Parents who live inside the boundaries of the San Antonio Independent School District will likely be receiving a call from the district in the next few weeks, if they haven’t already.
The phone calls are part of a detailed plan developed in a bid to start the new school year on August 12 with at least as many students as the district had the previous year.
Tricia Baumer from the district’s enrollment office told trustees Monday that the district has been involved in a campaign to register students since March using flyers, social media ads and in person at campus and community events.
To continue that momentum, Baumer said her office is coordinating with campus administrators to target outreach in July and August.
“We’re going to start a ‘We Miss You’ campaign, this time focused on the private school and charter school parents that left us in the (2017-2018 school year) and did not come back for the '18-'19 school year, to call them and say we miss them,” Baumer said. “To say ‘Hey, your district is here. We miss you. We’d love for you to come back. Look at all of the great things that are happening, because there are a lot of great changes happening with the district.’”
The district is also organizing neighborhood block walks the week before school starts when teachers return to work in August, and another ‘We Miss You’ phone call campaign for students who’ve dropped out or left school without transferring.
Superintendent Pedro Martinez told the board that SAISD is prioritizing outreach to parents over the summer more than it ever has before.
He says previously the district didn’t focus on registering students before the start of the school year.
“It’s too early to tell but … I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those efforts are already yielding a thousand more children registered than we had the year before,” Martinez said.
Baumer said the district has around 37,000 students registered for the 2019-2020 school year, compared to around 36,000 this time last year.
Trustee Steve Lecholop told Baumer and Martinez that he thought campus administrators should be rewarded or penalized based on their enrollment numbers.
“I think ultimately we’ll see the needle move when we incentivize campuses to do this themselves,” Lecholop said, suggesting that principals be given the freedom to decide how the school uses the extra money it receives from added enrollment, and that enrollment be used as part of a campus performance evaluation.
Martinez said schools were incentivized this year by the knowledge that they would lose teachers if they didn’t have the enrollment to support them.
Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille