Orange County Public Schools changes absence notification policies in light of Madeline Soto case

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools moved to change the district attendance policy on Tuesday after much concern from parents over the current attendance policy.


Starting on Monday, April 8, OCPS will start a new calling notification system for parents in the district.

“It wasn’t an easy thing to do, and to get it [new policy] up and running this year is something special,” said Angie Gallo, vice chair.

Superintendent Maria Vazquez said the district will make additional calls to parents whose students are not in attendance at the start of the school day.

Read: Madeline Soto case: Stephan Sterns faces 60 new charges

The motion comes after the disappearance and death of Madeline Soto in late February. Her mother said she didn’t receive a notification that Madeline never made it to Hunter’s Creek Middle School until nearly 6 p.m.

Vazquez said parents would still get a call at the end of the day only if the child is absent the entire school day.

After spring break, specific times for elementary, middle, and high schools will be shared with families with upcoming messaging.

Read: Superintendent will consider change in absence notification system after Madeline Soto case

Teachers will be encouraged to enter attendance for a student promptly for the first period. Substitute teachers will send attendance to the registrar.

Vazquez said next year, the district will look to implement a plan that will allow parents to see in real-time if their child has been marked absent through the portal at the elementary and secondary level period by period.

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