Indianapolis Public Schools have been trying to remind students and parents that school starts on Mon., Aug. 6, but this year they’re not using television to get the message across.
The lobby of the IPS administration building was busy Thursday afternoon as several parents rushed to fill out registration forms for their children just a few days before the start of the year.
Rodriguez and her kids just moved from California on Tuesday to be closer to family, and luckily her relatives, who already have children in the district, warned her about the early start date of Aug. 6.
IPS leaders said it is critical that returning students and their families know when to return, especially this year.
"Our children need to be in school beginning with day one," said IPS Spokesman John Althardt.
In years past, IPS has driven home that message with TV advertisements sponsored by the United Way, but not this year. Instead, IPS has relied on individual schools to communicate with students and parents through registration fairs, letters and online notifications.
"We've just used different approaches and we feel like because of all of the investment and all of the work that we've done during the past several years that now, we are in a position where our parents are more aware of when our start dates are," Althardt said.
But if a big number of students fail to show up on Monday, you can expect the schools to be reaching out. Last year, social workers began calling students and even making some house calls to students missing on day one. Just 77 percent of students showed up during the first day of 2011, but the extra effort made an impact. On day two, attendance jumped to 87 percent and kept climbing from there.
This year, IPS hopes to see that kind of response right away. Rodriguez said her kids will benefit from their first day and not just in the classroom.
"It's very important,” Rodriguez said. “They need to find new friends and to socialize with other different people."
IPS ditches back-to-school TV ads