Volunteers canvas neighborhoods of Oklahoma City school with low enrollment

Only 70 students are enrolled in Thelma R. Parks Elementary, and school starts Monday. Administrators expected 300. The Oklahoma City superintendent, along with staff members and volunteers, walked the neighborhoods, knocked on doors and asked with parents to enroll their children.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: August 1, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 31, 2013

A team of about 20 volunteers and district employees canvassed the neighborhoods around Thelma R. Parks Elementary, knocking on doors and sweating in the muggy summer air.

School starts Monday for Parks and the rest of Oklahoma City Public Schools. But as of Wednesday morning, fewer than 70 children were enrolled at the school administrators expect more than 300.

Principal Rejeana Payne asked the volunteers to tell parents to enroll — don't worry about uniforms, don't worry about paperwork, don't worry about transfers.

“Whatever the reason, just get them here,” Payne said. “We can work it out.”

District workers are in the final push of a two-month campaign to get students pre-enrolled and then to school on Monday. There have been mailers, radio spots, yard signs and phone calls.

But for some schools, like Parks Elementary, enrollment is still lagging.

Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer knocked on the door of a neat brick house and waited patiently. A woman in a white tank top opened the door. She said she didn't have any school-age children, but she took a flier and promised to tell her friends who did.

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