TPS harnessing social media and the power of the pulpit

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 8/28/2012 5:46 pm Published: 8/28/2012 5:31 pm

TPS enrollment numbers are not where they need to be.

That’s why the district is taking unique measures to make sure children get back to class. The district is harnessing social media and the power of the pulpit to get the message out.

Right now, Remington Elementary has 256 students enrolled. The numbers show they’re supposed to have 328. To find out what’s going on, the teachers and staff are going door-to-door to see why parents aren’t bringing their children to class.

"Obviously we were very alarmed by the numbers,” says principal, Dr. Cassandra Funderburk.

Because of the low enrollment numbers, she and her staff are giving students the opportunity to enroll right at their door.

It’s not just Remington that’s seeing low enrollment. Other schools are too.

"We had a projected enrollment of about 40,000 students and as of Friday, we were about 600 students down,” says TPS administrator Chris Johnson.

The good news is that since then 400 more students have enrolled.

It’s partly due to the fact that the district is using Facebook and an automated phone call to reach out to parents. Another way TPS is working to get kids back in front of their teachers is by letter.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard sent out a letter to local pastors asking for help from the pulpit.

"Oftentimes if a different voice can encourage the parents and the children on the importance of education, then it goes a long way,” says Rev. Anthony Scott, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church North Tulsa.

It’s called Education at the Alter. The letter asks church leaders to give a sermon about why parent involvement in children’s education is so critical. It also requests ministers appeal to their congregations about making teacher-parent conferences in October a priority.

Remington Elementary hopes these unique tactics will make a difference in their numbers.

School leaders say student enrollment is critical because it allows schools to hire more teachers, and it affects the amount of money the district receives from the state. If a child isn’t present in class, it can affect their grades and learning curve too.

TPS hopes to submit the final enrollment numbers to the state by October 1st.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

alimarz - 8/29/2012 10:19 AM
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I completely agree with Watchdog11. Maybe, just maybe, the parents have chosen to home school their children with the sudden rash in the brick and mortar schools.

watchdog11 - 8/28/2012 10:38 PM
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Maybe if there weren't so many teachers molesting the kids....
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