Changes begin Monday for absent OCPS students

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The disappearance and death of Maddie Soto has shaken the Central Florida community. It’s now sparking change in Orange County schools.


OCPS parents will be able to take advantage of a new notification system starting Monday morning.

Additional calls to parents whose students are not in attendance that morning, starting with first period when teachers are now encouraged to enter in attendance. The district said this will be in addition to a follow-up that afternoon if students are out a full day.

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This is a big shift from the prior policy where teachers had a 3 p.m. deadline to enter attendance. Channel 9 spoke with Maddie’s mom a day after she allegedly disappeared. Jenn Soto said she didn’t get a call until around 6 p.m. that day – after claiming her boyfriend, Stephen Sterns, drove her to school that Monday. Only later did Channel 9 hear from investigators that Maddie never actually made it there.

The school district says changes won’t end here either. They’re working on a system for next year to allow parents to see their child’s absence the moment a teacher enters it online. Those changes for real-time updates would be for students in elementary and secondary levels, period by period.

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