Conquering Absences with Kanitra

Kanitra is a cheerful, easy-going mom who works as a housekeeper at one of the hotels we partner with in downtown New Orleans. When we began supporting her last year, her daughters were struggling in school. She was concerned, but wasn't sure what do to.

As our Navigators reviewed her girls' past report cards with her, they spotted something alarming: Kanitra's daughters were missing way too much school. Her seventh grader missed 18 days while her fifth grader missed 19. Moreover, the girls were tardy almost 20 times. On average, they had an attendance issue more than once per week. Studies indicate that student achievement begins to suffer after just five missed days.

An absence here or there can quickly add up to a lot of lost learning time, and Kanitra didn't fully realize how much school her girls were missing. She wasn't lazy or apathetic; it was just that nobody had ever rung the alarm.

After we discussed the issue, Kanitra was determined to make a change. She committed to making this school year a better one, and with help from our Navigators, she got to work.

First, she participated in New Orleans' OneApp enrollment process and transferred the girls to a new school. Though it is further from her home, it has a stronger track record. She is thrilled with what she's seen so far. Next, she created a morning routine to ensure the girls made it to their bus on time, every day. When they missed the bus one day, she refused to accept defeat. She took them on a ferry across the Mississippi river to get them to school herself.

The girls' first quarter report cards showed the results of her efforts: Neither one missed a single day.

While Kanitra and her daughters still have a long way to go this school year, we're honored to work with them. Their determination reminds us that families are the strongest engine for building futures. They just need a chance.

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