BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Aug. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Teachers around the country estimate that nearly one in five students struggle with access to clean clothes. This seemingly small barrier can have a significant impact on a student's academic experience. More than half of teachers surveyed believe these students are more likely to struggle with absenteeism, a critical issue impacting an estimated five to 10 million students each year.
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To further examine how the simple act of laundry can impact attendance rates, Whirlpool brand is introducing the Care Counts™ program, a laundry program offering students access to washers and dryers in their schools. In the first year, the program provided approximately 2,000 loads of clean clothes to students across two school districts. After examining the correlation between student attendance and loads of laundry washed and dried, over 90% of tracked students in the first year of the program improved their attendance, averaging 6.1 more days in school than the previous year. The program impacted the most at-risk participants1 even more, with an average of nearly two more weeks in school than the previous year.
"Every single day of school matters. When students miss school, they are missing an opportunity to learn," said Martha Lacy, principal, David Weir K-8 Academy. "Absenteeism strongly impacts a student's academic performance. In fact, students with excessive absence rates are more likely to fall behind, graduate late and even drop out."
Students in the pilot program improved more than just attendance rates. Teachers surveyed saw that:
- 95% of participants showed increased motivation in class
- 95% of participants were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities
- 95% of participants interacted with peers and enjoyed school more
- 89% of participants got good grades
"When we learned that a child's education could be at risk because they do not have access to clean clothes, we were determined to help," said Chelsey Lindstrom, brand manager, Whirlpool brand. "It's incredible to see how the simple act of laundry can have such a profound impact on students' lives and we are excited to bring this resource to even more schools across the country."
Whirlpool brand worked with internationally recognized developmental psychologist and researcher, Dr. Richard Rende, Ph.D., to design this pilot laundry program exploring the connection between access to clean clothes and attendance rates. As a part of the program, each school identifies students with a need for clean clothes and anonymously tracks their loads of laundry, attendance and grades throughout the school year. To measure additional behavioral changes, each student's primary teacher also completes a qualitative survey asking if they believe access to clean clothes improves their student's ability to do a variety of activities from participating in class to enjoying school.
"While there are many factors that contribute to student attendance, little information is known about the prevalence and impact of a lack of clean clothes," said Dr. Richard Rende, Ph.D. "This program holds substantial potential to address this critically important factor to help take on the absenteeism crisis in our nation's schools."
With the success of its inaugural year, the Care Counts™ program will continue to help students gain access to clean clothes by expanding to additional school districts starting this summer.
To learn more about this need and help make an impact, visit Whirlpool.com/carecounts.
About the Care Counts™ Program Methodology
Whirlpool brand works with school teachers, administrators and Dr. Richard Rende, Ph.D., an internationally recognized developmental psychologist and researcher, to draw research-based connections between access to clean clothes and attendance rates by anonymously tracking student attendance, loads of laundry and grades. For more information on the methodology, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Whirlpool Brand
For more than one hundred years, Whirlpool brand has been inspired by how people care for their families. Whirlpool brand is designing home appliances that are focused on improving how families give and get the care they need with the latest technologies and innovations – whether that means most flexible refrigerator storage for all types of family needs, induction technology for efficient cooking and easier cleaning, or laundry pairs that sense and adapt to clothes with the latest in connected technologies. Whirlpool brand is part of Whirlpool Corporation, the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances. Whirlpool Corporation is also one of Habitat for Humanity's largest corporate partners for over 15 dedicated years, donating a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in North America. For more information on Whirlpool, please visit whirlpool.com/everydaycare or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/whirlpoolusa or Twitter at @WhirlpoolUSA. Additional information about the company can be found at whirlpoolcorp.com.
1 Students who missed 10 or more days in the prior school year
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SOURCE Whirlpool Brand