To help meet the district goal of decreasing chronic absenteeism by 7% by 2022, the Student Engagement Specialist (SES) team works with district and school attendance teams to ensure that attendance policies and procedures are followed. On a more personal level, they also collaborate with office staff to transition late students – who are also more likely to be absent — and families upon arrival. The SES approach also involves identifying root causes for chronic absenteeism to address underlying issues with specific interventions. A student might not come to school because of suspensions and behavioral issues rooted in their overall social-emotional well-being. In that case, the student might be paired with an adult mentor –- a volunteer or community partner — who can meet with the student daily and talk about setting both behavioral and academic goals

Find your student’s Student Engagement Specialist below:



Student Engagement Specialist

Bulkeley High School – North

Bulkeley High School – South

Dawn Russell

Elaine Garcia 

Burns School & SAND School
Burr Middle School Gelly Segura
Capital Preparatory Magnet School Marieta Williams
Dwight Bellizzi School Yesenia Aponte
Hartford Public High School Irma Olave
Lorenzo Burgos
Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School  



McDonough Middle School




Ashley Jackson

Milner Middle School Leroy Collier
Rawson School Sherika Dunkley
SAND School Nicholaos Stergiotis



Wish Museum School




Edward Brown

Weaver High School  Genesis Gulley

Promoting Positive Culture


Beyond what they do in schools during the day to address absences, the SES staff also organize positive student engagement activities. Recent examples include pancake breakfasts or ice cream socials to celebrate students who have perfect attendance. “What we want to do also is encourage more activities where we bring parents in for an attendance celebration — activities to support building community, a culture of attendance within schools,” she said.

To dig deeper into the sources of student disengagement, the SES team plans to conduct focus groups with students, staff, and parents. A particularly innovative idea they are looking ahead to is organizing “Culture Walks” – or tours of schools to develop ideas to make campuses more welcoming.