District launches 'Attendance matters' campaign

Student speaking at the podium during attendance press conference.

A broad coalition of students, parents and community partners joined Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams at a news conference on Tuesday to support the City School District of Albany’s new campaign to improve attendance at every school.

The campaign theme: Attendance matters. All day. Every day.

“Students who regularly attend school every day and are positively engaged have the benefit of academic and social emotional growth and have opportunities to build positive relationships with their peers, teachers and other staff members,” Adams said.

Starting with the new school year, the district will undertake efforts to improve attendance, including:

  • Intensifying efforts to identify barriers to good attendance early on, and working with families and community agencies to overcome those barriers;
  • Working to ensure our schools are places where students and families feel welcome, valued and safe;
  • Educating families about the benefits of good attendance through positive messages in our schools, on CDTA buses and bus shelters, in radio ads, at local businesses and with agencies that serve our families; and
  • Improving and standardizing how we collect and interpret attendance data.

Joining Adams to share their insights on the importance of attendance were C’yahni Bedell, an Albany High School sophomore; Emmett MacCallum (pictured above), a Pine Hills Elementary School fifth-grader; and Eric Treece, father of Albany High sophomore Marcus Treece and O’Neal Middle School seventh-grader Troy Treece.

Other community partners taking part in the news conference included:

  • School board Vice President Vickie Smith;
  • Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan;
  • New York State Assembly members Patricia Fahy and John McDonald;
  • County Executive Dan McCoy;
  • Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins;
  • University at Albany Provost Carol Kim, Ph.D.;
  • Capital Region Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Talent and Inclusion Jason Benitez
  • Macedonia Baptist Church member (and retired science teacher who now substitute teaches in our district) Deborah Nazon, Ph.D.; and
  • Albany County District Attorney David Soares

Each speaker gave his or her perspective on why good attendance matters to individual students, families, schools, colleges, careers and our community’s well-being as a whole.