Rochester, N.Y.--Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says there are 1,400 students who have missed 50 days of school or more in the city school district this year.
Some of the most startling statistics to Vargas pertain to the number of elementary students who have missed significant time at school.
At General Elwell S. School 30, the attendance rate is 86 percent, meaning 14 percent of students have been absent this year.
It represents a drop in attendance of five percent compared to November 2011, according to school district records.
"When a first grader does not show up to school, for the most part (that) is an adult issue," said Vargas.
There are a bevy of plans Vargas has discussed to deal with truancy since last year when he was named full-time superintendent.
District and government officials as well as leaders from local community agencies knocked on doors of chronically absent students several weeks ago to speak with their parents. The door knocking effort will continue, according to Vargas.
Vargas said he has reached out to the faith community, local community agencies to go along with parents in efforts to further combat truancy.
The latest concept is a new approach to social service line 211.
"We're going to be able to tailor the responses that our tele-counselors give to people calling because they truancy issues," said Patricia Davis, Community Investment Director at the United Way.
Callers are kept anonymous but data tracked through 2-1-1 should reveal useful information regarding the reasons students are truant in addition to providing better responses to callers.
There are still changes that will need to be made to the 211 database according to Davis before the newly adjusted hotline is ready. It could be set by the end of the year according to Davis.