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Did you know that students who miss roughly two days a month of school starting in kindergarten average lower reading and math levels as late as the 5th grade? Moreover, according to United Way in an article in The Northside Chronicle, student attendance is significantly lower in the month of February. This is why the United Way of Southwestern PA has launched their “Be There” campaign initiative which is focused on increasing student attendance during the month of February–and, hopefully, beyond.

On February 1st, teachers, local community leaders and volunteers will gather outside of Pittsburgh schools to cheer on the students. In addition, 13 groups of students will create motivational attendance videos with United Way selecting a winner at the end of the month. The student-made videos will be displayed on the event’s “Be There Pgh” Facebook page. Mayor Bill Peduto has also made his own video–with the assist of the Pirate Parrot–about the importance of attendance and education:


Lois Mufuka Martin, United Way’s chief volunteer engagement office, said about the challenge, “We call on the community to support this challenge by encouraging students to attend school through establishing a routine, talking about school every day and making attendance a household priority.”

Participating schools in the “Be There” program include: Avalon Elementary (Northgate), Perry, King K-8, Roosevelt 2-5, Manchester, Morrow, Spring Hill, Concord, Brookline, Roosevelt PreK-1, Arlington 3-8, Arlington PreK-2, Schiller 6-8, and Allegheny 6-8.

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