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School attendance competition winner celebrates with holiday party

12/19/2014, 6 a.m.
On Monday, December 15, 2014, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was joined by Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton and ...
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Santa Claus, Ken Finkelstein from Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor along with Ravens players and Frederick Elementary students at the Mayor’s annual holiday party at Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor on Monday, December 15, 2014. Frederick Elementary was the winning school for the Fall 2014 competition of the Mayor's School Attendance Campaign. (Photo: Gar Roberts)

— On Monday, December 15, 2014, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was joined by Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton and other school officials to announce Frederick Elementary as the winning school for the Fall 2014 competition of the Mayor's School Attendance Campaign, which aims to improve student attendance by increasing awareness among students, parents and schools.

Each year, 15 percent of Baltimore City elementary students are chronically absent, missing more than 20 days of school over the course of the school year. Over the course of their first five years in school, 36 percent of Baltimore’s youngest students are chronically absent during at least one year.

“Each day, I work to secure a stronger future for Baltimore's young people," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “This attendance campaign is significant in our efforts to ensure that Baltimore’s school-aged children are in the classroom everyday, on time and ready to learn. Through innovative strategies, a caring and supportive academic environments, and valued partnerships, we will continue to do all we can to grow better futures for our children.”

Frederick Elementary earned first place in the competition by decreasing their at-risk for chronic absence (ARCA) rate by 9.5 percentage points, from 25.6 percent during the 2013-14 school year to 16 percent this school year, as of November 18, 2014 —more than any other school participating in the competition. The ARCA is a measure that helps schools identify students who may miss more than a month of school by the end of the school year, allowing school officials to offer support to those students early on.

“Learning and preparing for college and career happen when students are in the classroom every day,” said Dr. Gregory Thornton. “Principal Draper and her staff have worked hard to make Frederick Elementary a place where students want go every day and where parents feel welcome and involved in their children’s school success. I am grateful to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for her longstanding support on this important issue.”

In recognition of their improved attendance, 100 students from Frederick Elementary were invited to attend the Mayor’s annual holiday party at Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor. The party— sponsored by Sports Boosters of Maryland— was hosted by Baltimore Ravens players Eugene Monroe and Brandon Williams and featured guest

appearances by Baltimore Ravens DeAngelo Tyson and Jeremy Miles, as well as Batman and Santa Claus. Players helped students select gifts for themselves and a loved one.

Nine-year-old Chaliy Levi enjoyed the party. "The event was fun to meet Santa, Batman, getting a gift for my mom, and enjoying food, " she said.

The Mayor's School Attendance Campaign is an initiative of the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools.