TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will hit the pavement this morning in an effort to encourage dropouts to return to school.

The duo will go door to door as part of an initiative dubbed Steps to Success, in which 46 pairs of volunteers will make home visits to young people who have recently dropped out.

The volunteers will share their experiences and troubleshoot issues that may be keeping the young people out of school. Those who are receptive to the idea of returning to school will then be directed to a “Success Center” where they can get more information and assistance on how they can complete their high school education.

“It is my hope that reaching out to students will let them know that education is important and that they are important — to us and this community,” Rothschild said. “Sometimes we all need a little encouragement.”

Added Eugene Butler, assistant superintendent of student services for the Tucson Unified School District: “We have rolled out a plan that I think will save some lives. It’s about doing what is morally correct.”

Today’s Steps to Success walk will focus on 50 students who passed the AIMS test and are within a few credits of earning their diplomas.

The program also will reach out to more than 450 students who dropped out of school in recent years but may be harder to locate.

The Success Center will be at Catalina Magnet High School, 3645 E. Pima St. It will operate weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Others participating in today’s effort include Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert, University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley, and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona President and CEO Tony Penn.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@tucson.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

Education writer for #ThisIsTucson. Mom of one.