Here’s how Detroit public schools is battling against chronic absenteeism

Approximately 350 students are still virtual

Detroit Public School Community District is preparing for a crucial day for Michigan Public Schools. Tuesday (Oct. 5) is Count Day, an opportunity to gain nearly $10,000 in state funding per student. Yet, chronic absenteeism continues to plague DPSCD. DPSCD hired a team of attendance agents a few years ago to find the cause of why students were not coming to school.

DETROIT – The Detroit Public School Community District is preparing for a crucial day for Michigan Public Schools.

Tuesday (Oct. 5) is Count Day, an opportunity to gain nearly $10,000 in state funding per student. Yet, chronic absenteeism continues to plague DPSCD.

DPSCD hired a team of attendance agents a few years ago to find the cause of why students were not coming to school.

“Kids being tardy to school, if it’s excessive, you want to find out why,” said Effie Harris, an attendance agent at Gompers Elementary-Middle School. “You’re investigating early pickups. If kids are leaving school early, you want to find out why and, of course, when kids are not in school on a regular basis.”

A phone call home to parents is often a start to finding solutions to the problem. Once the issue is addressed, resources can be provided to the parents. The resources available can range from transportation to clothes and even financial support.

Harris said that it’s okay to struggle, yet it is not okay to give up while you are struggling. She would like to see parents overcome the barriers that they are facing.

Gloria Vanhoosier, a mother of five, opened up to Harris about some of her struggles.

“I was trying to be superwoman, you know, a lot of overwhelming things which cause stress, depression,” said Vanhoosier.

The pandemic is still affecting families and the district. Approximately 350 students are still virtual. DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said he and the school district are committed to meeting the needs of parents.

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About the Authors:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.