Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) successful “Get 2 School. You Can Make It!” attendance campaign has entered its third year, with the Browns Give Back again serving as the signature partner of the campaign.
Last school year, the attendance campaign spread awareness through billboards, yard signs, radio commercials, RTA public bus announcements, and social media, including videos featuring Cleveland Browns players sharing the importance of getting to school.
Browns defensive lineman, Nate Orchard and Larry Ogunjobi, recently stressed the importance of teamwork, respect, hard work and punctuality in a visit to the Walton School in support of the attendance campaign.
During the program’s two years, 14 percent fewer students are missing more than 10 days a school-year, which means thousands of students are no longer at-risk academically because they are in school and learning.
Unfortunately, chronic absenteeism affects school districts across the country. Nationwide, more than 6 million students missed at least 15 days of school, according to data that the Department of Education published in September 2016. Ohio defines chronic absenteeism at 18 days, or 10 percent of the school year. To combat absenteeism and set a higher standard for the District, CMSD tried to ensure that students were missing fewer than 10 days of school a year.
District data shows that students who miss 10 or more days in a year score significantly lower on state tests (12 points lower on state reading tests and 15 points lower on state math tests). Missing more than 10 days of school a year also decreases CMSD students’ ability to graduate by 34 percentage points!
Browns Give Back also works with its corporate partners that share the same mission to keep kids in school and reduce chronic absenteeism. Arby’s Restaurants, a partner of the Browns, has also contributed to the attendance campaign by donating monthly lunches to school classrooms to act as student incentives and they also provide food coupons to keep children fed over the summer. This year, GOJO Industries, Inc. donated 3,000 mini hand sanitizers to prevent students and teachers from getting sick and keeping kids in school and also looking to pilot a hand hygiene program in select schools this year and have students’ track their own data to understand its impact on attendance.
This school-year, Browns Give Back will once again collaborate with Shoes and Clothes for Kids to eliminate clothing as a barrier to attendance for CMSD students. Children in poverty are more likely to face systemic barriers to school and inadequate clothing is one common barrier. A grant to Shoes and Clothes for Kids will fund 3,000 “Special Teams Packages” that includes school uniforms, casual clothes and other necessary school supplies to students facing extreme economic hardship and often times are homeless. A shortage of proper clothes can cause children to miss school, and Browns Give Back is breaking down this barrier and allowing students to focus on school.
CMSD is thankful for generous and supportive partners like the Browns Give Back in their support of the attendance campaign and helping students succeed.