The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading contest drew almost 50,000 entries from across the region.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced the winners of its annual Attendance Awareness Poster Contest on Thursday. The poster contest, which aims to reinforce the importance of attending school every day drew 49,911 entries from elementary students across Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. The contest is part of the Campaign’s efforts to battle chronic absenteeism — missing 10 percent or more of the school year.
“Creating an original piece of artwork for the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest gives students an engaging way to internalize the importance of attending school every day,” said Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for The Patterson Foundation. “The messages the students incorporate into their posters serve as a reminder for parents and families that outstanding attendance is an important component in realizing their hopes and dreams for their children.”
Students who miss just two or three days a month can finish school one to two years behind their peers, according to research from Attendance Works, an organization focused on reducing the number of students missing school. The impact is even more evident among young children, where chronic absenteeism is linked to lower grade-level reading proficiency and is often an early indicator that a child will not graduate on time.
Local school districts have developed unique approaches toward battling absenteeism. In Manatee, Title I schools use federal funding to employ Graduation Enhancement Technicians who work with chronically absent students. The Sarasota Housing Authority requires families to address absentee issues to qualify for housing vouchers, and the Sarasota School District has developed an online attendance dashboard to help administrators track how many students are missing school on a regular basis.
Attendance Poster Contest winners
The theme of this year’s contest was “Strive for Less than Five Days Absent,” to help students set a concrete goal for the school year. The winners each received an iPad and four tickets to a spring training baseball game in their region.
Sarasota County Regional Winners
Greta Jones, Ashton Elementary School
Abby Lee, Tatum Ridge Elementary School
Adrian Chavarria, Cranberry Elementary School
Anna (Xinyu) Zhang, Pine View School
Sydney Coxe, Lakeview Elementary School
Jazmin Smith, Taylor Ranch Elementary School
Manatee County Regional Winners
Jaxon W. Cline, Myakka City Elementary School
Sophia Cryer, Anna Maria Elementary School
Sarai Castillo, Samoset Elementary School
Lily Wojtkowski, Gilbert McNeal Elementary
Abigail Vera, Virgil Mills Elementary School
Isabelle Flores, Tara Elementary School
Charlotte County Regional Winners
Rylee McDougall, Sallie Jones Elementary School
Alexis Cruz, Sallie Jones Elementary School
Emma Drake, Deep Creek Elementary School
Lily Harrison, Sallie Jones Elementary School
Jillian Kulman, Neil Armstrong Elementary School
Ridhi Patel, Myakka River Elementary School
DeSoto County Regional Winners
Darsh Patel, West Elementary School
Joselyn De Santiago, Nocatee Elementary School
Davinius Wolford, Nocatee Elementary School
Yoselyn Santiago, Memorial Elementary School
Cristian Dominguez, Nocatee Elementary School
Kimberly Galindo, Nocatee Elementary School
This story comes from a partnership between the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Herald-Tribune, funded by The Patterson Foundation, to cover school readiness, attendance, summer learning, healthy readers and parent engagement. Read more stories at https://www.gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net/category/solutions-journalism-partnership/.