One of them was Rafael Rubalcava, a Student Attendance Review Board chair for Los Angeles Unified. "We're here today because today is student recovery day," he told her.
Thursday was L.A. Unified’s student recovery day, so they were one of 13 teams fanned out throughout the area around Manual Arts, knocking on the doors of students who appeared to have dropped out or had a high number of absences. At least six other schools in the district were performing the same tasks Thursday, with the goal of bringing students back to school. The district’s four-year high school dropout rate decreased from 24.7% for the class of 2010 to 17.4% for the class of 2014, according to the state Department of Education.
From Thursday through Tuesday, police have been asked not to give citations to students breaking truancy laws, which make it illegal for minors to be out in public without adults during school hours. The district’s police actually mostly stopped enforcing that rule with punitive actions in 2012, instead bringing most students to their schools and allowing the administration to find the root of the problem instead. This week, the district police also sent a request to about a dozen other law enforcement agencies in the area asking them to do the same, L.A. schools Police Chief Steven Zipperman said.
In the past six years since recovery day began (this year was the seventh), the district has seen almost 4,600 students return because of these home visits, LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer told volunteers Thursday morning. He and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti visited homes on Thursday, and Zimmer established the annual event with current Supt. Ray Cortines in 2009.
It's also an opportunity to help the parents find services regardless of the school they're attending now.
The role the volunteers play is similar to what the school's counselors do every day, but recovery day allows them to do it on a larger scale and early in the year, said Luz Cubias, a pupil services and attendance counselor at Manual Arts. She says she calls homes if students don't show up for three days, and does home visits if they miss a week.
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