BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Friday, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and volunteers knocked on homes and made phone calls to the houses of parents whose children struggled with attendance last school year. Among those visited was the Luna family.
"I am very emotional and excited. Nervous. We didn't expect him," said LAUSD parent Laydi Luna.
According to the district, they spoke to families whose kids were absent 15 days or more last year. The superintendent said last year due to COVID quarantines, more than 50% of their students missed this amount of time and as for nonquarantine families, 30% missed 15 days or more.
"They are losing 10% or more of educational, instructional opportunity. Here's what I know folks, I cannot teach the absent child. Just how I cannot influence the mind whose heart I don't touch. That is why today it is part of our iAttend campaign."
The iAttend campaign is about having councilors and volunteers knock on doors and make phone calls to parents of the students who faced challenges and missed class. This is happening across the entire district to welcome them to a new school year and connect them to resources.
"Our kids, they have been stressed. They have lived through trauma. They have faced crisis," Carvalho said. "We know that a child in crisis is a child who will not learn."
During the visits, school officials handed out essentials like laptops and backpacks for the parents and students. Carvalho said the district has hired enough teachers to make sure there is one in every classroom and has added additional health resources like free meals for all students, and more.
"It is a crazy feeling. I am surprised that people so high up are willing to come help. It is a little bit motivating to see that he came all the way to my house. For sure going to try to not miss a day," said Yodi Luna, Laydi's son.
According to the superintendent, they made about 6,000 visits throughout the entire district to encourage these students to go to attend class ahead of the first day of school.