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 SARB Dropout Summit Kicks-Off 2008-2009 School Year

​Three local school districts were once again honored by the District Attorney, Juvenile Probation, and County Office of Education for their successful efforts at dropout prevention.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District, Grossmont Union High School District, and Vista Unified School District were among 10 districts statewide to be cited for the multi-faceted work of their School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) to provide children and families with the help they need to keep students in schools.

At the first of nine Dropout Prevention Summit meetings scheduled this school year, the three model districts were highlighted and their successful strategies shared with dozens of school personnel from throughout the county.

“This is the largest and most informative kick-off summit that we’ve had,” said SARB leader Steve Fraire, Program Manager of Student Support Services at the County Office of Education. “Each year we add components and tools on how to deal with dropout prevention and new ways to do interventions with kids. We now have the capabilities of holding individuals accountable for their child’s absence in school.”

The standing-room-only workshop was comprised of SARB members, law enforcement and probation department representatives, and intervention specialists, and proved to be beneficial to all tackling the dropout issue.

“If students aren’t on solid ground by the third grade, that’s when they start to disengage,” Fraire said. “It is our duty to work with parents and families to elevate attendance and get children on that solid educational ground.”

Juvenile Court Judge Browder Willis was a keynote speaker at the summit along with representatives from each model SARB district. Grossmont Union High School District discussed strategies for dropout prevention providing key goals and alternative education programs for students in their district. Chula Vista Elementary School District focused on the importance of home visits and Vista Unified discussed the school attendance review and the importance of early intervention and poor attendance patterns with students in elementary.

The SDCOE is the only county office in the state that has all SARB components and agencies working collaboratively to try and solve this issue, according to Willis. “Several organizations and counties look to the County Office of Education for leadership and innovative ways to deal with drop out prevention,” says Fraire. “The SDCOE is fortunate to have the support of all the different agencies, working together to deal with dropout issues.”

SARB was created by the Legislature in 1974 to provide a framework for school districts and county offices battling to deal with school attendance and behavior problems. SARB programs are compromised of parents, representatives from school districts, and members of the community to develop prevention strategies for high-risk students.