Watch CBS News

Baltimore's public school system connects with families through Super Outreach Sunday

Baltimore's public school system connects with families through Super Outreach Sunday
Baltimore's public school system connects with families through Super Outreach Sunday 02:49

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore City Public Schools used a forum known as "Super Outreach Sunday" to connect with the parents and guardians of its students on Sunday.

This was an effort to create a partnership with students who had 10 or more absences this school year, according to Tanya Crawford-Williams, the Office of Student Conduct & Attendance coordinator. But it fell slightly short of the school district's goals.

"There are still a few hundred students that we still want to connect with to figure out why they have not been attending school, what barriers their families may be experiencing, and how we can support them," she said.

School staff said that support consists of assistance through the school district and citywide resources.

The phone bank follows similar summertime efforts where staff sent letters, made calls to guardians, and knocked on doors in the community to better understand what stopped students from attending class.

Staff members learned during their endeavors that Baltimore is enduring difficulties seen in other cities in the aftermath of the first few waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Baltimore City seems to be along with what most of the nation has experienced, especially with the pandemic, that we have families that just moved, that are experiencing homelessness, job loss, poverty," Crawford-Williams said. "And so, we have students that are missing days not just unexcused but on excused days due to illness."

The reason school officials chose to conduct their "super outreach" forum on Sunday is because at that time, most people are at home watching the Baltimore Ravens or another football team square off against a competitor, Crawford-Williams said.

"They may have more time to talk to us because they're not at work or they're not trying to get to work, so we figured why not," she said.

Some children may have difficulties re-adjusting to a school schedule after the deadly COVID-19 pandemic pushed them into hiding for a period of time.

"A lot of it is them not coming back in, afraid of the pandemic, and basically things have been laxed so long that it's going to be hard for them to get back into the routine of showing up every day," said William Mentzer of Baltimore.

That's why Baltimore Public City Schools hopes to find ways to accommodate students and parents, including those who miss school to help support their families.

There are individualized learning plans to ensure working students are still able to earn class credit, Crawford-Williams added.

"I want parents to really understand that we are here to partner with them and that whatever support they need, we will try to get them to that," Crawford-Williams said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.