- staffing phone banks designed to find out why students are missing school and how the District can help overcome barriers.
- having Browns players visit schools to talk about the importance of good attendance.
- sending volunteers door-to-door in select neighborhoods to talk about the importance of good attendance.
- working with Shoes and Clothes for Kids to provide students with clean uniforms and school supplies. Lack of those basics can prevent children from attending school. Shoes and Clothes for Kids recently announced a pilot program that would furnish students all K-3 students in five schools with uniforms and supplies for three years.
- Distributing “Special Teams Packages” of school uniforms and supplies, courtesy of the Cleveland Browns Foundation. About 2,000 students received the packages during the 2018-19 school year, and data shows the students’ attendance increased an average of nearly 20 percent after they received the items.
- playing recorded messages on public transit to recognize schools that improve attendance.
- throwing surprise pizza and pop-up dance parties, featuring FM 107.9 and deejays, at schools that raise attendance.
- giving away tickets to the Cedar Point amusement park and major events.
- delivering lunches from Arby’s to schools that make gains.
- holding contests on “You Can Make It Days” when families might be inclined to extend long weekends or use other reasons to keep children home.
How is it working?
The percentage of students whose attendance is “on track,” meaning they missed 10 or fewer days, has steadily improved when compared against the average of the preceding three years. Ten days is a tougher standard than the state threshold for chronic absenteeism, 18 days, or 10 percent of the school year.
For 2013-2015, the three years preceding the inception of the Attendance Campaign, only 50.1% of students were “On Track” with their attendance, missing 10 or fewer days.
Last school year, the number of on-track students reached 58.6 percent, short of the goal of 60.4 percent but ahead of the three-year average, 57.1 percent.
The campaign achieved its goal in each of the preceding three school years. This equates to an improvement of more than 500 students staying On Track compared to the three-year average. Compared to the baseline from 2013-15, CMSD had nearly 3000 more students stay On Track with their attendance during the 2018-19 school year.
A highlight has been the Special Teams Packages, funded by the Browns Give Back Foundation, and delivered by Shoes and Clothes for Kids. These packages include school uniforms and supplies, and were delivered to approximately 2,000 CMSD students this year. These students showed improvements in their attendance rate of nearly 20% after receiving the package.