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SBCUSD Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Recovering Truant Students

SBCUSD Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Recovering Truant Students
Posted on 08/17/2017
SBCUSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kennon Mitchell meet with a student on the steps to his home during an August 2012 Operation Student Recovery event.Thursday, August 17, 2017, marks the 21st Operation Student Recovery event and the 10th anniversary of a program that has a 95 percent success rate.

Operation Student Recovery was launched by the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) in February 2007 in an effort to make personal connections with the families of truant students with the goal of getting those students back in school and rescuing them from a bleak future.

Truancy is being absent from school without a valid excuse. According to “The High Cost of Truancy,” a report by the nonpartisan policy institute the Center for American Progress, students who are frequently truant are more likely to drop out of school; be unemployed, underemployed, or have low-wage jobs; or end up in prison. The study further states that “by as early as sixth grade, high truancy rates become a distinct predictor of whether or not a student will graduate from high school.”

Based on similar findings reported in other, earlier studies, SBCUSD Youth Services Director Ray Culberson, with the support of the administration at the time, conceived of Operation Student Recovery. A few weeks after the start of each semester, teams of District managers and city leaders make personal visits to the homes of students who have been excessively truant. The goal is to show families that District staff cares about each and every student and wants to help students succeed. It’s also a chance to better understand the specific barriers that each family faces in getting their children to school on time every day.

During the 2014–2015 school year, Tori*, a San Bernardino High School (SBHS) sophomore, had a 73.8 percent attendance rate. That meant he was absent from school without a valid reason for more than a quarter of the school year. Tori’s frequent absences had caused him to fail several classes and fall behind on credits, making it unlikely that he would graduate with the Class of 2017.

During an Operation Student Recovery visit, District staff learned that Tori was facing many barriers to good attendance. The Youth Services staff, with assistance from the Making Attendance a Priority program arranged for Tori to see a school counselor and also connected Tori’s family with counseling services. The staff enrolled Tori in a credit-recovery program, which is designed specifically to help students who are behind in earning credits. With the support of District staff and hard work on Tori’s part, he graduated with the Class of 2017.

On average, 95 percent of students who receive personal visits during Operation Student Recovery return to school that day or the next day. The most common difficulty parents cite for their child’s absences is a lack of reliable transportation to get their children to and from school.

Operation Student Recovery teams will meet at the Board of Education building, 777 North F Street, at 8 a.m. on August 17 before heading out to visit students’ homes. The event will end at approximately noon at Youth Services, located at the West Highland Administrative Annex (WHAA).

*Student’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

777 North F Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410 | Phone: (909) 381-1100 | Fax:

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