Attendance support workers will be hired at schools across Nova Scotia for a pilot project that aims to decrease the number of students cutting class.
The Council to Improve Classroom Conditions is spending $1.9 million over the next two years to hire 14 people.
"The main responsibility that they have, first of all, is to find the reason why the students are not there and then to go back to the community and find them, wherever they are, and to bring them back to school," said council member Jennifer Bruce.
'Not about consequences and punishment'
Bruce, who teaches at E.B. Chandler Junior High in Amherst, N.S., said the goal is to give teachers extra support while also finding individualized solutions to get kids back in the classroom.
Bruce said some of the solutions for getting kids back to class can be as simple as giving the student an alarm clock or a pair of winter boots if those items are needed.
"This is not about consequences and punishment. This is about engaging students."
Pilot to run until June 2019
She said the support workers, who will all be teachers or able to be certified as a teacher, will have a transportation budget for finding students.
Bruce said the workers will also help to link students and families to support systems when needed.
School boards can nominate schools to take part in the pilot. Those nominations will be reviewed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
The pilot project will begin in the new year as soon as staff are hired and run until June 2019.