All of the recent efforts to get Detroit kids in school –and stay there—are paying off. Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts on Thursday released the latest enrollment reports for the district’s 100 schools showing daily attendance has reached at 90 percent.
As of Tuesday, 51,674 students have attended school in DPS this fall, surpassing the adopted fiscal year 2012-13 budget’s forecast, which is based on a fall term enrollment of 49,852. The newly released attendance numbers could surpass the fall term budgeted forecast based on student head count. “I continue to witness that attitudes are different across our schools this year,” Roberts said. “This is based on an overall positive direction moving forward, a smooth start operationally and academically for the new school year.”
Roberts also attributed the climbing enrollment to comprehensive efforts by parents and community members in late summer geared to ensure parent and family readiness for the first day of school. That’s in addition to a number of new initiatives to keep kids in class. One of these is a new automated calling system, which notifies families if a student misses even one class a day. To date this system has logged more than 177,000 calls, keeping parents in touch with their child’s attendance.
To help boost enrollment, more than 50 ministers’ wives and widows participated in the new presence mission at DPS on Opening Day. Community involvement in DPS enrollment spiked this year with Detroit Parent Network parent organizers and parent volunteers exceeding 2,000 and DPS enrollment teams present at 100 local events in August.
DPS now has assigned 41 attendance agents whose job is to address absences as they happen. Roberts urges parents and guardians of students who have not returned to classes this fall or who have poor attendance to act now so students don’t fall behind at this crucial point in the academic year. While Tuesday’s enrollment numbers are not set in stone—final count data for the October 3 Term Count dates have not been released yet— the news comes as another positive step forward for DPS.
As enrollment and attendance climbs in the district, so will funds. The enrollment and attendance boost directly connected to community and family involvement according to Roberts, who highly encourages and welcomes those interested with plenty ways to get involved at schools throughout the city.