Mayor Rawlings-Blake Announces Winner of First Attendance Competition

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Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
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Monica Lewis

BALTIMORE, MD. (SEPTEMBER 28, 2012) – Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andrés Alonso announced the winners of the first Mayor’s Attendance Campaign competition. The pre-K and kindergarten students at Westside Elementary have won by increasing their average daily attendance for the first month of school from 89 percent last year to 95 percent this year. The winning students will have a fun day at Port Discovery on Tuesday, October 2, and the school will receive a $1,000 grant from Comcast. “Increasing attendance citywide is a priority for this administration. Our first competition focused on pre-K and kindergarten students, because that’s when children and families start forming school attendance habits,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “We want our students to know that attendance is important and that showing up every day is essential for academic success and bright futures.” In addition to going to Port Discovery, the winning students will get Under Armour shirts and a session with celebrity trainer Monte Sanders. “Attendance is an ongoing focus for our school so winning the first Mayor’s Attendance Campaign competition is tremendous – because it recognizes the hard work of our students, teachers and families,” said Westside Elementary principal Brian Pluim. Pluim plans to spend the school’s $1,000 Comcast grant on uniforms for students. “We don’t want uniforms to be the reason students miss school, and we want to give parents the support they need to get their children to school every day—no matter what.” Students from two runner-up schools will also attend the Port Discovery event. Pre-K and kindergarten students at Matthew A. Henson Elementary students had an average daily attendance of 97 percent, up from 93 percent last year. Highlandtown Elementary/Middle pre-K and kindergarten students also had a school attendance rate of 97 percent, surpassing last year’s rate of 94 percent. One in four Baltimore kindergarten students misses a month of school. Starting in kindergarten, these absences can affect academic achievement. Poor attendance in early grades can set a pattern leading to academic struggles for older students. “Making sure every student is in school every day is absolutely essential, and it is something we all have a role in helping make happen,” said Dr. Alonso. “The mayor has been a great champion of strong student attendance in school, and on behalf of all of our students, I want to thank her. We cannot succeed in our efforts to improve attendance without having all of Baltimore City on board—from our elected officials, corporate partners like Comcast and small businesses to students, families, teachers and community leaders. And this competition sends that message loud and clear.” “Comcast supports Baltimore City schools and students through a number of digital literacy, youth leadership development, and educational initiatives, including our Internet Essentials broadband adoption program and the Mayor’s Attendance Campaign,” said Bret Perkins, vice president of external and government affairs for Comcast Corporation. “We congratulate these students for their achievement and for serving as role models for their peers.” Internet Essentials offers affordable, at-home broadband Internet service, low-cost computers, and free digital literacy training to lower-income families. Comcast provided students and parents in attendance at the event with information about Internet Essentials, which has been enhanced in 2012 with expanded eligibility criteria, increased Internet speeds, and more. The next Mayor’s Attendance Campaign competition will target elementary students. The school with the biggest improvement in attendance, as compared to last year, between October 15 and November 30 will win a holiday party with Baltimore Ravens football players, including presents for students and their families. The winning school will also receive a $1,000 grant from Comcast. In addition, five families from the winning schools will receive a $100 gift card from Under Armour. “The Mayor’s Youth Cabinet is delighted with the response to the Mayor’s Attendance Campaign and the results so far,” said Molly McGrath Tierney, chair of the Mayor’s Youth Cabinet and director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services. “Attendance is key to our Grade-Level Reading initiative. Along with our work on summer learning, early childhood education, and teacher quality, we are ensuring that all Baltimore students are reading at grade level by the end of third-grade and are on track for academic success.” The Mayor’s Attendance Campaign is a partnership between Baltimore City Public Schools, the Mayor’s Youth Cabinet, and the Family League of Baltimore City, along with Healthy City Days, Monte Sanders’ Fit Families, Under Amour, and Comcast.

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