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Volunteers knock on hundreds of students’ doors ahead of BPS return to classroom

Boston – Dozens of volunteers knocked on doors of hundreds of students in Boston ahead of the district’s return to school on Thursday.

The district’s Re-Engagement Center and Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative coordinated those efforts in neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain.

Volunteers targeted approximately 300 hundred students who have either stopped going to school or have been chronically absent in the past.

The goal is to encourage those who may have fallen off track to come back to school.

“The earlier we do it, the easier they can get back to school and start the school year off correctly,” said Manny Allen, director of the Re-Engagement Center.

Allen can relate to these students because he once dropped out of school before returning and earning his diploma.

“To have someone actually talk to you and reach out and welcome you back is a big deal,” said Allen. “For some students, it’s a shot in the dark. They don’t know who to turn to.”

This is the Re-Engagement Center’s fifth year knocking on doors ahead of the district’s first day back to school.

On a larger scale, there are also concerns this year about more than 50,000 kids across the district getting to and from school.

“What’s frustrating is that starting from the spring and even beyond, the city and the district were working really hard in ensuring that transportation was going to be better this fall,” said Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teacher’s Union.

Boston Public School students are returning to the classroom in the middle of the 30-day Orange line shutdown.

The district said it’s sending ambassadors to MBTA stations to assist students and has provided 5,000 CharlieCards to families.

The potential confusion involving shuttle buses is an added strain on top of struggles in years past to get students to and from school on time.

“As every new school year happens, there’s always some issues,” added Tang. “I can’t imagine it will be perfect, but I think they’ve been working around the clock to ensure that it’s as smooth as it can be.”

The district is also still working to fill about 200 open teaching positions.

A BPS spokesperson sent the following statement to Boston 25 News:

“BPS is working diligently to ensure that our students have the best first day possible. As of today, there are fewer than 200 teacher vacancies at Boston Public Schools. Our students and their families should be confident that there will be an adult in every classroom and they will be able to get to school in a timely fashion.”

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