Back to school just days away

Back to school just days away

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Students in the state's largest school district will be back to school in two weeks. The school year for Oklahoma City Public Schools starts on August 5th.

This year, the district is making a push to get more students to attend the beginning of the school year.

Last year, only 76 percent of students attended the first day of class.

"Historically we've had a really hard time with getting kids to come to school on the first day, so we're taking some extra steps to promote when school starts and the importance of being in school the first day and every day," district spokesperson Tierney Tinnin said.

That starts with moving up the first day to a Monday.

"In the year's past we started on Wednesday, sometimes Thursday and the reception is, if we have school on a Wednesday... those three days are kind of throw away days and the real work starts on Monday," Tinnin said. "So we're starting on a Monday, to change that perception."

The district will also offer incentives like free dress days and raffles drawings for good attendance.

Money could also play a role in the low attendance rates.

If parents don't have the money to buy supplies for their students, they may not send them to school until they can purchase everything, teachers said.

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools hopes to help. It offers the Teacher's Warehouse, an inventory of free supplies available to any teachers in the district. The teachers can then pass supplies on to their students.

"A lot of our kids in Oklahoma City don't have the resources in order to bring their supplies to school and so being able to walk in to a classroom and know that your teacher and your school is going to be able to provide you with the things you don't have, gives you as a child a sense of security," teacher Heather Meldrum said.

Meldrum volunteers at the Teacher's Warehouse. She said the warehouse is also a great resource for teachers.

"They don't have to spend their own money. They can use classroom money for other things that maybe The Foundation doesn't have right now or to spend on things for their students," she said. "It's a peace of mind. It's one less things that we have to worry about in getting our classrooms ready and preparing our students."

The warehouse runs completely on community support.

"The public, the community around Oklahoma City, has stuff and the teachers and students in the Oklahoma City Public Schools need stuff," program director Robyn Hilger said.

In addition to supply donations, the warehouse runs on volunteers.

"We need lots of volunteers to pack all those orders for the teachers when they come and get them," Hilger said.

To find out how to donate supplies or time, click here.

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