The District is launching a pilot program to reduce truancy among 120 chronically absent ninth-graders at Ballou and Anacostia high schools and Washington Mathematics and Science Technology Public Charter School.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and De’Shawn Wright, deputy mayor for education, announced the program Wednesday. Beginning this week through the end of the school year next month, several city agencies will coordinate to aggressively reach out to the students and their parents to get the students back in school.

They said they will connect the families with social services. Gray, a former executive director of a nonprofit focused on homeless youths, said he has looked at several studies showing that punitive measures against parents don’t return students to school.

If the program works, Gray said it will expand to other schools.