PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Back-to-school is a very busy time, but not just for students and teachers. Those who make the policy decisions are hard at work to give the kids the best shot at getting a quality education.

It’s not just the first day of school for the students. Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane is one of more than 100 central office staffers visiting schools as part of the “Be There* campaign.

“There are things you miss that can’t easily be made up. That’s why we are encouraging our parents to have their children here every day,” Lane said.

Today was the first so called, Central Office All-In Service Day. At least one staff member visited all 54 schools to assist school staff with the back-to-school transition.

“We are asking our parents to help support us in having their children at school. I think sometimes parents think that they can make up a school day. Yes, we can give them their homework and whatever they were supposed to have read and all of that, but there is no making up a school day. You’re gone. When you are gone you miss out,” Lane said.

The goal of the campaign is to make attendance a top priority and not just for students.

“’Be There’ means to be at school. We are really making a focused effort to increase the attendance of our children and our young people because we know that good attendance predicts how they are going to do at high school. It also predicts how successful they will be in college or any other post-secondary training they might take,” Lane said.

The district has been working on strategies to combat high dropout rates. Research suggests students who miss 10 percent or more of school are more likely to drop out.

“We had always looked at absence as just the days that a child was not at school without a reason. They didn’t send an excuse. There was no doctor’s note. Nothing. We paid attention to those days, but last year we started paying attention to all days that students missed at school for whatever reason,” Lane said.

They hope that by encouraging students, parents and staff to be there, they will get started on the right foot.


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