Dallas ISD program to keep kids in school with use of GPS

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 3:31 PM

DALLAS - Cary Middle School, in Dallas has gotten started with a similar program. The school has nearly 34 percent truancy rate.

One little device has helped principal Jennifer Arona fight back and decrease that number.

"What we are looking for are the kids starting to slide, if we can catch them and put in place a safeguard, a saftey net, you reel those kids back in," said Arona.

Using school improvement funds, AIM Truancy Solutions devices are being used by 40 students.

The GPS devices track students.

Most importantly, on the other side of device, is a mentor, that students check in with five times a day.

They have to press in their code to confirm they are in the right place at the right time.

"We have many students who start the 9th grade that don't actually finish school," said Cynthia Goodsell, DISD."I attribute that to the fact that often time they're lost."

The San Antonio school district shows promising strides in that area. Students, like Joshua Kim said the mentors make a big difference.

"They wouldn't just call and say did you go to all of your classes?" said Kim, student. "They'd be like, how was your day? Do you have any big tests coming up?"

Keeping kids in school, helps financially. DISD gets paid for each student each day. So, if students are truant, the district looses dollars.

"The more money you have the more money you have to provide interventions for your children," Arona said.

AIM truancy is a volunteer program that parents must sign off in order to participate.

For many it is a no brainer, because the device will keep truant kids out of court...giving them a second chance.

Email: sslater@wfaa.com

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