MEMPHIS, TN – Monday, August 26, 2013 – Students enrolled in certain Shelby County middle and elementary schools will be rewarded for perfect attendance this school year with a brand new bike.
Students at schools participating in the District Attorney General’s Truancy Reduction Program are eligible for this program thanks to the generosity of the Hyde Family Foundation.
“We are in these schools everyday stressing the importance of attendance. We thought it was important to reward those who are listening to our message. Thankfully, the Hyde Family Foundation quickly agreed to fund this idea,” said District Attorney General Amy Weirich. “We want all our kids in school everyday and riding a new bike in June.”
The students must have perfect attendance (no absences and no tardy occurrences) during this school year (2013-2014). Each student achieving perfect attendance will receive a new bicycle at the end of the school year. The Hyde Family Foundation has committed to purchasing bicycles for students who achieve perfect attendance.
The Truancy Reduction Program includes approximately 7,500 students in seven (7) middle schools and five (5) elementary schools:
Elementary Schools: Middle Schools:
Ford Road Chickasaw
Hickory Ridge Georgian Hills
Westwood Hickory Ridge
During the academic year 2005-06 the District Attorney General’s office conducted a review of crime statistics and truancy data. The results of the review revealed that one-quarter of juvenile crime in Memphis occurred during school hours away from school campuses, presumably involving truant or expelled students. The District Attorney General’s office determined that juvenile delinquency prevention and deterrence could be achieved by intervention efforts designed to directly address school truancy.
In response to these findings, the SCDAG’s Truancy Reduction Program was launched during the 2006-07 school year. The purpose was to identify at-risk students with excessive unexcused absences in Memphis City Schools (now Shelby County Schools) and to provide assistance to students, parents and faculty to reduce the truancy rates in selected middle schools. Since then truancy has been reduced in each of the participating schools.
Involvement in the D.A.’s Truancy Reduction Program is completely voluntary. Most parents are encouraged by the truancy program’s support model and the majority agree to participate. The program offers an early intervention strategy that affirms parental responsibility, provides academic support and encouragement to students, strengthens the relationships between the public and local law enforcement and enhances the Shelby County School’s mission to educate our community’s children. The District Attorney’s Truancy Mentoring program matches truant students with qualified and trained mentors who work with them to emphasize the importance of attending school daily.
The Shelby County District Attorney General's Truancy Mentors are volunteers from throughout the community. They are recruited from local businesses, churches, and other volunteer organizations. Mentors commit to work with the student for at least one calendar year and are encouraged to make weekly contact with the child and provide opportunities for interactions and outings outside of school. Once a Mentor has been assigned to a student, the program continues to monitor the student’s attendance and behavioral records. Monitoring is done through regular contact with the Mentor and a Mentor Advocate from the District Attorney's Office.
The Mentoring-Based Truancy Reduction Program is always in need of additional mentors. Interested volunteers can contact the Shelby County District Attorney General's Truancy Mentoring Program Coordinator Harold Collins at 901-222-1395, or interested citizens can visit the District Attorney General’s website to download and complete the mentor application. (http://www.scdag.com/images/mentoring/MentorApplication.pdf)