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District schools place in national attendance competition

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

UPDATE, Dec. 1: Academy at Palumbo won in the East Region.

Several Philadelphia schools are on track to win prizes in a national competition that aims to improve attendance rates through fun activities.

Academy at Palumbo currently holds first place in the Eastern region of the Get Schooled Attendance Challenge. Bartram High School is in second place and Lincoln High School is also in the region’s top 10. The competition runs through November 18.

The Get Schooled Attendance Challenge is using media and pop culture to increase school attendance across the country and encourage students to take charge of their education.

Here’s how it works:

  • Registered schools earn points by participating in a number of activities, including nominating an inspiring teacher, taking polls about school food and classes, and engaging in trivia contests.
  • Every time a student takes part in one of these events or simply comes to school, they get points for their school and Get Schooled tracks the points online.
  • Schools with the most engagement and the most improvement in attendance are recognized regionally and nationally, and win prizes like college scholarships, celebrity visits, field trips, and school makeovers.

"We were trying to think of creative ways to increase attendance, so [the competition] came at the perfect time,” said roster chairperson and art teacher Kiana Thompson, who is heading up the competition at Academy at Palumbo.

According to Thompson, since entering the challenge, her school has had an average weekly attendance rate of 97 percent.

One of the most popular challenges consists of signing up to receive wake-up calls in the morning from celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj, and Tyra Banks.

Academy at Palumbo won a field trip for having the highest participation rates in the Eastern region during last week’s student poll. School administrators are still deciding where to take students for the field trip.

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