Truancy is a huge problem in the Erie School District and now the city schools are getting some community help to figure out why and what to do about it.
Here is how some newly hired case managers will combat the issue.
The hiring case manager job is to reach out to students who have been struggling to attend school and help them get motivated to improve their attendance.
The United Way, UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor, and Gannon University are making ways to remove learning barriers.
The two million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be used to combat those barriers.
The grant is being used to hire five case managers. The case managers will work in five different Erie public community schools.
Their job is to figure out why some students aren’t attending classes. Erie Public Schools are seeing the absentee rate increase to 26%.
Some say that online schooling has added some barriers for many students, but hiring these case managers may break those barriers.
“We’re just going to see what’s going on at home, why they’re not going online. Is it internet problems? We also want to go in there and help them and see what’s going on,” said Ashley Moyak, Case Manager at East Middle School.
The initiative is to serve 3,138 high risk low income students.
“I’m very excited to get into the schools and get in contact with the family and kids and remove all of those barriers,” said Aaliyah Grady, Case Manager at Edison Elementary School.
These case managers are willing to work with them. That way students can receive available resources.
“We’ve been working very hard to improve attendance and this is one of the key elements to go to their homes and help family so the kids could show up on time and learn,” said Bill Jackson, President of United Way of Erie County.
All five of the case managers priorities are to increase social, health, and mental health services to students.
The case managers said that improving attendance is the first step to breaking those learning barriers.