Oakland, CA — In recognition of national “Attendance Awareness Month” (September), Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB), a 501(c)(3), established a perfect attendance challenge, titled “Every Day Counts,” to students attending schools in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The purpose of the program – that took place between October 19th and November 19th – was to emphasize the importance and highlight benefits of all children attending school every day.
Of the 2,374 students who entered the challenge, 20 were randomly selected for having perfect attendance during the challenge period. On December 22nd, over 75 attendees – including family members, friends, dignitaries and awardees – celebrated with light breakfast and refreshments the gifting of $500 dollars to each winner.
Oakland Unified School District Board Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge, “Oakland Natives Give Back is a critical partner to Oakland families and our schools. The support and encouragement to make every day count for a young person will change their lives. ONGB’s generous support is greatly appreciated.”
Inaugural Student Winners:
The 22 students who earned awards for their perfect attendance are Jeremy Anderson (West Oakland Middle), Dante Mosier-Tidd (Sequoia Elementary), Aaron Wong (Fruitvale Elementary), Miladis Pablo-Calmo (Global Family School), Aryn Williams (Parker Elementary), Goomaral Tuguldur (Cleveland Elementary), Jaylen Robinson (Burckhalter Elementary), Megan Truong (Bella Vista Elementary), Timothy Cai (Lincoln Elementary), Daniel Zavala (Garfield Elementary), Tiffany Pham (Lincoln Elementary), Angela Monroy (Bridges Academy), Josiah Powell (Futures Elementary), Lawson Ren (Lincoln Elementary), Maimuna Mohamed (Emerson Elementary), Dennis Garcia Espinoza (Fruitvale Elementary), Camila Perez (Manzanita Community School), Merlyn Almendra-Castillo (Encompass Academy), Janice Lee (Fruitvale Elementary) and Ashley Tran (Lincoln Elementary).
Notably in attendance were local dignitaries: Marlon McWilson, Trustee; Alameda County Office of Education; Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, Associate Professor and Chair of Education; Holy Names University; Diego Gonzalez (representative for Assemblyman Rob Bonta); Chantal Reynolds, (spokesperson for the City of Oakland’s Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan); Dr. Nyeisha T. Dewitt, founder of Oakland Natives Give Back; and Theresa Clincy, coordinator, Attendance and Discipline Support Services for the Oakland Unified School District.
PHASE II, “Every Day Counts” Challenge:
As Phase I of the “Every Day Counts” Challenge is concluded, ONGB and OUSD are proud to announce Phase II of the unique program, during which student attendance will be measured for a three-month period (February 1st through April 30, 2016).
“I was extremely overjoyed with the results of the first phase of the district wide attendance competition,” shares Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, Founder, Oakland Natives Give Back. During this second phase, we will do a deeper dive and provide more concentrated support to gain greater insight into ways we can support the schools’ efforts to improve attendance. We intend to analyze data to spot trends, see what works and does not work and make adjustments along the way to ensure that our collective efforts are making a difference.”
For Phase II, five (5) schools have been selected to participate in the program based on reported chronic absenteeism: Hoover Elementary, Place @ Prescott, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Lafayette Elementary and Parker Elementary.
Each participating school will be awarded individually (one award per school, totaling five awards per month). In greater detail, one student with perfect, or nearly perfect attendance, will be randomly selected to win a $500 award. Students from the participating schools will have four chances to enter and win. In addition to the individual challenge, one classroom at each school will also receive an award for the most improved attendance.
For more information, please reference Oakland Natives Give Back online at www.OaklandNatives.org.
About Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB):
In 2008, Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim, and Tameka Raymond, all natives of Oakland, had a vision for their city, and ONGB was created.
Driven by their passion to serve, their mission is to empower the youth and helping people help people in the community in which they were reared. For the first several years, ONGB’s primary event was the annual Back to School Rally at Oakland City Hall, which provided fully loaded back packs and school supplies to underserved children in Oakland at no cost. The success of the annual Back to School Rally deepened the members’ desire to help by donating to other not-for-profit agencies in the Community and surrounding areas.
In an effort to continue the momentum set at ONGB’s annual back to school 2015 “Attend and Achieve” event, they thought it was important to partner with the Oakland Unified School District to launch EVERY DAY COUNTS School Attendance Challenge. For more details, visit www.OaklandNatives.org.