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Seattle hopes celebrities and competition get students to school

The school year just started last month and chances are a lot of kids have already missed a day or two of class. Educators say that’s a huge problem since attendance is one of the biggest indicators of whether students will graduate.

Now, some new efforts are underway to get kids to school ... one involves famous people. 

"So what are you waiting for? Get up and get to school. And get at your friends and tell them that Tarvaris Jackson said to come with you, too." - Tarvaris Jackson

For some students, the biggest hurdle is just waking up. Adults are hoping stars could help kids rise and shine: Celebrities ranging from hip hop artist Nicki Minaj to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson have recorded wake-up calls for kids to sign up for on the Get Schooled Foundation's website.

"Good morning, students. This is Nicki Minaj. I'm on the line today for Get Schooled, reminding you how important it is to get to school on time every day." - Nicki Minaj

A prize for showing up

Starting today, Seattle Public Schools, Mayor Mike McGinn and partnering foundations are taking the wake-up effort a step further by offering prizes to students who show up regularly. Nearly half of Seattle’s high school students miss more than 10 days of class.

That might not seem like a lot, but if those absences are unexcused, reports show those kids could be 50 percent less likely to graduate

A few Seattle schools are also participating in a national competition to boost attendance. Other Washington schools taking on the challenge include one in Kent and two east of the Cascades, in Bridgeport and Spokane.

Here's the Get Schooled video on the celebrity wake-up calls:


Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.