ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The kids at Mount Vernon Elementary School in St. Petersburg are getting a special treat on a Friday: Rapper Corey Thornton is in the house to bust funky academic rhymes about good attendance.
The grade-schoolers have earned the kudos: Mount Vernon has some of the best attendance rates in Pinellas County.
And that's huge. New data shows that kids who miss even a couple days a month suffer academically.
"As students get older there's a strong correlation between number of days missed and Ds and Fs," says Pinellas Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego. "The more days you're out, without a doubt, it's a tremendous predictor on GPA."
By 9th grade, a child's attendance rate is a better predictor of graduation than 8th-grade test scores.
Although lost days can be more damaging in later years, the trend starts early, even in grade school. At Mount Vernon, they stress setting -- and sticking to (parents and kids) -- a morning routine, staying healthy and no playing hooky. When a child misses a day, parents should be responsible as well.