Students in the Wright City R-II School District who are struggling to make it to school may become familiar with a new face on campus.
Victor Chavez began his duties as truancy officer Aug. 26, as part of the district’s amplified efforts to get students into the classroom on a consistent basis. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Way said attendance has been an ongoing challenge for the district, even as it consistently improves or excels in other areas based upon state feedback.
“Our focus is on getting kids here and into the buildings so they can learn,” said Way. “We also know that if they’re here they will get fed twice a day, and that’s big for a lot of our families.”
Wright City R-II School District has had a truancy officer in the past who was shared with Warren County R-III, meaning limited availability to devote to the R-II district. Way said Chavez will concentrate on building relationships with students, families and faculty to identify those most in need and how to assist them.
“Right now his main duty is to meet with all the principals, attendance secretaries and kids in each building who are at risk for attendance concerns,” said Way.
He said a major intention of hiring Chavez is to develop and track monthly reports broken down by each campus building and evaluate what’s being done to address those figures.
“My main purpose is to try to get the parents to be more involved in the school district and encourage them to bring their kids,” said Chavez. “As a parent you are required to make sure your kids get an education. We want to make sure the parents are informed and have the resources they need to help the child get that education.”
“Sometimes there are issues we don’t know about that are keeping kids from coming to school,” said Way. “He’ll be working to help families overcome those and also working with kids to understand how things are going even when they do come back to school.”
Chavez comes to Wright City from the Normandy School District and has worked for St. Charles County Parks and Recreation. He also is bilingual, which may serve the district well with its high rates of Hispanic students.
“With my role in being bilingual, I want to help the Hispanic families understand that all we want to do is bring their kids to school,” said Chavez. “We want to help them in any means possible, and I’m here to help them understand that we want to educate their children.”