Redford Union Schools Fighting Student Attendance Problems

Redford Union High School lost one of its leaders Tuesday with the passing of Mike Humitz.

Redford Union Schools is partnering with a Washington D.C-based consulting firm to help improve student attendance during the upcoming 2018-19 school year. On Tuesday, the district sent a letter to parents announcing the partnership as part of its plans to attack attendance issues head-on.

Concentric Educational Solutions, Inc. is tasked with gathering information about causes of the problem by making direct contact with families and students. Founded in 2010, the company has worked with students in more than 100 schools across 15 states.

“We want to ensure that there is an improvement in attendance amongst our students throughout the district by collaborating with you, as parents, regarding the importance of good attendance,” Redford Union Superintendent Dr. Sarena Shivers wrote in the letter. “The most exciting component of this partnership is how we will directly impact you and your child.

“Throughout the school year, in conjunction with our school, Impact Team Members will be conducting informational home visits directly to you.”

Impact Team members will initially consist of Concentric staffers. Redford Union employees will eventually join the teams, Shivers said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. The idea is to address the problem sooner rather than later, she said.

“We can’t wait until the fall to build systems of support for families that have had a hard time getting their kids to school,” Shivers said.

Neither the letter to parents or her remarks Monday fully detailed all of the elements that will be included in the district’s plan. Shivers did say efforts would be phased.

Students with 36 or more absences during the 2017-18 school year will be included in phase 1 and students between 26-35 absences in phase 2. Shivers said Concentric has worked with Michigan schools in Ecorse, Battle Creek and River Rouge, among others.

Impact Team home visits will be among first steps.

“The home visits will assist us in gathering information from you and your child to better help break through the barriers that are preventing our students from attending school regularly,” Shivers wrote.

Opting Out

Parents will be able to opt out of home visits if they choose, she added. Opt out requests can be done in writing in person or via US mail to the district central office, located at 17715 Brady Street.

Email can also be used at: Attendancematters@redfordu.k12.mi.us. The child’s name, grade, and school must be included in the email.

Concentric has conducted more than 50,000 home visits since starting out, according to the company’s website. Concentric’s goal is to help “schools develop and maintain effective social and behavioral infrastructure leading to improved academic performance.”

Besides home visits, Concentric provides “culture and climate support” as well as:

  • Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS)
  • Restorative Practices
  • Leadership Institutes