The Columbus Crew today announced in a commitment to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio, the Crew has partnered with the Cleveland Browns Foundation to join the successful “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network.

By making investments that ensure kids are engaged and present every day so they can succeed, the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network serves as a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The network engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive.

“We are excited to fully engage our team and supporters as we work locally to build off the success of ‘Stay in the Game’ with expansion in Columbus this fall,” said Columbus Crew President of Business Operations Kristin Bernert. “We feel that we can be additive to the efforts of everyone who is devoted to education throughout the state, all working as a team. We aim to improve the resources for staff and students that are needed to provide much needed educational advancement opportunities. We know this is paramount to our youth’s and community’s future success, and we look forward to the impact ‘Stay in the Game’ can have on increasing school attendance and ending chronic absenteeism here in Central Ohio.”

The Crew, “Stay in the Game” Network and Columbus City Schools are currently working together to develop an activation plan to ultimately onboard the district, with additional details to follow ahead of students heading back to school. With the addition of Columbus City Schools - Ohio’s largest school district with nearly 47,000 students - the “Stay in the Game!” Network will expand to 17 districts across Ohio, benefitting more than 150,000 students in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

“We are thrilled to team-up with the Columbus Crew to help address an important effort in Haslam Sports Group’s commitment to education throughout Ohio,” said Renee Harvey of Haslam Sports Group and Cleveland Browns Foundation Vice President. “Attendance gaps have been evident in various areas for a significant amount of time, and the ‘Stay in the Game’ Network has been committed to helping reduce any such barriers, including those tied to chronic absenteeism.”

The “Stay in the Game!” Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful.

Data shows that chronically absent students in Ohio are 89 percent less likely to graduate on time from high school and 65 percent less likely to meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The equation is simple: the more students attend school and engaged in the classroom, the more prepared they are for success beyond school.

To help Ohio families, schools, and community partners tackle this problem, a team of unique partners—the Cleveland Browns Foundation, Ohio Department of Education, and Harvard University's Proving Ground — joined forces at the state level in 2019 to launch the “Stay in the Game” Network. The Network's singular aim: student success, which begins with engaged learners who attend school every day.

Committed to reducing Ohio’s Chronic absenteeism rate by half over the next 10 years, the “Stay in the Game!” Network’s efforts are aimed at increasing student advancement and high school graduation rates for more than 150,000 students by emphasizing the significance of attending school every day. Through the power of partnership, the Network has rigorously tested and identified low-cost yet effective attendance interventions to move the needle like personalized communications such as postcards, robocalls and engagement with families increasing student attendance by up to 8%.

To learn more about the “Stay in the Game!” Network, visit StayintheGame.org.

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