Count Me In campaign raising attendance and grades in Harrison County

Updated: Dec. 17, 2018 at 9:07 PM CST
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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A new statewide campaign to improve the rate of attendance in schools is really taking hold in the Harrison County School district.

The Count Me In campaign in Harrison County is succeeding in both increasing attendance and student performance.

(Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)

“The Count Me In campaign is a campaign that was initiated by the State Department of Education, and the goal is to increase student attendance,” said Director of Student Services Dr. Laretta Marks. “In increasing students' attendance, we realize it is also increasing academic achievement, increase the graduation rate and decreasing the dropout rate.”

Dr. Marks is proud to see the students in the district getting excited about school.

“That is a win,” she said. “We are increasing our average daily attendance. Our average daily attendance has gone up from 93 percent to 94 percent."

Monday night, 52 of those students were honored at the first Count Me In party.

“I feel really excited because I got to get a new bike,” said fifth grader Sumayah Booth.

Students received everything from new bikes, iPods, gift cards, and even New Orleans Saints tickets.

Booth says she never wants to miss school. “I think that, if I just miss a day of school, I’ll just miss out on a lot of learning and maybe we might have some fun afterwards. So, I try to make good grades every day.”

Hassen Dorsey hasn’t missed a day of school her entire time in high school.

“I’m the only one who hasn’t missed school, and a lot of people don’t show up for school. So, I like the fact that I do show up for school,” Dorsey said.

Academy Sports donated 30 bikes to be given out to students. It’s part of a company-wide effort.

“Academy works with different school districts all across the area that we have stores in to partner to give bikes out to kids, whether in need or for rewards,” said Academy Sports and Outdoor manager Matthew Fasler. “Just to try to get kids active and get them outside, where we can kind of promote that outdoor play.”

Academy has given out more than 5,000 bikes across 16 states. The Harrison County School District will hold a larger celebration at the end of the school year to honor any student with perfect attendance for the entire year.

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