This year, more than 2,300 DeSoto County elementary school students participated in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Attendance Awareness Poster Contest, fully funded by The Patterson Foundation. The annual contest is held during Attendance Awareness Month to promote outstanding attendance habits and help students and parents understand why going to school every day matters. A total of 82 elementary schools in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties created posters with the message “#EveryDayCounts!”
This year’s theme was “Strive for Less Than Five Days Absent.” We know that there’s no such thing as perfect, especially when it comes to attendance. After all, children do get sick or may need to miss school for a number of reasons. We know missing more than 10% puts children in academic danger. We don’t want our children missing 20 days, so what’s a realistic number? Consider striving for less than five absences per year as hitting the mark of excellence!
Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. When we embrace this habit, children learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.
Winners of the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest were selected from every grade level at participating elementary schools. Four hundred eighty school-level winners from four counties received a framed copy of their poster, a certificate of achievement, and four tickets to a Major League Baseball Spring Training game as a gift from the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. According to their region, winners and their guests will attend a Baltimore Orioles game on February 23, a Tampa Bay Rays game on March 2 or a Pittsburgh Pirates game on March 9.
Student winners from West Elementary:
Student winners from Memorial Elementary:
Student winners from Nocatee Elementary:
“We are so pleased the School District of DeSoto County is partnering with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading through The Patterson Foundation. To make the necessary gains in reading skills so our students can read on grade level by third grade, it is essential that we have family engagement and community-wide involvement.” – Adrian Cline, DeSoto County School District’s Superintendent.
The Attendance Awareness Poster Contest is an initiative of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, fully funded by The Patterson Foundation. The campaign seeks to increase the number of children reading proficiently by the end of third grade, a key indicator of lifelong outcomes such as high school graduation rates. In DeSoto County, there is currently a coalition of local organizations, including the DeSoto County Education Foundation, DeSoto County Health Department, DeSoto County Public Schools, the Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland, and United Way Suncoast writing a Community Solutions Action Plan to become an official Campaign for Grade-Level Reading community.
“We know that students can’t learn if they aren’t attending school. Showing up for class is essential. Students are not able to get the benefit of high-quality education if they are absent from the classroom.” — Ashley Coone, a consultant with The Patterson Foundation.