Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion

Raising attendance rates in Baltimore City schools [Letter]

We read with interest Baltimore City schools CEO Gregory Thornton's commentary about the challenges ahead for the city's schools ("Much work to be done," Aug. 25).

As he indicates, one of the greatest barriers to student achievement is attendance, where there is still substantial work to do. Baltimore continues to suffer from rampant truancy and chronic absenteeism.

What can we do to address this crisis? Since 2005, the University of Baltimore School of Law and its partners have worked with the schools to operate a Truancy Court Program, an early intervention, non-adversarial, non-punitive approach to truancy that aims to identify why children are not attending school and then attempts to resolve the underlying problems or causes.

The program brings together district and circuit court judges along with masters who volunteer to meet with truant students and their parents or caregivers along with a team of school administrators, teachers, social workers, mentors, attorneys and UB law students.

The program has served nearly 2,000 students and their families, with the majority of students seeing substantial and lasting gains in both attendance and academic performance.

The success of the program is due largely to the powerful combination of compelling role models, compassionate mentors and tutors, firm discipline and a caring team that surrounds students and their families with consistent, ongoing support.

We have witnessed the miracles that can result from taking an interest in a child's life, listening closely to parents and caregivers, and developing a collaborative solution to the problems that underlie truant behavior.

We look forward to collaborating with Mr. Thornton to ensure that every child in Baltimore City attends school regularly, graduates and becomes a productive member of our community.

Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, director and senior fellow of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • A perpetual hot seat [Commentary]
    A perpetual hot seat [Commentary]

    Baltimore's new schools CEO is under pressure as he starts on the job

  • Baltimore's progress at risk
    Baltimore's progress at risk

    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other Baltimore leaders are mobilizing to fight some of the cuts in state aid to the city in Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. They're not alone among local leaders in objecting to the new governor's spending plan, but they have a strong argument that Baltimore is...

  • Baltimore school funding [Poll]
    Baltimore school funding [Poll]
  • Fund the student, not the college
    Fund the student, not the college

    President Obama's "America's College Promise" plan proposes to make the first two years of community college free to address a number of concerns: American competitiveness, inequality and the bad odds that less advantaged students face in obtaining good jobs.

  • Googling America's sex life
    Googling America's sex life

    Google knows my dress size and that I wear flats. It knows I do yoga, and it is always trying to sell me clothes to wear to class.

  • Improper race and religion references in Adnan Syed trial
    Improper race and religion references in Adnan Syed trial

    The trial that culminated in the 2000 conviction of Adnan Syed has been a hotly debated subject in recent weeks, largely because of the popular "Serial" podcast that examined the case. That debate will no doubt intensify in light of a brief that Mr. Syed's current counsel filed this month...

Comments
Loading