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Mayor and superintendent announce school attendance campaign

Considering that training and participation in the arts help keep students in school, engaged and motivated to learn, we thought you might be interested in today’s (Oct. 3) announcement of a citywide campaign to improve school attendance.

Mayor Mike McGinn and Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield launched Be Here Get There, a research-driven, incentive-based campaign designed to raise awareness and improve academic achievement by improving citywide school attendance.

“Research has shown that students with more than 20 absences per year have less than a one in five chance of graduating from high school,” said McGinn. “Chronic absence in our schools should be a concern for everyone. We can and must do better for our students.”

Be Here Get There is a joint initiative of the city of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, the Alliance for Education and Get Schooled to raise awareness of the importance of going to school using community-wide education and incentives. The campaign will address the chronic absenteeism currently affecting public schools across Seattle and help improve academic achievement, boost overall student success and cultivate a lifelong passion for learning.

“This campaign is a way to bring the community together to work towards a shared goal of improving outcomes for students,” said Enfield. “In the 2009-2010 school year, only 62 percent of students met our attendance goal. It will take all of us working together to meet Seattle Public Schools’ goal to have at least 80 percent of students with fewer than 10 absences by 2013.”

The Be Here Get There campaign aims to make schools engaging and attractive to students by rewarding positive behavior. The campaign also makes use of healthy competitions at the school and classroom level to get students energized to go to school. To learn more about some of the contests and incentives planned for October, visit the Get Schooled website, which will simultaneously track school attendance, allowing students at schools across the city to see how they compare.

A partial list of sponsors includes Molly Moon’s, Pagliacci Pizza, Starbucks, Raleigh Bicycles, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, KEXP, KUBE 93, KISS FM, and more to be announced throughout the campaign. The campaign will actively seek prize donations throughout the school year.

Beyond incentives and competitions in schools, Be Here Get There will focus on strategies for schools, students, families and the community, as well as the shared responsibility to improve attendance. The campaign will address chronic absenteeism in ways that meet the needs of students, families and schools.

Read the full press release here.