FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 3, 2013

Volunteer greeters take a moment to pose with Maynard from the Mallards and Superintendent Jen Cheatham and United Way President & CEO Leslie Ann Howard
Volunteer greeters take a moment to pose with Maynard from the Mallards and Superintendent Jen Cheatham and United Way President & CEO Leslie Ann Howard

HERE! Every Student, Every Day is a community awareness campaign to educate the community about the importance of regular school attendance

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), City of Madison and United Way of Dane County are teaming up to increase overall attendance for all students in Madison. HERE! Every Student, Every Day is a community awareness campaign to educate parents, guardians, caregivers, community members and students on the importance of regular attendance and how chronic absences can affect long-term academic success and ultimately a student’s ability to graduate.

“We are going to be working harder than ever this year to ensure that every school is a thriving school that prepares every student for college, career and community,” Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “For our schools to thrive, we need great attendance. We’re excited to work with United Way and the City of Madison to promote the importance of attendance throughout this year.”

The HERE! campaign will kick-off September 3rd with MMSD staff and volunteers from the Madison Mallards, UW- Madison Athletics and community and business volunteers welcoming families and students to their first day of school. Volunteers will be at every school in the Madison District.

In addition, at Madison’s City Council meeting, later that evening, Council Member will be showing their support of this work by wearing HERE! t-shirts and taking roll at the beginning of their meeting, to reinforce the idea that attending school every day is important.

“The City through its Education Committee is committed to advancing the collaborative work of the City of Madison, Dane County, MMSD and all our community partners,” says Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “I am grateful to the committee’s leadership, and I am pleased that this partnership is moving forward to shape the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. We believe the HERE! awareness campaign has the ability to guarantee the success of our community’s youngest citizens.”

The HERE! awareness campaign strategies, which will be implemented throughout the entire year, were formulated by a group of community volunteers, stakeholders and thought leaders throughout Dane County. Lead by Sal Carranza and Enis Ragland, they have been meeting over the last six months to understand the issue of attendance in our community and how to help raise graduation rates in Madison.

“It is vital to the strength and vibrancy of our community that we provide every possible way for all students in our community to succeed. Focusing on the attendance issue is just one more way we can work together to close the achievement gap,” says Leslie Ann Howard, President & CEO, United Way of Dane County. “It is an honor to partner with MMSD and the City of Madison on this awareness campaign.”