BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — This school year has been like no other, however, East Baton Rouge Schools are still striving to keep students connected.
EBR’s Child Welfare And Attendance’s (CWA) mission is to make sure every child is getting a quality education, starting with attending school.
CWA Director Tirzah Smith said, “Nationally, you can see this on the news that there had been some gaps during this pandemic times with remote learning. We are trying to keep them engaged so they are not falling back academically.”
CWA Supervisor Christie Hitchens said, “We are also called in as well to serve as an intervention. and to find out if there is something that is hindering them from proper school attendance
CWA Supervisor Rebel Ellerbee said, “We spend a lot more time out in the field visiting homes and also on the phone trying to find out where kids might be.”
They partnered with other community entities to combat attendance issues.
EBR Truancy Assessment And Service Center Director Jennie Ponder said, “We want the family to not only go to school but have a positive connection with a school.”
Judge, EBR Juvenile Court (Division B) Gail Grover said, “Those cases where it is warranted, we also connect mentors with the families so that these individuals come alongside the family and the youth to help encourage educational success.”
With COVID-19 and virtual learning keeping students engaged and connected is more important than ever.
“Things like parents losing jobs …they can’t provide basic needs and of course if you can’t provide basic needs then children are less likely to be successful in school,” said Smith.
Many parents ensured that their child was not only present physically, but also mentally.
EBR Schools virtual parent Mushunda Williams explained, “I’ve had the experience of trying to set up a schedule that’s conducive for her learning, make sure she is in the correct setting as far as her learning.”
Even through the pandemic EBR hoped to combat attendance issues one child at a time.
CWA Mavis Lewis said, “But it’s the most rewarding place to be in East Baton Rouge Parish.”
“At the end of the day, once you help that one family and you feel that success…that can make your whole entire week,” said Hitchens.
EBR schools have resources available for students who maybe struggling to access virtual, or in-person learning.