Most us of think of an isolated school absence as a harmless thing. Especially for younger children.
Sometimes we need to leave one day early for a family trip. Or maybe we need our seventh grader to help look after an infant in a pinch. Missing a day of school isn’t the end of the world, right?
Well, no. But absences add up. And often, parents aren’t aware how much school their child has missed over the course of a year.
Studies show that starting in the sixth grade, missing 18 days or more of school in a year can result in not graduating high school.
The creative challenge for our new Boost Attendance campaign with the Ad Council was alerting parents that actions in middle school can have dire consequences in high school.
The team at Publicis Kaplan Thaler tapped into a universal school ritual — morning roll call — to highlight the importance of attendance at any age. In each scene of the commercial, a teacher calls the name of Michael Adams. The expected answer, of course, is “here.” But in this case, Michael Adams is not in the classroom. We see him in the outside world, saying “here” to no one in particular, highlighting the fact that “here” is not where he should be. Eventually, a teacher calls the name of Michael Adams at a high school graduation ceremony. But there is no response, only silence. Michael Adams does not graduate high school.
The commercial starkly lays out the problem. But, how can parents keep track of their children’s school absences?
On the Boost Attendance website, parents can opt-in to a texting program that will tally a child’s absences any time that they miss school and send parents a text so that they are aware.
The campaign found immediate resonance with parents all over the country and The New York Times, featured it in its advertising column.
Multiple channels of communication — PR, digital, print, out of home, social — are helping parents everywhere understand that “Absences Add Up.”
As September comes to a close and Attendance Awareness Month with it, we encourage parents to be cognizant of the importance of regular school attendance year round. Keep track at BoostAttendance.org.