Haverhill Promise Gives $500 to Each Elementary School for Events to Reduce Absenteeism

Haverhill Promise Director Jessica Kallin. (WHAV News photograph.)

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Keeping kids in school is one of the most important keys for student success. That is the philosophy of Haverhill Promise, a group of teachers, parents, health personnel and business leaders who are putting their money where their beliefs are.

Dr. Jessica Kallin, director of Haverhill Promise, addressed the Haverhill School Committee last week to discuss the importance of school attendance and the downfalls of chronic absenteeism.  Research shows as few as two absences per month translates to 18 per year or 10% of the school year. Students who fall into this category tend to have more trouble reading and, ultimately, a higher rate of high school drop-out.

Kallin said, realizing this, Haverhill Promise has created a school attendance group to find ways to encourage students and inform their families regarding the importance of attending classes.

“We are really looking at a working group to leverage existing activities, to communicate the importance of good attendance and to offer support through events like back-to-school night, family orientations and parent-teacher conferences,” she said.

Kallin said students tend to respond most positively in an environment that offers a sense of safety and belonging. She said that can best be accomplished through events to integrate students and their families.

To help in that endeavor, Haverhill Promise is donating $500 to each of the city’s seven elementary schools to be used to support those types of events.

Kallin said her group welcomes people who would like to volunteer to work with her agency. She said working groups include kindergarten readiness and summer learning in addition to school attendance. More information may be found at haverhillpromise.com.

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