Cleveland Schools See Attendance Boost With Marketing and Incentive Program

Jul 9, 2018

Cleveland school officials say a marketing and incentive program has made a drastic difference in its attendance rates. The district has now presented the program to members of the Ohio Board of Education.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District started its “Get 2 School, You Can Make It” campaign in 2015 with the goal of changing the city’s culture around school attendance.

CMSD’s Lorri Hobson, who oversees district attendance programs, told members of the state Board of Education that before the campaign began, 44 percent of Cleveland students were chronically absent, or missed more than 10 days each year. Two years later, 30 percent of students fall into that category, getting more than 5,000 kids back on track.

“When our scholars are absent for 10 days for any reason, they score 12 points lower on standard reading tests, 15 points lower on standard math and they’re 34 percent less likely to graduate high school,” said Hobson.

She explains the attendance campaign includes many of the same elements as an election campaign, including door knocking, billboards and robo calls from both teachers and Cleveland Browns players.