District Attorney and Superintendent Announce Fifth Consecutive Year of Truancy Reduction in San Francisco

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, SFDA’s Office, (415) 553-1167 or (415) 740-5134
Heidi Anderson, SFUSD, (415) 241-6565

(San Francisco) – At Philip and Sala Burton High School today, District Attorney George Gascón and Superintendent Richard Carranza kicked off the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year by announcing that, for the fifth year in a row, San Francisco has reduced the number of habitually and chronically absent children enrolled in its public schools.

Joined by San Francisco Board of Education President Norman Yee; Burton High School Principal Bill Kappenhagen; Tacing Parker, Director of the Urban Services YMCA-run Truancy Assessment and Resource Center (TARC), District Attorney Gascón and Superintendent Carranza spoke of the successful partnership between the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to keep students in school.

“Students who drop out of school are more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or homeless. In San Francisco, a staggering 94 percent of young murder victims were high school dropouts,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “The successful partnership between the DA’s Office, SFUSD, and YMCA saves lives by intervening early with chronic and habitual truant students and getting them on track to graduate.”

“Success in school begins with being in school,” said Superintendent Richard Carranza. “Students who are struggling academically are often those who miss the most days of school. We need to continue this kind of partnership to directly address the achievement gap that continues to affect our most vulnerable youth in San Francisco.”

Since 2007 when the partnership to combat truancy between the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and SFUSD began, there has been a 38 percent decline in truancy for chronically and habitual absent students. This year there was a 12 percent reduction in the number of chronically and habitual absent students from the 2010-2011 to 2011-2012 school year.

The District Attorney also announced that his office will fund the Burton High School Truancy Program for a second year. The program, funded by criminal justice funds from the District Attorney’s Office, helps approximately twenty formerly truant students successfully transition in the ninth grade. Students, identified using San Francisco Unified School District’s early warning indicators’ data, receive individual case management provided by the Truancy Assessment and Resource Center.

Families in need of attendance -related assistance are encouraged to contact SFUSD by calling 415-695-5543.