Baltimore's Commonwealth program, which has aimed to help public high school students find their way into jobs or college, is expanding to include middle schools as well.
Students at five middle schools will be eligible for special discounts at certain stores and free admission to some museums if they maintain good attendance. Educators believe that students whose attendance drops off in middle school become likely dropouts, and have difficulty holding onto jobs.
Students who keep their attendance up will be issued cards, called "Gold Cards," to use as identification. The cards will be issued monthly to students who had 90 percent attendance the preceding month, or to any student who reduced absences by four days over the month before that.
The first cards will be issued in October.
Participating middle schools are Dunbar, Winston, Benjamin Franklin, Diggs-Johnson and Harlem Park.