Better Schools


Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review, Issue #178

One week ago today, I joined with students at Frederick Elementary School to kick off the 2nd annual Mayor’s School Attendance Campaign. The competition will highlight community efforts to fight truancy in Baltimore City Schools and work with partners to encourage youth to get to school on time and ready to learn.

Each year, 15 percent of Baltimore City elementary students are chronically absent, missing more than 20 days of school over the course of the school year. Over the course of their first five years in school, 36 percent of Baltimore’s youngest students are chronically absent during at least one year.

Data from city schools confirm what we already know to be true: students who regularly make it to class perform better than students who don't come to school—specifically, 16 percent better in reading and 22 percent better in math during the 2012-2013 school year.

We want all of our children to succeed—which is why we started this attendance competition in partnership with a number of community sponsors. The theme of this year’s campaign is “It takes a Baltimore community to raise a child.” They may not all be our children by birth, but they are all our children by community—we are one Baltimore. Everyone in our city has a stake in making sure these kids succeed.

Throughout the school year, schools across the city will compete for fun and prizes. The school with the greatest improvement in attendance, as compared to the same period last year, will win exciting incentives that will benefit students, school administrators, and the community.

For the 2013 – 2014 competition program, schools within specified grade brackets will compete with one another. Brackets for pre-K – kindergarten and 1st – 8th grades will compete from September 30 to November 25. The 9th – 12th grade bracket will compete from March 3 – May 12. The winning school in each grade bracket will receive a monetary award. Students at the winning school will receive incentives to continue to build a stronger educational environment, like tickets to a Baltimore Blast game or a pizza party, and 100 lucky students from the winning school will get to attend a party celebrating their success.

This year’s campaign is made possible by our partners, including Comcast, Baltimore Blast, Under Armour, Port Discovery, and Domino’s Pizza.

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