BALTIMORE, MD (Monday, August 28, 2023) – Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, alongside Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises, launched the Mayor’s Attendance Challenge, an initiative to promote daily attendance in Baltimore City Public Schools.
Daily attendance and chronic absenteeism has been a challenge for schools across America since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Baltimore City Public Schools is no exception. Baltimore City Public Schools is showing significant improvement in this area, and, through this award, Mayor Scott aims to shine light on that progress while also calling on families and students to not be complacent in ensuring that students are in school, on-time, every day.
Through the Mayor’s Attendance Challenge, Mayor Scott is challenging every student to be on time, every day and will seek to recognize schools making the most progress in improving attendance periodically throughout the year. In addition to a trophy and certificate awarded by the Mayor that the schools can display, Mayor Scott intends to hold a special event for schools that have achieved significant progress at the end of the school year.
“Consistent attendance is one of the most significant markers of a student’s achievement, connection in school, and success in future grades or their future outside of school,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “The COVID-19 pandemic had such a deep impact on kids of all ages, and we’re continuing to overcome the obstacles that it placed on students across the city. We want to bring as much awareness as possible to the importance of consistent attendance, because we need an all hands on deck approach to ensure every student is in school, every day. This Mayor’s Attendance Challenge will hopefully be a fun way of reminding our students of the importance of daily attendance while also recognizing the progress being made.”
“I want to thank Mayor Scott, not just for his attendance initiative, but because this attendance initiative really reflects the commitment and dedication of Mayor Brandon Scott to the young people of Baltimore City – as well as support of Baltimore City Public Schools,” said Dr. Sonja Santelises. “This is a chance to highlight the work and progress that City Schools has done to increase attendance. We’re thrilled that overall attendance across the district improved last year, while chronic absenteeism declined. We also know we still have far to go. So, today signals at the beginning of the school year what we hope – with the Mayor’s backing – will be a city wide effort to make sure young people are in school, on-time, every day this year.”
At the event, the Mayor and Dr. Santelises awarded the first Mayor’s Attendance Cup to Booker T. Washington Middle School Principal Rashida Ford to recognize the school’s efforts to improve attendance at Booker T. Washington Middle School. Last year, Booker T. Washington was the most improved middle school for attendance in City Schools. In highlighting the impact that consistent attendance has on students, Dr. Santelises noted that Booker T. Washington Middle School also increased it’s literacy rate by 10 percentage points this past year.
The stop at Booker T. Washington Middle School was one of several stops made by Mayor Scott on the first day of school. The Mayor also visited: City Neighbors Hamilton, James McHenry Elementary School, Bay Brook Elementary and Middle School, and Arlington Elementary School.