Boston Schools Are Starting, Volunteers Knock On Doors For Dropout Outreach

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ROXBURY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — With the first day of school starting on Thursday in Boston Public Schools, canvassing teams spent Wednesday morning knocking on doors to encourage students who dropped out of school to come back to the classroom and continue their education.

The Boston Private Industry Council partnered with Boston Public Schools for the fifth annual Dropout Outreach Day. Volunteers gathered at the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building before setting out to knock on about 400 doors, focusing on neighborhoods in Roxbury and Dorchester.

"More and more of our students are working to help pay the bills, they're feeling isolated from the pandemic in general," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said at the event.

The pandemic caused more students to drop out of school than normal. A study done by the Center for Global Development showed that there was there were much higher rates of "learning loss" and dropouts among students of lower socioeconomic status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neil Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Boston Private Industry Council told WBZ's James Rojas he is confident they will get students to come back to school.

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"We will bring back over a hundred students for sure, students who either left high school without a diploma or students who have been chronically absent," Sullivan said.

The Boston Private Industry Council works to help Boston residents follow a career path. They believe employment has the ability to bring people out of poverty while strengthening and diversifying the local economy and employers.

"We show up at the doors and say "hey we're ready, come on back" and then we give them the phone number, we get their contact information, and give it to the staff at the Re-Engagement Center which is PIC staff as well as BPS staff and that's how we bring them back," Sullivan said.

The Re-Engagement Center is the only BPS program tailored to getting dropouts re-enrolled in school, according to Boston Public Schools.

WBZ's James Rojas (JamesRojasNews) has more:

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