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State Leaders Release Recommendations to Improve Statewide Student Attendance

Release date: 10/27/2023


Cleveland Browns, Columbus Crew pledge support and unveil 
new mini-pitch for Columbus students

Today, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy, Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Chris Woolard and other partners highlighted Ohio’s commitment to improving school attendance statewide during the Ohio Takes the Pledge to Stay in the Game! event held at the Columbus City Preparatory School for Girls. During the event, members of the Ohio Attendance Taskforce announced recommendations to improve school attendance and reduce chronic absence.

These recommendations will help schools and districts implement effective prevention and early intervention strategies to improve attendance and decrease chronic absenteeism. Chronic absence is defined in Ohio as a student missing 10% or more of school hours. In the 2022-2023 school year, Ohio’s chronic absence rate was 26.8%, meaning more than 615,000 students in the state were chronically absent.

“We want our students to be in school every day because it’s vital to their personal success and well-being,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “As a state, we’re focused on the needs of all students and this partnership between educators, families, and communities demonstrates our commitment to supporting strong school attendance so Ohio’s students can learn, grow, and thrive.”

“Too many of our kids are chronically absent, and they are missing out on more than just reading and math, but also other support services and the life and job skills that come with attending school,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The recommendations the task force has put forth will help address the underlying cause of absenteeism so that Ohio students are prepared to succeed in school and life.”

The event also included members of the Stay in the Game! Attendance Network, a statewide initiative led by the Cleveland Browns Foundation, the Columbus Crew, Proving Ground at Harvard University, and the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce to connect districts and schools with experts and supporters to dramatically improve attendance. The Columbus Crew, with the support of Nationwide and, dedicated a mini soccer pitch to the school, complete with a ceremonial first kick.

“We are committed to creating opportunities for our youth so that they can reach their full potential, and getting to school every day and staying engaged sets the foundation for their success and the future of our state,” said Dee Haslam, CEO, Haslam Sports Group. “Through the Stay in the Game! Attendance Network and our installation of youth soccer and football fields in Ohio, we want to help provide students and districts access to the resources they need so they can excel in the classroom and beyond.”

Students who attend school regularly are 6.7 times more likely to read on grade level by third grade and 9 times more likely to graduate high school on time.

“Together, we’re showing why school attendance is important for every student and how Ohio’s commitment to supporting these efforts reaches beyond the school walls,” Dr. Woolard said. “We must examine barriers to attendance, strengthen outreach, adjust practices to prevent chronic absence and provide extra support when necessary so we can ensure students are present and ready to learn each day.”

The Ohio Attendance Taskforce includes current superintendents and building principals, business and foundation leaders, members of the Ohio juvenile court system, and experts in attendance and engagement.

Read the Ohio Attendance Taskforce Recommendations Report here.


More about the Stay in the Game! Network:

The Stay in the Game! Attendance Network is a statewide initiative designed to increase school attendance through a partnership between the Cleveland Browns Foundation, the Columbus Crew, the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, and Harvard University’s Proving Ground. 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. In the 2023-24 school year, the Stay in the Game! Network will partner with more than 40 school districts, benefiting more than 250,000 students in Ohio. To learn more visit, visit