This classroom might look full of students ready to learn, but some teachers struggle every day to get perfect attendance.
Bishara Addison, project manager of strategy implementation at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District said, “we can’t teach your kids, if we’re not, if they’re not in the school buildings.”
Studies show that when kids miss 20 days or more it increases their probability to do poorly down the road, and even become a dropout. In Cleveland, the challenge is even more severe.
“So when kids miss 10 which is actually around like 5 percent of the school year,” Addison said. “Your likely of being on track to graduate drops from 73 percent to 34 percent, that’s a huge drop.”
That's why CMSD and the Cleveland Browns have teamed up together to combat attendance and overall school involvement.
“The purpose of the get to school campaign is really to raise public awareness that every day counts” said Addison.
One way they're trying to get students to get to school in these frigid temperatures this winter is simply having neighbors and parents shovel the sidewalk.
The hope for the pilot program through the ‘Safe Routes to School’ initiative is to allow kids to have safe, walkable routes to school each day.
Megan Conklin, program manager for Safe Routes to School at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health said, “We do know that when there is poor weather or snow, it does effect student’s abilities to get to school safely. It forces them into the street or sometimes forces them to not come to school at all.”
This weekend, program coordinators and volunteers will go door to door getting the word out about their new plan.
“We’re going to be choosing two neighborhoods, the central neighborhood as well as Detroit-Shoreway,” said Conklin. “So at the very core, we’re trying to really inform and spread the word among these communities to help us get our kids to school.”
Addison added, “Our CEO said, you know, our kids don’t have time to wait…in Cleveland, every day really does count.”
Volunteers will be canvassing Cleveland neighborhoods for the safe routes-clean sidewalks event Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.