DENVER
02/10/2012 08:51 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2012

John Barry, Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Walks Door To Door To Talk Kids Back To School

The number of habitual truants in Aurora, Colo.'s public schools seem to be dropping since district officials began their door-knocking campaign six years ago.

The campaign seeks to convince students to come back to school by literally knocking on the students' doors and welcoming them back to the classroom. Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry even came along as the group knocked on about 50 doors.

"Every single day is important," Barry told KDVR. "When they disrupt their instruction, it really puts them behind."

Almost half of Aurora Public Schools had no habitual truants or showed some decrease in the percentage of habitual truants last year. Of the 134 students in the 2010-11 truancy program, 73% showed improvement in their rate of unexcused absences. Dropout rates have even decreased in the district for the fifth year in a row.

From the Aurora Sentinel:

"The issue sometimes is establishing a relationship with a student (so) they know you have their truest issue at heart. That's what our truancy specialists do so well," Barry said, adding the district's truancy specialists are responsible for helping nearly 300 truant students return to class since 2007. In terms of per-pupil revenue from the state, that equals about $1.9 million in funding for the district. "The important part is each individual student. Inviting them back gives them a second chance."

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