News Detail

WASD Launches 'Be Present' Campaign to Promote School Attendance

District Wide

August 22, 2019 | Community

Be Present Campaign Image

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AUGUST 22, 2019) — The Williamsport Area School District has announced the launch of its new “Be Present” campaign, a school district-community call-to-action to promote the importance of being in school every day while also raising awareness against chronic absenteeism.

Last fall, in the wake of an amendment to the Pennsylvania School Code on student attendance, the district joined up with the national nonprofit Attendance Works to motivate students and parents by championing the academic and social benefits of attending school more regularly.

This year, WASD is taking the local lead with its own campaign, designed according to the framework set forth by Attendance Works.

The effort, with a tagline of “attend today, achieve tomorrow,” will more pervasively bring attention to the cause with a goal of mobilizing the community to promote the value of good attendance and reduce chronic absences.

Nationally, an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students are at risk academically each year because they are chronically absent, defined as missing up to 10 percent or more of school days in excused and unexcused absences. During the 2018-2019 school year, about one in six WASD students missed nearly a month of school.

“Every day a student is absent from school is a lost opportunity for learning,” said Dr. Richard Poole, WASD’s director of student services. “Too many parents and students do not realize that just missing two days each month can be a problem, and that often leads to falling behind in the classroom. Even fewer families realize that absenteeism is a problem as early as kindergarten, and building the habit of attendance in the early grades can influence their children’s chances of graduating from high school.”

Over the summer, the district’s attendance committee, comprised of administrators and school social workers, worked to develop the campaign and to secure its initial batch of partners from area businesses, nonprofits and youth agencies.

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Webb Weekly and Lamar Advertising also have signed on as media sponsors to push out the message during national Attendance Awareness Month in September using promotional materials that display the faces of WASD students.

 “Too many absences not only can affect achievement but also the social and emotional growth of the student,” Poole said. “When families understand the negative effects of chronic absenteeism on realizing their hopes and dreams for their children, we can work on improving attendance in WASD.” 

 To learn more, or for ways to get involved, click here.

Back to News