Chief lends his voice to campaign promoting school attendance

Every day counts, in school, on the job and in life.

That important philosophy will be underscored in an automated phone call from Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro that will be sent to families of children who are absent from school. The calls will begin after the February school vacation. 

The chief is the first community leader to be featured in the new automated attendance calls that will go to all New Bedford school students’ homes when they are absent.

New Bedford Public Schools launched its attendance campaign, Every Day Counts, at Sgt. William H. Carney Academy Wednesday. The campaign is focused on improving attendance for students throughout the city.

The chief spoke to the students at the event.

“Every day counts for every child, not only for your parents, and for your teachers, but most importantly for yourselves,” was Chief Cordeiro’s message to students. “When you miss school, you miss the learning that goes on in each of your classrooms from your teachers, and you don’t get to share the laughs or fun with your friends at school.”

He pledged to return to the school for lunch, perhaps with other officers in tow, if the students took their commitment to school attendance seriously.

New Bedford’s attendance rate is 92.8%, while the state’s average is 94.9%; the district aims to match the state average by partnering with local organizations and businesses to reinforce this important message to students and parents. The state’s 2015-2016 average for days absent is 8.8%, while New Bedford’s is 12.3%. Massachusetts’ rate of students absent 10 or more days is 30.5%, while New Bedford’s is 43.5%.

“A student who is absent eight days in a school term will miss a year of education by the end of elementary school, just as a student who is just 10 minutes late each day will miss 30 hours of teaching and learning through the school year,” Superintendent Pia Durkin said at the announcement, which featured Carney students and recognized those with perfect attendance through the school year.