Motivating students to make the most out of 180 days this school year
October 23, 2019
PROVIDENCE, RI— Superintendent Francis Gallo today joined Mayor Jorge O. Elorza in announcing the launch of PVD180; a social media-based campaign aimed at addressing student absenteeism in Providence Public Schools.
“Missing out on schools means missing out on your future,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Our students are the future of our city and country. We want them to take each school day as a new opportunity to learn something new, explore their community, and realize their potential.”
The campaign builds on work started by students at Juanita Sanchez Education Complex (JSEC) related to chronic absenteeism by engaging youth through videos from local and national celebrities. Similar to other school districts across the country, the Providence School Department is challenged with high levels of chronic absenteeism, which is defined as a percentage of students who miss 10 percent or more of school. It is estimated that 45 percent of Providence students are chronically absent over the course of a school year.
“It is important for our students to be in school, every day, on time and ready to learn. We know that too many of our students are absent too often, and that hurts their ability to succeed. This is a unique and fun way to encourage kids to go to school, while also reminding them of the many people who care about them and are rooting for their success.”
Outreach to authorized accounts works to motivate students by reminding them of the importance education has on their future. Celebrities such actors from the hit show “The Office” and Vine-star Lil’ Terrio were engaged as part of the campaign, submitting videos addressed to Providence students. Local figures such as Providence Police Major Oscar Perez, Esek Hopkins Middle School Culture Coordinator Carina Monge, and local sports figures also submitted videos encouraging better attendance from Providence Public Schools. Videos and outreach will be deployed throughout the school year with an emphasis on long weekends and days with inclement weather. Research shows those days have higher instances of low attendance.
“I truly believe that meaningful learning happens when students are active participants in what and how they learn,” said JSEC teacher Shannon Gormley. “This project was a culmination of what they experience daily in school– making connections to themselves, their peers, and their community. Their enthusiasm for this attendance project is rooted in having adults be extremely interested in their ideas and their voices being heard.”
Chronic absenteeism is associated with increased risk of drop-out, poor academic performance, and school disengagement. Additionally, health issues are significant drivers of chronic absenteeism and are associated with engaging in health-risk behaviors.