Tulsa Public Schools Attempting To Fix Continuing Attendance Issues
TULSA, Oklahoma - Attendance continues to be an issue at Tulsa Public Schools, according to a quarterly update on the district's five-year strategic plan.
While the report's numbers have stayed relatively the same as last year, TPS has seen a decrease in attendance since the start of the school year.
Educators said they're going to do whatever they can to try to pin-point the issues.
Dr. Ebony Johnson is the interim director of student and family support services and helps tackle these types of issues.
“We do celebrate the fact that we haven't had a significant decrease in attendance from this time last year, it's right at the steady state, but that's not the goal,” Johnson said. “The goal is definitely to increase so we're currently sitting at about 92 percent attendance."
Which sounds like a good number, but Johnson said they can do better.
The progress report looks at attendance rates per grade level and across ethnic groups.
Since the beginning of the year, the absentee rate has gone from an average of 19 percent to 23 percent overall; students in 9th through 12th being absent the most compared to other grades.
Johnson said, "Some of our students will just choose, if it's kind of rainy outside or there is some ice coming down, they will not attend, so, unfortunately, we have families at times that will not then see the importance of them going anyway."
The report also shows that students who identify as Native American or Pacific Islander have seen the highest rates of poor attendance this year.
So what can be done?
Johnson said it takes our communities, our families, and a hands-on approach.
"We're knocking on doors, we are going to knock on those doors again. We are not only doing that but we're also creating attendance plans per school," she said.
Johnson said with the approach they're taking, she's confident attendance rates will be up next school year.