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Parents + Attendance = Student Success

The PASS docket, a new RPS and Richmond Juvenile Court initiative, aims to lower chronic absenteeism across the division by connecting students and families with wraparound supports while enforcing school attendance through the legal system.

PASS stands for Parents + Attendance = Students Success and is a pilot initiative created in  collaboration with the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. This is the court that handles the petitions the school division is required to file when students are habitually absent.  

In the past, parents and guardians of chronically absent students were petitioned to attend a formal court hearing. This traditional method of court hearings did not have a track record of improving outcomes for students, as many families were still impacted by the unaddressed social issues that hindered their child’s attendance and academic progress. In alignment with Priority 3 of Dreams4RPS, the PASS docket addresses those social issues by providing direct and real-time access to support through a trauma-informed framework.

While the hearings are still a required part of the proceedings, they now take place outside of the courtroom setting and in an RPS school, making the process more comfortable and accessible for families. In addition, RPS has partnered with community organizations that are present during the PASS dockets and can provide resources and support for families immediately following their hearing. 

“Oftentimes, a judge will require a family to make an appointment to see representatives from social services or the mental health department as a part of their court order,” said Angela Jones, Director of Climate and Culture for RPS. “Now, they don’t have to wait to access those resources. We are providing immediate community-based support for them as soon as they exit their hearing.”

The partner agencies include: 

RPS School Social Work

RPS Health Services

RPS Office of Engagement

RPS Culture & Climate

Communities in Schools (CIS)

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA)

Richmond Department of Social Services (RDSS)

Richmond Sheriff’s Department

University of Richmond School of Law

Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN)

PASS docket hearings take place each month, with the next one scheduled for December 5.

“This new initiative gives us the ability to truly wrap-around our students and families and to provide them with a much more comprehensive plan of services,” said RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras. “This is about helping our parents get the help and support they need for their family to be successful at RPS and beyond.”