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Mayor Bloomberg Launches School Absenteeism Campaign


The mayor's new "Wake Up! NYC" campaign uses recorded messages from celebrities to remind students about the importance of going to school.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an initiative Thursday that aims to tackle absenteeism in public schools through some well-placed phone calls.

Students will receive "wake up" calls in the morning that will play recordings from celebrities like NBA legend Magic Johnson and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.

According to the mayor, almost half of New York City high school students were "chronically absent" in the fall. He defined this as missing a month or more of school in a single year.

"Through WakeUp! NYC we're putting on a full-court press, using mass media and digital media to drive home the point that every student should be in school every day," said Bloomberg. "It's the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life."

The campaign will also send out "good news" calls to students who have improved their attendance records. But for those students whose chronic absenteeism does not improve, additional alerts will be sent to parents and students. The calls will be made through SchoolMessanger, a communications company that has underwritten the cost of implementing the campaign.

R&B recording artist Trey Songz said he hoped his message would resonate with students. "I want to help kids and parents realize that education is the best path to a good future....I hope to use my fame as a positive influence and keep kids in school and out of the streets."