Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan has honored longtime Somerville schools administrator Richard Melillo for his work to counter truancy and increase attendance in schools.
Ryan and the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth honored Melillo with the Citizenship in Action Award on Monday, Oct. 7, in a school safety summit at the Nashoba Valley Technical High School.
The award is given out each year to an individual in Middlesex County who has made local communities safer and healthier by taking positive action to enhance school climate and reduce youth risk-taking behavior, according to a press release from Ryan’s office announcing the award Tuesday.
Melillo served as the supervisor of attendance in Somerville schools from January 1984 until September of 2010 when he became the director of student services. He directs student safety in the school district and creates anti-bullying programs, and was nominated for the award by Somerville Superintendent of Schools Tony Pierantozzi.
Melillo instituted a systematic family approach to truancy in Somerville schools, including a five-step program to improve attendance. He has trained other school districts on the topic and discusses improving attendance and truancy as part of the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth’s in-service workshop program.
“Richard has developed strong, collaborative relationships through all agencies in the community that work with youth in an effort to get to the root cause of absenteeism and tardiness,” said Ryan in the press release. “His efforts have increased attendance in the Somerville Public Schools and have helped countless children get more out of their education by being present and accounted for in their school every day.”
The award comes as the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is holding a school-based initiative called “Present and Accounted For,” during the current school year to improve attendance at all grade levels and address issues which may be impacting why a student is not regularly attending school.