Attendance Rates "Strong" in Cleveland Public Schools

CEO Eric Gordon's "At10Dance - Ode to 'Hitch'"
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Cleveland public school students enjoyed a day in street clothes instead of uniforms Tuesday.  It was CEO Eric Gordon’s way of encouraging kids to attend school the day before the Thanksgiving break – a typically low attendance day.   Ideastream’s Annie Wu reports he also wanted to congratulate the students for improved attendance rates so far this year. 

Overall attendance at Cleveland public schools is at more than 92%, that’s up almost 3% compared to last year.  Cleveland School Superintendent Eric Gordon says there’s a whole host of reasons why kids miss school.

"It ranges from things like one sibling being responsible for getting another child to school,  students who don’t have the proper uniform and therefore don’t come to school, students who have transportation issues. There’s also the age-old truancy that some kids go in the front door and out the back." 

He says being absent more than 10 days a year can affect test scores and the likelihood of graduating.  As part of the district’s “Get to School, You Can Make It” campaign, Gordon posted an “at-10-dance” video of himself earlier this year re-creating a scene from the movie “Hitch.”

"So, we thought, what if we just stopped at 10 o’clock for a hot minute and drew attention to this?"

 (music)  If that’s not working, hit ‘em with this.  Ok this video’s not serious, but your attendance is…

And yesterday was the first of a series of incentive days offering kids the chance to win pizza parties, board games and prom tickets for going to school on typically low attendance days.  The district expects more of those as the snow season begins.  But Gordon says they’ve also tried to reach out to adults.

"Every Tuesday & Thursday we run a phone bank and call families to make sure that they are aware that their children aren’t in school and to problem solve the reasons for it.  Door knocking campaigns where we go door to door and talk to families personally and try to solve problems that way."

Gordon says, so far attendance rates are strong in five of the six grades targeted in the “Get to School” campaign.

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