Ads advise against absence

Quinn Corcino (c.) is congratulated for his change in attitude, which reduced the amount of days he missed school. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The newest advertisements showed children with clocks covering their eyes below the slogan, “It’s 9 a.m. Do you know where your kids are?”

Keeping kids in school was the primary message last week when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched a new $9 million city ad campaign at PS 91 Richard Arkwright School, at 68-10 Central Ave. in Glendale to fight what he called chronic absenteeism and truancy in schools.

It was the start of the largest effort in the nation to inform parents that students who routinely miss school are more likely to fail, the mayor said.

“When the students miss school, it jeopardizes their ability to keep up in school,” Bloomberg said. “It is a child’s first step down the wrong path in life.”

The campaign was introduced last Thursday with support from AT&T and the private, nonprofit Ad Council to target parents and guardians to reinforce the consequences of missing school to students. New advertisements will be seen on city subways, newsstands, buses, bus stations and MetroCards, Bloomberg said.

It was a campaign that John Feinblatt, the mayor’s chief policy adviser, said is aimed at reminding New Yorkers about the campaign’s simple message: Every Student, Every Day.

“National research tells us that three out of four sixth-graders who are chronically absent will not graduate,” Feinblatt said. “Of juveniles arrested in New York City, 79 percent had been chronically absent prior to their arrest. This campaign will help amplify the message that getting our kids to school every day is critical to their success.”

The ads will encourage New Yorkers to call 311 or text “school” to 30364 for prompts on how to log on to the new Truancy and Absenteeism Help Center through

According to Bloomberg, students who miss 20 days or more in a single year have a drastically reduced chance of graduating.

“The numbers are not surprising,” Bloomberg said. “If you’re not in school, you can’t learn.”

The mayor also announced new resources to connect parents with support to address their child’s needs as part of the initiatives of his Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement.

Bloomberg said the task force’s strategies were active in 50 pilot schools across the city, which included 31,000 students. Of those students, 4,000 were assigned mentors to reduce absenteeism and work together to improve personal behavior.

Fifth-grader Quinn Corcino Jr. spoke in support of the mayor’s plans to promote attendance through the use of mentors and positive influence.

“I used to be out a lot. I missed 29 days last year, but only three so far this year and no more,” Quinn said. “I got lots of awards this year because of that, which feels so great. My success mentor is the reason I will never miss school.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 6:53 pm, May 16, 2012
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