About the Campaign

The Situation

Historically, an alarming number of students within the Oklahoma City Public School (OKCPS) District fail to report to class on the first day of school.  The large number of absences during the first day and first month of the school year do not improve even when adjusted OKCPS adjusts the start date by a few weeks. 


School Year

1ST Day Enrollment

Attendance Rate

Start Date




August 29




August 13




September 2




August 1


On August 1, 2012 OKCPS recorded 33,485 students enrolled; that number continued to grow to 43,843 students recorded on September 17, 2012. Enrollment numbers show that in 2012; 84% of elementary students enrolled attended school on the first day, followed by just 64% of students enrolled in OKCPS middle schools and 77% of OKCPS high school students.


In October 2012, OKCPS worked with the ShapardResearch to collect information from parents and guardians at 18 schools with low first day of school attendance. The purpose was to target families with students who were reported absent on the first day and find the reasons behind the absence. More than 800 families completed a phone survey and provided useful information that can be used in addressing the low attendance at the start of the school year. 

The survey results showed that due to the high number of OKCPS families living in poverty, moving the first day of school start date to shortly after a pay period would greatly benefit families who often live paycheck to paycheck. Another outcome of the survey showed that many parents feel when school begins in the middle of the week that those days are not important and tend to not send their kids to school on those days.

 With this information in mind, OKCPS leadership voted to start the 2013-2014 school year on Monday August 5, 2013. 

How Absenteeism Affects Students

  1. They fall behind academically.
  2. It is a leading warning sign that a student will drop out.
  3. They can feel left out and may find it difficult to follow what is going on in the classroom.
  4. They miss important lessons/procedures that are discussed on the first day of school.

How Absenteeism Affects Teachers/School Staff

  1. It slows down the instruction for all students when lessons are repeated.
  2. Chronic absences drag down standardized test scores and school improvement.
  3. Student absences affect teacher effectiveness.

How Absenteeism Affects The Community/Businesses

  1. It widens the achievement gaps and increases the dropout rate.
  2. Dropouts are less likely to succeed in a career, which has a direct effect on the economy.
  3. Truancy can cause parents to miss work affecting local employers.
  4. Starting the negative habit of chronic absences can carry over into the workplace.

Campaign Objective and Goals

  • 86% of enrolled district students in class and prepared to learn on the first day of school for the fall 2013 semester.
  • Increase the 1st day attendance by 10% at the 10 targeted OKCPS sites:

Greystone Upper Elementary           (67.3%)

Heronville Elementary                       (86.3%)

ML King Elementary                           (63.9%)

Telstar Elementary                             (67.1%)

Roosevelt Middle School                   (78.4%)

Rogers Middle School                        (74.5%)

OK Centennial Mid-High School        (48.7%)

Northwest Classen High School        (71.7%)

Douglass Mid-High School                 (70.2%)

Capitol Hill High School)                    (80.3%)

  • Increase daily student attendance 5% at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
How You Can Help
A Special Thank You to Our Campaign Sponsors

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