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Aki Kurose and Asa Mercer Attendance Challenge

Aki Kurose and Asa Mercer Attendance Challenge

Thanks to a partnership with Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Housing Authority, Aki Kurose Middle School and Asa Mercer Middle School, over 100 Seattle Housing Authority students from Aki Kurose and Asa Mercer Middle Schools either had perfect or improved attendance during the month of March. 

Families gathered at the Gathering Hall in the NewHolly neighborhood in Southeast Seattle on April 5th to celebrate honor the achievements of students from both schools. 

During the month of March, the challenge was on for students. Each week, each school and their community partners held perfect attendance challenge within their school communities, while simultaneously challenging their neighbor middle school. 

The prize for the school with the best daily average attendance during the month? An ice cream celebration in April and bragging rights for the rest of the year. A corporate sponsor, Lyft, donated and served ice cream for all the students at Asa Mercer Middle School on a Friday afternoon. 

Students of Asa Mercer Middle School attended 93.6% of the time in the month of March compared to Aki Kurose Middle School with 92.6%, a close second. In addition, hosted by Seattle Housing Authority hosted an ice cream celebration with Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Police Department at the NewHolly Community CenterGathering Hall for SHA students with perfect or improved attendance from both schools., and bragging rights for the rest of the year! 

Student attendance is important to reaching key academic milestones, high school graduation, and having access to opportunities as adults. Studies show that students who are chronically absent (miss 18 days or more during the school year for any reason) are less likely to graduate from high school. Kathlyn Paananen, Housing and Education Manager for Seattle Public Schools, speaks to the significance of caring adults in a student’s life as having a proven positive impact on student success, “Best practices to address attendance include having a supportive community that positively reinforce regular school attendance!”

Paananen conveys appreciation to educators who bring the event to fruition, “We are extremely appreciative of the leadership and partnership of Ms. Mia Williams, Mr. Christopher Carter, Ms. Natalie Williams, and Ms. Shauntel Callandret who have engaged in some friendly competition between Aki Kurose and Asa Mercer Middle Schools to boost excitement and attendance during the hard month of March. A special thanks to Seattle Housing Authority staff as well who honored the hard work of the students and families.” 

The celebration at NewHolly recognized students with improved and perfect attendance as well as their families for supporting them in their achievements. The event also highlighted the strength of the collaborative partnership between Seattle Housing Authority and Seattle Public Schools, which seeks to eliminate opportunity gaps and improve student outcomes. 

Towards the conclusion of the challenge celebration, officers from the Seattle Police Department operated the soft serve ice cream machine and passed out cones to eagerly awaiting students. Through a partnership with the ride-sharing company, Lyft, raffle winners of the evening received $215 Lyft gift cards.

Aligned to the strategic initiatives of the School and Community Partnerships DepartmentStrategy and Partnerships Division, Seattle Public Schools partnership with Seattle Housing Authority seeks to improve educational outcomes bolster educational success for over 6,000 5,500 school age students who are served by both organizations.