NEW YORK, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Collins Academy, a Southside Chicago High School, bested 25 schools nationwide to earn the title – The 2011 Get MotivatED School. The Get Schooled Foundation's Get MotivatED Challenge challenged and supported high schools in eleven cities to improve their daily attendance rates. Throughout the six-week competition, thousands of students demonstrated their commitment to education by showing up to school, creating education raps and rhymes for the Get Schooled Def Jam Rapstar video contest, and nominating hundreds of teachers who inspire them to stay focused.
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. Each year, almost one third of all public high school students, 1.2 million, fail to graduate. That's one student every 26 seconds. According to the 2010 Diploma Counts report, only 55% of Chicago students graduate from high school on time.
Collins Academy saw an almost 7 percent gain in attendance. That improvement reflected the commitment of every staff member in the school. Administrators opened the gym for free play – basketball, hang time, etc. so kids could come to school early. Teachers became walking advertisements for attendance and the halls were plastered with information and motivational messages. Students responded – they came to school, they encouraged their friends, and they spoke out through hundreds of homemade videos and thousands of teacher nominations.
In recognition of its achievement, Collins Academy will receive $30,000 in college scholarships from Comcast. Three students will be awarded $10,000 scholarships, recognizing their leadership among their peers during the six week competition. Comcast provided a total of $50,000 in cash and in-kind support to the campaign. AT&T also provided financial support to the Get MotivatED Challenge. The Get Schooled Foundation will bring a celebrity Education Ambassador to Collins Academy in May to celebrate these accomplishments.
"Comcast seeks to support organizations that inspire young people to lead and the Get MotivatED Challenge encourages them to do just that. We are thrilled to present these scholarships to three outstanding students at Collins Academy and bring them one step closer to achieving their educational goals," said Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment for Comcast Corporation and Executive Vice President of the Comcast Foundation.
"The Get MotivatED Challenge showed that with focus, supports and incentives, schools can increase student engagement and high school attendance rates," said Marie Groark, Executive Director of the Get Schooled Foundation. "Collins Academy staff and students demonstrated tremendous commitment to changing their data and their 7 percent attendance gain is a testament to their hard work."
Collins Academy was not the only school that used the Challenge to draw more students to school. Schools that actively participated in the Challenge saw an average increase in attendance of 2.01 percent. As a whole, the challenge motivated an additional 90 students to come to school – students who otherwise might not have found the motivation. These schools focused on connecting with students and engaging them in some aspect of school. The result was 7600 students across the 25 schools showing their commitment through participating in one of the Challenge's motivating components (teacher nomination, video contest, pep rallies, etc.).
Twenty five schools in eleven cities participated in the Get MotivatED Challenge. Schools that were eligible to participate had to have at least 40 percent of their students eligible for the federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (the average across the participating schools was 86 percent). Four schools will be honored as Challenge runners-up and will each receive three $1,000 scholarships from Comcast including Burke HS (Boston), Lincoln HS (Philadelphia), McGavock HS (Nashville) and Orr Academy HS (Chicago).
Students recognized teachers as one of the most important motivators, submitting 3000 nominations for more than 550 inspiring teachers. Click here to view. Students also submitted and voted on homemade original videos about the importance of education through the Def Jam Rapstar video contest. The contest received more than 100 entries, including seven from Collins Academy students. Click here to view.
About Get Schooled
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 Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK (www.Comcast.com) is one of the world's leading media, entertainment and communications companies. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.
SOURCE Get Schooled Foundation