Dallas ISD officials going door-to-door to get their students back to school

Dallas ISD is seeing a record amount of habitually absent students since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

When trying to ask families about the absences, the district is not getting responses from some. So now, it’s going door-to-door to get kids back in school.

Dallas ISD leaders are going door-to-door to visit absent students, like 17-year-old Jadon, a junior at Kimball High School in Oak Cliff, who said he’s been learning remotely, but admits, he’s skipping classes.

"Out of the 10 classes, I usually attend about like five, five to six," Jadon said. "I’m not going to lie, like, when I’m done with school I go to work. So like, most of the time, I felt unmotivated to go just to like log in and everything."

It’s a difficult time for students like Jadon.

"Chaotic. I’m going to be honest. It’s very chaotic," he said.

But his father recently realized something has to change.

"So I had to enroll him back up to the school because of the fact that his grades was slipping," his father said. "He’s going in-person now."

Dallas ISD, like many districts across the country, is seeing a record amount of absences. District leaders are now checking in on families they’ve been unable to reach by phone.

"Doing this is going to help us learn more about what’s in the way," Dallas ISD Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova said.

The district doesn’t believe connectivity issues are to blame, saying it’s delivered computer and internet access to those needing it.

"We’re serious about helping. We’re serious about getting back in school, whether it’s virtual, in-person, evening academy - our reconnect center," said Vince Reyes, assistant superintendent of school leadership. "We’re serious about supporting you and helping you get across that stage."

There are 9,000 Dallas ISD high school students who are habitually absent this school year, and there are nearly an additional 3,000 when you add middle and elementary school students.

"We have a lot of work to do," Reyes said.

Six groups visited dozens of addresses Saturday for the district’s first in-person check-ins.

FOX 4 tagged along. At some homes, no one answered, and at one check-in, neighbors said the family who was living there moved.

During another check, a parent said their child is now at another school, but the paperwork doesn’t necessarily match the story.

"But, technically, they’re not enrolled because they would’ve requested records from us and we could’ve verified their withdrawal," one district official said.

In the meantime, the district hopes it can encourage more students to move forward with their education.

Dallas ISD officials said they are not looking to reprimand students who have missed class. They just want to help get them back on course.

They’ll be knocking on doors every Saturday this month.