Winners selected in attendance poster contest – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading contest drew almost 50,000 entries from across the region

SARASOTA — The Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading announced the winners of its annual Attendance Awareness Poster Contest on Thursday. The poster contest, which aims to reinforce the importance of attending school every day, drew 49,911 entries from elementary students across Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. The contest is part of the Campaign’s efforts to battle chronic absenteeism, which is generally defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year.

“Creating an original piece of artwork for the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest gives students an engaging way to internalize the importance of attending school every day,” said Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for The Patterson Foundation. “The messages the students incorporate into their posters serve as a reminder for parents and families that outstanding attendance is an important component in realizing their hopes and dreams for their children.”

Students who miss just two or three days a month can finish school one to two years behind their peers, according to research from Attendance Works, an organization focused on reducing the number of students missing school. The impact is even more evident among young children, where chronic absenteeism is linked to lower grade-level reading proficiency and is often an early indicator that a child will not graduate on time.

Local school districts have developed unique approaches toward battling absenteeism. In Manatee, Title I schools use federal funding to employ Graduation Enhancement Technicians who work with chronically absent students. The Sarasota Housing Authority requires families to address absentee issues in order to qualify for housing vouchers, and the Sarasota School District has developed an online attendance dashboard to help administrators track how many students are missing school on a regular basis.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Strive for Less than Five Days Absent,” in order to help students set a concrete goal for the school year. The winners each received an Apple iPad and four tickets to a spring training baseball game in their region.

Sarasota County winners

Greta Jones, Ashton Elementary School

Abby Lee, Tatum Ridge Elementary School

Adrian Chavarria, Cranberry Elementary

Anna (Xinyu) Zhang, Pine View School

Sydney Coxe, Lakeview Elementary School

Jazmin Smith, Taylor Ranch Elementary

Manatee County winners

Jaxon W. Cline, Myakka City Elementary

Sophia Cryer, Anna Maria Elementary

Sarai Castillo, Samoset Elementary School

Lily Wojtkowski, Gilbert McNeal Elementary

Abigail Vera, Virgil Mills Elementary School

Isabelle Flores, Tara Elementary School

Charlotte County winners

Rylee McDougall, Sallie Jones Elementary

Alexis Cruz, Sallie Jones Elementary

Emma Drake, Deep Creek Elementary

Lily Harrison, Sallie Jones Elementary

Jillian Kulman, Neil Armstrong Elementary

Ridhi Patel, Myakka River Elementary

DeSoto County winners

Darsh Patel, West Elementary School

Joselyn De Santiago, Nocatee Elementary

Davinius Wolford, Nocatee Elementary School

Yoselyn Santiago, Memorial Elementary

Cristian Dominguez, Nocatee Elementary

Kimberly Galindo, Nocatee Elementary


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