Bennett Elementary starts mentorship program for chronically absent students

March 19th, 2018
Bennett Elementary launched its Attendance Buddies Program with a special ceremony in the auditorium. The "Buddies," from left to right: Wafaa Joumaa (Ed Tech), Kelly Salinas (Ed Tech), Becky Dean (Community Schools Coordinator), Nargis Wahid (Urban Neighborhood Initiatives intern), Yarezi Salinas (Ed Tech), Sanaa Joumaa (Ed Tech), Nicole Pringle (DHHS Success Coach), Deborah LeClerc (Science Teacher), Andrew Rodgers (Computer Teacher), and Larry Leeper (Gym Teacher).

Bennett Elementary in southwest Detroit launched its Attendance Buddies Program last week to encourage chronically absent students to attend school more regularly.

Becky Dean, Southwest Solutions’ Community School Coordinator at Bennett, with her student buddies.

The program targets 36 “Tier 2” students at Bennett who have missed 10-15% of the current school year. Tier 2 students are those who are falling behind on the core curriculum and increasingly need more intensive instruction to catch up. Attendance Buddies matches these students with teachers and support staff who check on the students every day, call home when the students are absent, refer students and their families to needed resources, and develop positive relationships with the students so they feel a greater sense of belonging to the school and a greater commitment to their education going forward.

The Attendance Buddy Program is an initiative of Attendance Works and its implementation at Bennett is facilitated by Becky Dean, Southwest Solutions’ Community School Coordinator at Bennett. The initiative is based upon New York City’s Success Mentor program. and is showing some promising results in reducing chronic absenteeism, when combined with other innovative strategies to create a more engaging school culture.

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