Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) successful “Get 2 School. You Can Make It!” attendance campaign has entered its fourth year, with Browns Give Back again serving as the signature partner of the campaign.
The attendance campaign spreads 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.
For three straight years, CMSD’s attendance campaign has surpassed its goal for reducing the percentage of students who missed more than 10 days of class during the school year. The District has reduced the number of off-track students by nearly 22%. This means over 4,100 students improved their attendance habits compared to previous years, significantly increasing their chances to graduate and succeed academically.
Earlier this year, seven Browns players visited CMSD’s Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy as a reward for improvement in student attendance and academic performance.
More recently, the entire Browns roster enjoyed fun activities with 200 students from across the District at the Dawg Pound Games, part of the Cleveland Browns Foundation’s annual golf tournament. The outing rewarded second- through sixth-graders for their commitment to improve attendance.
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 focuses on ensuring students miss 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 of supporting education and keeping kids in school. Arby’s Restaurants, a partner of the Browns, has donated monthly lunches to school classrooms to act as student attendance incentives. This year, GOJO, the makers of Purell, also piloted a hand hygiene program in nine schools in an effort to reduce absences due to illness.
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. To date, Browns Give Back has provided grants to Shoes and Clothes for Kids to fund 6,000 “Special Teams Packages” which include school uniforms, casual clothes, shoe gift card and other necessary school supplies to students facing extreme economic hardship and often times are homeless. A shortage of proper uniforms and clothing can cause children to miss school. Browns Give Back is breaking down this barrier and allowing students to focus on school.