Burger benefit gets Challenge 5 attendance initiative up and running on Wednesday

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From left: Assistant Superintendent Kyle Repucci, Principal Adam Houghton, Assistant Principals Kristen White and Paul Lewis with student Izaak Mahoney, who won a Chromebook as part of the Rochester Schools' Challenge Five initiative. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Rochester schools announced today it will renew its attendance initiative for the coming year, kicking it off with a fundraiser this week.

This year's Challenge Five program will launch with a benefit on Wednesday at Mooyah burgers, 50 Marketplace Boulevard #1.

A portion of the proceeds from sales between noon and 9 p.m. will be donated to the program, which will help provide students with prizes for strong attendance.

In the first year of its Challenge Five, Strive for Less than Five Days Absent campaign, Rochester Schools saw a drop in the number of students missing days throughout the year. District-wide, there was a 2 percent drop in the number of students missing six or more days, a 3 percent drop in students missing 11 or more days and a 6 percent decrease in the number of students missing 16 or more days.

Last year, Rochester Schools partnered with the Believe 2 Become Foundation and 38 area businesses to provide prizes ranging from ice cream coupons to Chromebooks to students at all schools who met attendance goals.

"Making it to school every day is essential for students' learning and success," Superintendent Michael L. Hopkins said. "I'm proud of the results we had in our first year of this program, and I'm looking forward to building upon those results in the year to come with the help of our community partners."

Chronic absenteeism is a critical issue for educators because students who miss even two or three school days in a month are at risk to suffer tangible and lasting setbacks. Third-grade students could find themselves unable to master reading, sixth-grade students fail courses at a higher rate and high school students wind up more likely to drop out.

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