Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched the City’s first multimedia campaign to reduce truancy and chronic absenteeism in City schools. The campaign, called WakeUp! NYC was developed by the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy and Chronic Absenteeism, led by John Feinblatt, the Mayor’s Chief Policy Advisor.
“Through WakeUp! NYC we’re putting on a full-court press, using mass media and digital media to drive home the point that every student should be in school every day,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It’s the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life.”
The WakeUp!NYC campaign will start next week when over 6,500 students at the 25 schools, who have missed 10 or more days of school this academic year, will receive a phone or email message inviting them to participate in the WakeUp!NYC campaign. After this introductory period, the WakeUp! NYC campaign will expand to approximately 250,000 chronically absent students citywide.
“We want all of our students to excel and become successful adults, and good attendance will help them reach that goal,” Schools Chancellor Cathie Black said. “We are working hard to reduce chronic absenteeism, and thanks to the Mayor’s Task Force, we have seen a significant drop in chronic absenteeism at the Isaac Newton Middle School. We know we have a long way to go, but this is a good start.”
Campaign partners including Viacom and their BET Networks division, 98.7 KISS FM, Hot 97 FM and 101.9 RXP FM will also encourage school attendance every day on-air and through social media. Through WakeUp! NYC, students will receive phone calls with pre-recorded morning wake up messages from Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Big Boi, Terrence J and Rocsi, from BET’s 106 & Park and award-winning artist Trey Songz as well as other celebrities from program partners Viacom.
The Mayor also announced early results from the truancy program for the first half of the school year, which showed improvements in many schools.
“We believe strongly in the power of media and entertainment to address social issues facing our country,” said Viacom Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley. “Ensuring that our country’s young people have the education they need to succeed is critical to the future of New York City and the future of this country. But you can’t learn if you don’t come to school. That’s why Viacom and the Get Schooled Foundation are excited to support Mayor Bloomberg’s Wake Up! NYC campaign.”