NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T, Def Jam Rapstar, the Get Schooled Foundation, and Viacom have joined forces to improve high school attendance rates with the launch of the Get MotivatED Challenge. Twenty-five high schools nationwide will compete to improve their attendance rates. The school with the most improvement in attendance will earn the title of the 2011 Get MotivatED School, and students in that school will receive college scholarship dollars, free SAT courses and a visit to their school from a Get Schooled celebrity Education Ambassador.
Attendance is one of the most significant predictors of dropping out. Students with more than 20 absences in any given year have only a 19 percent chance of graduating from high school. The average attendance rate in the schools participating in the challenge is 86 percent – or an average of 140 students absent every day (1,000 student high school). The longer students are absent from school, the more difficult it is for them to earn credits and graduate.
"The Get MotivatED Challenge will generate a different level of excitement and inspire students to focus on school and the difference you can make by coming to school every day," said Marie Groark, executive director of the Get Schooled Foundation. "The Get MotivatED Challenge leverages the reach of Viacom's media networks, our partners AT&T and Def Jam Rapstar and the power of pop culture to engage students in their education."
Get Schooled celebrity Education Ambassadors who are supporting the Get MotivatED Challenge include: Trey Songz, Jesse McCartney, Big Boi, hosts of BET's hit show 106 & Park, Terrence J and Rocsi and many more. These celebrities have pre-recorded inspirational messages to play in schools to get students excited about participating in the Get MotivatED Challenge and about the importance of attending school every day. The pre-recorded messages stress the connection between success in school and success in life, because research shows that children and parents too often fail to make the connection.
The Get MotivatED Challenge also recognizes the significant role great teachers play in improving attendance. As part of the Challenge, students will nominate teachers who have made a difference in their lives and who have most inspired them to show up to school every day. Winning teachers will receive gifts and award recognition.
Students will also be encouraged to participate in the Get Schooled Def Jam Rapstar video contest that runs from February 21-March 18. The contest, open to all students in the United States ages 13-19, gives students the opportunity to express the importance of education by creating and recording original songs or poems over beats from some of today's most successful producers. The winner will be flown to New York City, where they will get to meet with Russell Simmons and/or Kevin Liles from Def Jam Enterprises and have a chance to perform their winning rhyme. In addition, Regal Entertainment Group has donated $5,000 in movie passes to reward students in participating schools who submit a video to the Def Jam Rapstar video contest.
The school that shows the greatest improvement in attendance rates over the five-week period, will be recognized with scholarship dollars for students, free access for every student for one year to the Official SAT Online Course™ and a new college-counseling library from the College Board, and a visit to their school from a Get Schooled celebrity Education Ambassador.
Flip Video™ will provide cameras to document student and teacher activities throughout the Challenge as a means to improve attendance at participating high schools.
The high schools that were eligible to participate in the Get MotivatED Challenge had to have at least 40 percent of their students eligible for the federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (though the average across the participating schools is 78 percent), and have demonstrated a commitment to improving attendance and graduation rates.
The Get MotivatED Challenge will support schools in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Sacramento and Seattle as they work to improve their attendance, while also drawing national attention to the importance of improving attendance rates as a fundamental element in the drive to improve high school graduation rates.
To learn more and to become involved, please visit www.GetSchooled.com
About Get Schooled
Get Schooled launched in 2009 and has partnered on several high profile national initiatives aimed at elevating awareness about our nation's education crisis and engaging and empowering all Americans to get involved. Initiatives include: The 2010 Get Schooled National Challenge (Fall 2010) where over 200,000 students, teacher and parents got involved, the Get Schooled: You Have the Right Roadblock (Fall 2009), President Obama's Race To The Top Commencement Challenge (Spring 2010), New York Stock Exchange's Ring the Bell Contest (Spring 2010), Paramount Pictures' Waiting for "Superman" (Fall 2010), and MTV's Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge (Fall 2010). Get Schooled will continue to identify and sponsor likeminded initiatives that leverage consumer oriented media and brands to ensure more Americans are part of the nation's education solutions.
Get Schooled is a non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of media and popular culture to motivate and inspire young people, their families and teachers to improve high school graduation rates and college-going rates. Its success stems from strong partnerships with Viacom, AT&T, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many other similarly focused companies, organizations and individuals. To find out more, visit www.getschooled.com.
About Def Jam Rapstar
The ultimate emcee experience for video game consoles, Def Jam Rapstar is the only music game that focuses exclusively on Hip Hop. With more than 40 of the greatest Hip Hop songs available on disc, Def Jam Rapstar allows you to be the star by rhyming, using your console camera, and uploading your video to the fully integrated Def Jam Rapstar Community. Def Jam Rapstar was created by Def Jam Interactive and 4MM Games, LLC.