Missing just 18 days of school a year can lead to disaster: 3rd graders unable to master reading, 6th graders failing courses, and 9th graders dropping out of high school. School attendance is key to success, although very few students, parents and schools realize how quickly absences can add up and lead to academic trouble.
Project U-Turn is looking to change that by launching their attendance awareness campaign today, designed to ensure that parents and other caring adults understand the importance of regular school attendance for students. Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), the Project U-Turn Committee, Mayor Michael Nutter, and Dr. William Hite have been working collectively to prepare and launch the campaign to help all Philadelphian’s understand the need for consistent education.
“Students who miss more than nine days of schools each year do not stay engaged,” said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, CEO and acting president of PYN. She stressed that there are important educational milestones, such as learning to read by 3rd grade, that are time-sensitive, and students who miss these milestones often struggle throughout their education.
“The real point is that a little absence matters a lot. When those absences add up they can really put a young person behind in school,” she said.
With funding from the William Penn Foundation, the campaign is using social media, community outreach, local partnerships and public service announcements to press the message that every absence counts.
This message is not just addressed at students. As Fulmore-Townsend pointed out, parents are also responsible for their child’s attendance, particularly younger children. Still, the focus of the campaign is on high school students, where the highest drop-out rates occur.
“Everyday that a child is not in the classroom represents a day of lost education,” Fulmore-Townsend said. “And we want to make sure that even in these trying times young people are attending school regularly.”
In addition, Project U-turn launched a number of social media accounts this week:
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/projuturn
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/ProjUTurn
- Instagram – http://instagram.com/ProjUTurn
- YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8RLrpPr-ksV7hvudAyValw
They’ll be using the hashtag #PhillyAttendance to continue the conversation online.
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