort called Operation Comeback looks to get students reengaged. On Saturday that means a door-to-door effort to reach those with the most to lose: Class of 2021 seniors.

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“Man, y’all have taken senior skip day to the extreme!” said Vince Reyes, Asst. Supt. School Leadership leading the effort. “Come on man, it’s time to come back to school and finish up!”

Levity aside, Reyes knows that a socially distanced ceremony is not the worst academic consequence of the ongoing pandemic. Too many Dallas ISD seniors are in danger of not graduating at all.

So Operation Comeback is all about providing resources, encouragement and support.

“It’s not too late,” said Reyes. “We have programs like our reconnection centers, and our evening academies that these students can take advantage of to get caught up on credits. And an outstanding summer program.”

Central office volunteers this week have already been working to reach families by phone.

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“Stories have been very touching and very disheartening,” said Leslie Swann. “Everyone in the family needing to work so they can survive! Parents are appreciative that someone cared enough to reach out to them– and they were shocked!”

Working in pairs, masked and socially distanced, district staffers on Saturday will start knocking on doors, looking to offer resources to those still missing.

“When people don’t know, it’s not an option for them,” said Swann. The goal, staffers say, is to show students and their families that the district cares about their next steps.

“It’s not a cliche that education opens doors,” said Reyes, “that’s not a cliche. That’s reality and it starts with that high school diploma. We are committed to working with our kids and our families.”

So if a Dallas ISD staffer flashes a badge and rings the doorbell Saturday morning, breathe, step back and — “Open the door,” said Swann, “and engage with us!”

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