BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Aug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- It's easy to take a working washer and dryer for granted, yet according to teachers across the country, the unfortunate reality is that one in five students struggle with access to clean clothes.1 Teachers also report that these students are more likely to struggle with absenteeism. That is why Whirlpool created the Care Counts™ laundry program, installing washers and dryers in schools to study the connection between access to clean clothes and attendance, with the goal of making a positive impact among high-risk students2.
The program has now completed its second year. For the 2016/2017 school year, laundry pairs were in schools in six cities across the country and, based on preliminary findings, it's clear that clean clothes can make a positive impact on a child's education:
Participating high-risk students attended nearly two more days of school per month during the program
More than half of participating students were no longer at risk for chronic absenteeism by the end of the school year. The students raised their attendance rates from 82 percent to 91 percent and achieving more than 90 percent is often targeted as a goal for chronically absent students
The program's impact went beyond attendance. Teachers surveyed saw that 95 percent of participants in the 2015/2016 program showed increased motivation in class and were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities and interact with peers
"Every day students across the country struggle with a variety of different factors that inhibit their academic performance. By placing washer and dryers in schools, we hope to eliminate one of those obstacles, so kids can focus on learning," said Jennifer Tayebi, communications brand manager for Whirlpool brand. "As we look at year two program results, it's remarkable to see how this seemingly simple solution has such a sincere impact on absenteeism."
For the second straight year, Whirlpool brand worked with internationally recognized developmental psychologist and researcher, Dr. Richard Rende, Ph.D., to implement a laundry program that explored the correlation between access to clean clothes and attendance rates. To deduce the impact of the program, each participating school identified students with a need for clean clothes and anonymously tracked their loads of laundry, attendance and grades throughout the school year.
"Every day of school makes an impact on a student's academic success. Studies show that even missing ten days can adversely affect achievement in math and an estimated 80 percent of students who drop out of school have a history of excessive absenteeism," said Dr. Richard Rende, Ph.D. "The U.S. Department of Education describes chronic absenteeism as a 'crisis' facing our nation's schools and this year's findings continue to show the potential a unique program, like the Care Counts™ laundry program, can have on reducing levels of chronic absenteeism."
With the success of the program over the past two years and the prevalence of this widespread barrier to school attendance, Whirlpool is working with Teach for America to expand the program to additional schools in need for the 2017/2018 academic year:
Los Angeles: PUC Excel Charter Academy, Hollenbeck Middle School, Kory Hunter Middle School, Girls Athletic Leadership School Los Angeles and Stella Middle Charter Academy
Chicagoland: KIPP Bloom College Prep, UCSN Marquez, Piccolo School of Excellence, Chicago Collegiate Charter School and Steel City Academy
Atlanta: KIPP Strive Primary School, Banneker High School, Brookview Elementary School, Bear Creek Middle School and KIPP Ways Academy
New Orleans: Success Preparatory Academy, ReNEW Schaumburg, KIPP Central City Primary, ARISE Academy and Foundation Preparatory Charter School
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 [email protected].
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.
About Teach For America Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Some 6,900 corps members are teaching today in 53 urban and rural regions across the country. They join a Teach For America community that is 53,000 strong, working across every sector to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
1 Based on a survey conducted by phone within the United States by Braun Research from March 14 to 21, 2015 among 600 public school teachers (18 years or older)
2 Students missing 15 or more days during the school year or an average of 1.5 absences per month