TPS Searches For Absent Students To Get Them Back On Track

Tuesday, September 13th 2016, 6:56 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools sent teachers and principals out today to find students who are on the rolls but not in class.

Some students move away, some go get a GED, but some just quit.

The district wants to figure out what happened to them, so for the first time - they're knocking on doors to track them down.

The principal and four staff members went out with a list of students they hoped to find.

Over the summer, and since the beginning of school, 21 Webster students have dropped out of sight.

“This one we just arrived to, she just moved out today, so we probably missed her by just a couple of hours. But we're still looking,” said Shelly Holman, Webster High Principal.

The schools have a list and last addresses but it's commonly out of date.

They sometimes find family members, or neighbors who give them another lead.

"But the sister, she exchanged numbers with us, and she's going to try and assist in trying to locate her for us, so that's maybe another win for us,” Holman said.

Every Tulsa school has a team like this - school counselors, teachers and staff who might know the student that's missing.

They have authority to provide whatever is needed to get them back in school.

“Absolutely, whatever it is. Shoes, uniforms, school supplies, you name it,” said Corey Rowland, Communities in Schools Coordinator. “We're able to provide it.”

More often than not - the team ran into dead ends, but they did find Daniel.

He should be a 10th grader at Webster - but he's not in class.

The team explained alternative programs and extra help available - and hope he'll get back on track to graduate.

For the Webster team - that was the high point of the search.

"We found one, so that's a success for us," Holman said.

After two days of searching, the district reports finding 180 students who were off the grid - 60 have re-enrolled; the rest have other plans, or moved out of the district.