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TPS Says It's Reduced 'Disconnected' Students on Distance Learning from 20% to 5%


District officials say in the first week of school, one in five Tulsa Public Schools students was "disconnected" — meaning the district had no contact with them since the start of school.

TPS Deputy Superintendent Paula Shannon said by the end of the third week, which ran Sept. 14 through 18, that figure was down to one in 20, thanks to a lot of on-the-ground work.

"So, our school teams were out visiting local shelters, community centers, community service agencies. They were using emergency contact numbers to find families. They were talking to landlords and leasing agents to locate families and try to find out where they might have moved to," Shannon said.

According to district data, most students are completing instructional activities, though there are small gaps among racial groups and between students in traditional and special education programs.

But officials admit there are some tweaks needed to their attendance measures. For perfect attendance, elementary students must complete 10 assignments in a normal week, while older students must complete five assignments per course. That’s led to some students being overloaded with work.

"I have a colleague who explained today that her daughter has 43 assignments across three courses this week. So, we know that, that is a challenge," Shannon said.

TPS expects to roll out attendance measure changes next week.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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