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January 27, 2016

Celebrating Regional Attendance Awareness Poster Contest Winners

We began with 38,000 students creating posters for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Attendance Awareness Poster Contest, and ended up with 27 students named as Regional Winners.

These 27 talented students were selected by our panel of judges, and will receive a brand new iPad at at their respective county school board meetings late this month and in early February.

Our regional judges were:

Hedy Chang, founder of the National initiative Attendance Works

Bill Church, Executive Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Chris Wille, Editorial Page Editor of the Bradenton Herald

Jeff Schwartz, Dean at Ringling College of Art and Design

Michael Shelton, Executive Director of Embracing Our Differences

These regional judges were given the difficult task of selecting just one winning poster for each grade level from the 388 school-level winning posters. Each of the judges expressed their delight and dismay at the outstanding poster designs. The colorful and creative images each stressed the importance of outstanding school attendance and selecting just one per grade level was a real challenge.

We heartily congratulate the school-level winners who each have received four tickets to attend this year’s Circus Sarasota, featuring world class clown-daredevil Bello Nock. And while we share the excitement expressed by each of the schools honored by having a regional winner, the biggest excitement for us is the 38,000 participants in the contest. Each student who created a poster had the opportunity to learn about the importance of attendance, process that information, and then explain what it means through the individual artistic expression.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is focused on reducing chronic absenteeism as one of the ways to increase reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Best practices show us that attendance messaging helps build a habit and a culture of attendance by helping everyone understand why going to school regularly matters, when missing school is a problem, and what they can do to ensure students are in school.

We know chronic absence can be significantly reduced when schools families and community partners work together. The Attendance Awareness Poster Contest inspired the creation of 38,000 posters and provided countless opportunities in schools and homes throughout the region for meaningful discussions on the importance of outstanding attendance.

Congratulations 38,000 times for a job well done!

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