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September 21, 2023

Attendance Awareness — Laurie’s Musical Message

Laurie Miller, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Dear Friends,

Welcome back to school! I hope you had a phenomenal summer filled with laughter and learning. I don’t know about you, but the start of this school year really snuck up on my family. After months of camp days and sleeping in, waking up early for school was not easy for us. We’re a family who likes to keep “theatre hours.” This is why, on school days, we try to make our morning routine fun with a brief dance party. The song on heaviest rotation at my house – the song of the summer (in my opinion, only) – is Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now.” If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. It’s a real earworm. It’s the type of song that makes you want to get up and dance…and then head to school.

Now, this could be a stretch, but after post breakfast dancing to this song for the 16th million time, we thought, maybe this catchy tune could help motivate other families to get to school…and on time. #EveryDayCounts. And since it’s Attendance Awareness month, we were inspired to parody it (think Weird Al Yankovic) to help promote the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest.

For those that don’t know, the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest is open to all elementary school-aged children in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Students participate in the contest by designing posters that help build awareness about the importance of outstanding attendance. To top it off, there are prizes for all the winners!

If you watch the music video, and I hope you do, you’ll see that it’s silly and fun. And yes, it includes a puppet, a dance party, and a hidden picture of THIS BOOK IS COOL! host Beth Duda. But the message is serious. Showing up matters. Chronic absence has become a national crisis we can and must address. Thank you to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for supporting this important initiative and to all the teachers, administrators, and families for tackling this challenge.

Check out the parody music video to see posters that were submitted last year, learn more about the contest, and get this song stuck in your head all day.

I can’t wait to see what’s created this year!
Your friend,

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