Governor, State Education Commissioner Commend EHHS for Attendance Efforts
Posted on 10/26/2023
EH Mayor Walsh Speaks at Attendance Press Conference

Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut State Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker and Barbara Dalio from the RISE Network and Dalio Foundation were among the guests at an October 25th press conference focused on attendance. They chose to hold this event at East Hartford High School to recognize the school’s significant efforts to improve chronic absenteeism since returning to school post-pandemic. EHHS has embraced the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program, or LEAP, which prioritizes home visits as a method of engaging with families that are having difficulty sending their children to school. 

Through the attendance team’s LEAP work and their other coordinated efforts, EHHS was able to reduce its chronic absenteeism to 14.3% in the 2022-2023 school year compared to the state average of 23%. 

EHHS Social Worker Antoinette Locke, who coordinates the home visits, says the face-to-face conversations are important so school staff can learn about issues these families may be facing that are barriers to attending school. 

“Through our supports and efforts, going into the homes or meeting wherever families feel comfortable, we’ve been able to help with needs such as food resources, clothing resources. Those are not issues we would necessarily know about by just seeing our kids each day. It allows our families to have a voice,” said Locke. 

One of the students the team visited over the summer was 9th grader Dereon Ellison. Dereon said that visit had a positive impact on her as she was getting ready to start school at EHHS in the fall. 

She said, “They let you build trust and have a connection with some of the staff that come and introduce themselves and tell you about the school over the summer. Just being able to have people that you’re comfortable with.”

The press conference can be viewed in full on YouTube by clicking here