United Way, educators launch school attendance initiative

Tri-City HeraldApril 23, 2013 

Twelve middle schools and 9,700 students will participate in a new program aimed at improving student attendance in the Mid-Columbia.

The Community Solutions Committee of the United Way of Benton & Franklin County officially announced its Attendance Matters campaign during the organizations annual Live United Celebration on Tuesday. Kennewick Schools Superintendent Dave Bond and Bruce Hawkins, superintendent for Educational Service District 123, said during the launch that the earlier students learn about the importance of attending school, the better for their education and the community at large.

"Attendance matters because students who develop habits in school take them out to the workplace," Hawkins said.

The Gates Foundation has already provided a $25,000 grant for the program, much of which has gone to television commercials promoting school attendance and already airing in the region. Organizers will now seek business sponsors to help pay for implementing the rest of the campaign, including prize incentives for students and other resources. Bond said the initiative will fully kick off with the beginning of the 2013-14 school year this fall.

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