Truancy costs society trillions of dollars in lost tax revenue and associated costs that come from a lack of education – crime, gang violence, drug use and extreme poverty. Through the lifetime, truancy costs an individual student as much as $700,000 due to lost earning potential.
Truancy has a distressing effect on the administration and teachers of Dohn Community High School. They have worked with the truant students earlier in the school year and know both the students’ potential and the future that awaits when a student does not return to school.
Wanting to change this outcome, Ramone Davenport, Director, has designed a plan to tackle truancy through direct contact. Backed by a team of dedicated teachers, Dohn Community High School launched Street Teams on April 11, 2017. Pairs of teachers, Davenport included, visit each truant student’s home, and discuss with the student and family why the student is not in school. Once the root cause is determined, it can be addressed.
Whether it is a lack of transportation, a learning deficit, family responsibility, an unresolved social or emotional circumstance, Davenport and Dohn teachers want to know. They want to work with the student and family to address the need, and get the student back in school.
Reasons for truancy are individual for each student, however, a common causative factor is the inability to assimilate in a school setting – these students fell through the cracks in elementary school and have not been able to bridge that gap and stay in high school.
Davenport and his teacher stand in their responsibility for being a drop-out prevention school. They know learning is a key to success and high school is a last educational gateway for turning a life around. Street Teams is an information gathering, resolution promoting effort, and this outreach represents a personal approach to each student and his or her family.
The Street Teams outreach continues until each truant student has been reached. What is learned will be assessed in a root cause analysis and applied to programming and teacher/student interventions for the 2017-2018 academic year.