Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB) Challenges Oakland Unified School Dist. Students to Perfect Attendance in Recognition of National Student Attendance Awareness Month

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Celebrated for the first time in September 2013, "Attendance Awareness Month" is a nationwide recognition of the connection between school attendance and academic achievement. Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB), a non-profit community service agency, has made it a priority to highlight the importance of all students attending school every day.

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Every Day Counts" is much more than an awareness campaign. It is a mantra that will help our children establish a strong foundation for life that goes beyond school; it's about building good habits early. This will be fun!

As most students have returned to the classroom by September, it seems appropriate to recognize national “Attendance Awareness Month” (September) with the goal to raise awareness around the importance of students attending school daily and how it connects to academic achievement. Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB) has made it a priority to highlight the importance of all children attending school every day. Between October 19th and November 19th, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) students can compete to win awards up to $500 after qualifying that they have had perfect attendance during the challenge dates.

Twenty students who qualify with perfect attendance; register to be entered into the lottery; and whose names are randomly pulled from the lottery will be winners. For the purpose of this challenge, perfect attendance is attending school every day during the 30 day span (Oct. 19-Nov. 19), with an excused absence from your school. "Every Day Counts" Challenge contest rules.

"After nearly a decade of raising awareness and educating families about the importance of daily school attendance." said Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, ONGB co-founder. "We are finally able to do some of the creative things we have wanted to do since Oakland Natives Give Back's inception. She continued, "I tell you, I can barely contain my excitement because to me, "Every Day Counts" is much more than an awareness campaign. It is a mantra that will help our children establish a strong foundation for life that goes beyond school; it's about building good habits early. This will be fun!"

Why School Attendance Matters:
AttendanceWorks.org reports several dire facts pertaining to K-12 absenteeism rates and its effects on learning.

1.    Strong Start: Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.

2.    Chronic Absenteeism: An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year.

3.    Early Absences Lead to Attendance Issues in Later Grades: Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.

4.    Dropout Indicator: By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.

5.    Chronic Absence = Missing two or more days per month: Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.

6.    Third Grade Reading Level: Poor attendance can keep children from reading proficiently by the end of third grade, which is shown to negatively affect their chances of graduating on time. Read more

"We are excited to partner with ONGB!" shared Theresa Clincy, Coordinator, Attendance and Discipline, Oakland Unified School District. "The Everyday Counts" Attendance Challenge provides a unique opportunity for us to recognize and reward students and schools for good and improved attendance."

About Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB):
In 2008, Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim, and Tameka Raymond, all natives of Oakland, had a vision for their city, and ONGB was created.

Driven by their passion to serve, their mission is to empower the youth and helping people help people in the community in which they were reared. For the first several years, ONGB’s primary event was the annual Back to School Rally at Oakland City Hall, which provided fully loaded back packs and school supplies to underserved children in Oakland at no cost. The success of the annual Back to School Rally deepened the members' desire to help by donating to other not-for-profit agencies in the Community and surrounding areas.

In an effort to continue the momentum set at ONGB’s annual back to school 2015 “Attend and Achieve” event, they thought it was important to partner with the Oakland Unified School District to launch EVERY DAY COUNTS School Attendance Challenge. OaklandNatives.org

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