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'They have not come back to school' | Spring ISD recruits volunteers to help track down missing students

Reconnecting with students is something most districts are trying to do

SPRING, Texas — Microsoft employees are getting a bit low-tech this week.

They'r working the phones to help Spring ISD students “return to learn.”

"We have had some students that were enrolled in our schools last year and have not come back," Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, Spring ISD chief of innovation and equity, said.

Hinojosa said work to engage dropouts and others never stops.

But it's getting a boost this week thanks, in part, to the phone bank.

"Not only are we putting out the message, we have extra volunteers,” said Hinojosa.

According to Hinojosa, Spring ISD’s projected enrollment was 35,400, and 33,384 have connected so far this semester.

That leaves more than 2,000 they’re trying to track down.

In some cases, access to technology may be keeping kids from joining remote learning, or families may have relocated for a number of reasons.

"Across the state, as we look at our enrollment and attendance and look at what’s happening statewide, every district is experiencing about a 3% drop in the enrollment,” Hinojosa said.

Houston ISD said it recently contacted more than 6,000 students during a similar campaign, including nearly 800 just last week.

Spring ISD would normally visit neighborhoods to try and touch base with students and their families in person.

However, it decided to rely more heavily on the phones thanks to COVID-19.

"It’s now getting into our fourth week of school," said Hinojosa.  "We need to find out what is keeping them out of school, or keeping them from re-connecting with us.”

Read more about the "return to learn" initiative, tap here.