Getting There

The consequences of not showing up for class can be far-reaching.

WUWM's Getting There series explores school attendance around Milwaukee, and efforts underway to improve the numbers.

Rachel Morello

This week, WUWM’s “Getting There” series is looking at the issue of truancy in Milwaukee’s public schools. Today, we look to the end of the school year with parents and school leaders.

Rachel Morello

This week, WUWM’s “Getting There” series is looking into the issue of truancy in Milwaukee’s public schools. Today, we visit another group working to improve attendance rates in MPS buildings.

It’s just after seven o’clock on a Thursday morning at Milwaukee’s Rogers Street Academy.

Eight young adults, ranging in age from 18 to 24, line the hallways. Their cheers welcome students for another day of class.

“G-O-O-D-M-O-R-N-I-N-G, good morning! Good morning!” they chant.

Rachel Morello

It’s day three of our WUWM’s “Getting There” series exploring the issue of truancy in Milwaukee’s public schools. Yesterday, we heard what other cities are trying to get kids to school. Today, we learn more about what’s happening in MPS.

Martha Dalton/WABE

This week, WUWM's "Getting There" series explores school attendance around Milwaukee. Today, we examine what other cities have tried to get students in their seats. 

The year was 2011. The truancy rate in New York City public schools had hit 20 percent

District leaders decided to try something new and simple: calling the kids who weren’t showing up.

Don Harder, Flickr

The word ‘truancy’ has one, clear definition: "the act or condition of being absent without permission." Some refer to it as ‘playing hooky.’ It’s also called absenteeism. Whichever way you spin it, it means you’re not showing up for classes.

When Dexter Weaver was a kid, as far as school was concerned, truancy was a four-letter-word.

“I had to go to school unless I was bleeding, or vomiting - a lot!” Weaver jokes. “Other than that, I was in school.”