Richmond summit to battle truancy at WCCUSD schools

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Now that schools are back in session, a renewed effort is being made to keep West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) students in classrooms.

Now that schools are back in session, a renewed effort is underway to keep West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) students in classrooms.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Building Blocks for Kids Richmond Collaborative is holding a summit aimed at battling the long-running problem of truancy at WCCUSD schools. The summit, which brings together parents, students, educators, service providers and even businesses to tackle the issue, will be held in the Bermuda Room at Richmond Civic Center, 403 Civic Center Plaza.

Participants are expected to leave the event with “commitments to implement the key strategies generated at the summit, and to track our collective accomplishments,” organizers said. Here’s the event agenda:

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The district’s truancy rate in the 2012-13 school year was double the statewide rate, largely because it serves many poor families who may not have the luxury to prioritize school attendance.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, who has been pushing a package of bills to better track and mitigate truancy in California schools, says truant students are more likely to drop out of school and enter a life of crime. School districts also take a hit because federal funding is based on attendance.

Below are some data provided by the California Department of Education on WCCUSD truancy rates for the 2012-13 year. As stated below, a student is classified as truant when he or she is absent or tardy without a valid excuse for more than 30 minutes three times in a school year:

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