BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash said the district will partner with Most Valuable Parents (MVP), a volunteer parent group, to help bring students who stopped showing up to remote learning during the pandemic back to the classroom.
"My on the ground parent groups know who they are and they can reach out. They can knock on doors. They can make calls. I've seen it, and I want to unleash that great community work," Dr. Cash said.
"When he said they wanted us to help bring back kids to school, we said absolutely. When? Sign us up. We're ready," Mia Ayers-Goss, director of MVP, said.
Buffalo Public Schools remained fully remote for more than a year, longer than any other district in Western New York.
The district has not released attendance data for the past year for its more than 30,000 students.
"What we're looking at now is the data on the kids who have fallen off of mainstream course work and study for whatever reason, gone to work, just not accounted for in the numbers," Dr. Cash said.
Ayers-Goss said there is a multitude of reasons students stopped showing up to their virtual classrooms.
"Maybe they have a sick parent and they have to help put food on the table. Maybe they're being bullied by other students. Maybe they're suffering from depression or mental illness," Ayers-Goss said.
Ayers-Goss said MVP will work with both students and parents.
"We would want to talk to them and just get to know them to try to find out why. What's going on? What are your interests? What are you going to do besides school? Just not approach it from the stand point that you need to get back in school! Not like that. We just want to talk to you and get to know you," Ayers-Goss said.
Dr. Cash said MVP will receive stipends for their work.
"Funding is essential. We need funding," Ayers-Goss said.
Cash said the district is still figuring out how many students and families MVP will be working with.
"I can tell you, no matter how big or small it is, it's worth addressing because we don't want any of our children to be left behind," Ayers-Goss said.
Dr. Cash said all K through 12 students in Buffalo will be required to be in class for five days a week this fall unless they have a medical exception.
Ayers-Goss said parents or students in need of support can reach out to MVP by calling 716-333-3640 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. She also said the group is in need of volunteers.