La Joya ISD implements GPS tracker to reduce truancy cases

It clicks, vibrates and lets a mentor know that a student is on his or her way to class.

It's the latest technology that La Joya ISD has implemented in their schools to keep students on the right path.

"I just had two options|go to court or get that little device," said Luis Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is a ninth grader.

He said he's skipped classes to hang out with friends, and the cost of going to court for truancy is building up.

My dad had to pay the fine," he said.

And how much was it? asked the reporter.

"500 dollars, he replied.

But now he's on the AIM system, or Attendance Improvement Management, the program that La Joya ISD has contracted in order to help improve truancy statistics after reporting over 12 hundred truancy cases last school year alone..

"Meaning 12 hundred kids that failed to go to some of the classes or all day or some of the periods of the day to school," said La Joya ISD Police Chief Raul Gonzalez.

Rodriguez has been assigned a mentor that keeps track of his every move during the week.

He's required to click the GPS tracker 5 times during the day sending the mentor an alert as to where he is located, and if the student doesn't click the GPS tracker to tell his mentor he's at school, then he owes the mentor an explanation.

The student's assigned mentor calls him at least three times a week to talk about school, the students TM likes and dislikes, and to offer advice

"This program we are trying to avoid kids getting into that habit saying, ~you know what I just want to call it quits. I don't want to do it anymore. TM This program is more like we are here to help you let TMs see if we can get you in the right direction," said Gonzalez.

Right now La Joya ISD has a 75 to 80 percent attendance rate, but standards require districts to be at 90 percent which could become a reality after just a few clicks.