When Liz Duvall, principal of Central Elementary school, looks at a list students who are chronically late or absent from school, she notices a concerning trend: Her youngest students, kindergartners and first graders, make up the bulk of those who miss class most often.
Even with the list, however, there’s no way for Duvall to understand all the barriers keeping students out.
She can’t see that a 7-year-old’s mom works the third shift, so getting to school means a trolley ride, a bus transfer and a 15-minute walk. Or that another 6-year-old needs to wait for a ride from grandma, and by the time she corrals him and his two older brothers, they’re inevitably late for school.
Knowing those things requires someone to invest the time to look into it. But under a new pilot program being rolled out at Central and two other campuses, that’s exactly what would happen.