Working to boost school attendance [Letter]

March 28, 2014

At Wide Angle Youth Media, we couldn't agree more with Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke's statement that school attendance "is everybody's responsibility" ("City councilwoman urges different approach to combating student absenteeism," March 2)

Wide Angle is a nonprofit that provides Baltimore students with media education to tell their stories and become engaged in their communities. Regular school attendance is key along the route toward a brighter future. Our students are taking note of this and doing something about it.

In partnership with the Baltimore Student Attendance Collaborative, and supported by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, Wide Angle and its partners, such as AARP's Experience Corps and others, are working with principals, teachers and the community to reduce chronic absence by 25 percent by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Students on our Wide Angle Attendance and Design Team have been producing media campaigns with the goal of removing barriers to everyday attendance. They are working with the BSAC and others to create media campaigns and events that promote attendance and public transportation improvements. And they are reaching out to students, parents, teachers and principals in a variety of ways.

Wide Angle's students are using their media skills and civic leadership to foster a community dedicated to improving attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism. They are showing what can be done with a mission and community collaboration.

Gina Davis, Baltimore

The writer is board president of Wide Angle Youth Media.

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