Mondays with Maria: Attendance
Posted on 04/08/2024
Mondays with Maria



Deivarsi Demezier: Welcome to Mondays with Maria, presented by Addition Financial Credit Union. Here's OCPS Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hi everyone. Jamie Holmes is back with me today. So Jamie, the district is adding a new call out to our families in the morning letting parents and guardians know if their child is not in school in the mornings.

Jamie Holmes: And that's obviously pretty important because parents were concerned after the recent situation with Maddie Soto and of course that case very sad. But parents wanted to know about earlier notification of a student being absent from school.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yes. For many years we've had the same call out system that occurs at the end of the day. So parents would get a call every day if their child was absent from school. But it was after the school day has ended. Sadly the tragedy with Maddie brought this to light and we've been able to make this change to help our families know if their child is absent in the morning. They will also get a call in the afternoon letting them know if their child was absent for the second part of the day.

Jamie Holmes: Alright, so families will get a call before noon?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Correct.

Jamie Holmes: And then they're going to get another call in the evening if their child was absent for more than half of the school day?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yes. That way they get an early notification and then they will continue to receive the one in the afternoon that they've been receiving for years.

Jamie Holmes: So are there plans to continue this for the next school year?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: There are plans to continue that. We're also looking to see if we may be able to implement a system that's real time. So a parent can go in through the parent portal and check to see if their child is in class during the real time when the child is supposed to be in class. But that's further down the road.

Jamie Holmes: Alright, so I guess that brings me now to my next question. Is there an update on chronic absenteeism? You've talked about this before. It is getting better and that's all good news, but is it, where is it on the spectrum now?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yeah, you know, it continues to be a problem nationally. We have put interventions in place that helped reduce that by about three to four percentage points from last year. But it's still a problem when we have approximately 24% of our students that are chronically absent 21 or more days. And we are continuing to look at intervention strategies. One that we are hopeful is going to give us insight is a survey that we are pushing out to our students to ask why is it that you're not coming to school? And we know there are various reasons, some that may not be within the school district's control, but for those that we do have control, we hope to be able to use that information to have students in school, in classes learning each and every day.

Jamie Holmes: Alright, so anything else that families need to know here?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, I think it's important for families to actually see how many days your child has been absent. I think it's something that's not at the forefront. And so if a child maybe was sick in the first couple of months of school, they might have missed maybe three or four days and then maybe for Thanksgiving you took them out maybe one or two days because you were visiting family out of town and now coming back they may have been absent for a couple of other reasons and before you know it, they're at 15, 20 days. So I urge families to log into the portal and see how many days your child is actually missed from school. Because there is no substitute for in-person learning.

Jamie Holmes: Well, it's obviously critical that parents are plugged in.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for watching and thank you Jamie for being here today. I will see you next week on Mondays with Maria

Deivarsi Demezier: Mondays with Maria's presented by Addition Financial Credit Union. Count us in for every step of your financial journey. Learn more at For more OCPS news and information, visit I'm your announcer Deivarsi Demezier, a senior at Apopka High School. Thanks for watching and have a great week.