Baltimore Schools Launch Campaign To Increase Kindergarten Enrollment

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– City schools are looking three years into the future at ways to improve the test scores of their students. One way, as Mike Schuh reports, is to make sure their youngest students show up for the first day of kindergarten.

They are grad students going door-to-door. This is not sales force, there’s no political campaign. There’s not a box of cookies in sight. They’re here:

“To try to get kids enrolled as early as possible,” Lara Ohanian, director of enrollment, said.

It turns out, each year, the parents of about 300 kindergarten students can’t seem to get kids registered in school and on time when school opens.

So that’s where the team of 30 comes in.

This week, they’re near the 10 schools where the problem is the worst.

These door-to-door do-gooders knock on every door hoping to find a parent of a kindergarten student, educating them on the importance of getting them in class.

“I just want to say how exciting it is to have a partnership like this and get the kids enrolled,” Ohanian said.

A recent study showed that kindergarten students who didn’t do pre-K or Head Start will have a chronic absence problem through the third grade and low academic performance. But if they can be found, it may change their young lives.

“We really feel strongly that getting the kids enrolled and ready and at school for the first day of school is incredibly important, integral to their education for the future,” Ohanian said.

The mayor’s office paid for these door-knockers. The payback won’t be seen for years when:

“They’ll be more successful in school,” Ohanian said.

A city schools administrator says many of those who don’t show up at first are from families that are new to the city. All a parent has to do is go to the school to register or call schools headquarters at North Avenue.

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