HOUSTON – Sept. 17, 2018 – Hundreds of Spring ISD staff and administrators fanned out across the district on Saturday to reach out to students who have not returned to school and encourage all students to come to school every day.
The event kicked off at Westfield High School where Principal David Mason thanked participants for coming out to support the 2018 Success Walk. Among those at campus were Superintendent Rodney Watson, Board President Rhonda Newhouse, Trustees Justine Durant, Winford Adams Jr., Donald Davis and Deborah Jensen.
“We have a few students who for various reasons don’t finish high school,” Mason said. “Some struggle with life situations, like losing parents or losing homes. We’re here as a support and to help them. The first step is for them to come back to school.”
Across the district, campuses held similar events, rallying their staff and volunteers around the common goal of finding students with attendance problems or those who have dropped out.
By the end of the day, Director of Student Affairs Thomas Graham Jr. estimated that 340 volunteers had traveled hundreds of miles and made nearly 600 contacts with students and families.
Among those success stories was Daniel Dao, who left school in 2017-18 because he had to work two jobs to help support his family. On Saturday, he answered his apartment door to find Superintendent Watson, Chief of School Leadership and Student Support Services Lupita Hinojosa, Trustee Adams and Trustee Jensen.
“I did have truancy issues last year,” Dao said, adding that he wants to finish high school.
With at least 13 credits needed, Dao will have his work cut out for him, but he found plenty of encouragement on Saturday. “We need you to stay focused and committed,” Watson told him. “If you need anything, let us know.”
That scene was replayed multiple times throughout the day as the Spring ISD team knocked on doors and talked to students and parents about the importance of attendance.
“Our students need to be in school to learn. There is nothing more important to their education than coming to school every day,” Watson said. “Research shows what’s at stake. Typically, kids who miss the most school are at greatest risk of dropping out.”
At homes where no one answered the door on Saturday, volunteers left door hangers with important attendance information in both English and Spanish.
Trustee Adams said being able to visit with the students on a personal level was worthwhile and eye-opening.
“It gives important context for the challenges these kids have and why they dropped out in the first place,” he said.