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Can Washing Students’ Clothes Help Districts Plagued With Chronic Absenteeism?

Can Washing Students’ Clothes Help Districts Plagued with Chronic Absenteeism?

It has become a national initiative to reduce chronic absenteeism in schools because it doesn’t take a bunch of fancy statistics and research to explain that when students aren’t in school- they aren’t learning.

Chronic absenteeism affects schools all over the country, and the U.S. Department of Education has been on a mission to reduce school absences by ten percent since last fall.

Through the initiative, it has worked to involve community leaders and create community-led initiatives, has made implementing early warning prevention and identification systems a priority, and has even created a public awareness campaign in partnership with the Ad Council to raise national awareness.

But this year, a different method entirely is receiving attention for its success in keeping kids in the classroom.

Installing washers and dryers in school buildings and providing students with clean clothes week after week has been found to effectively keep kids in school.

After a principal noticed that her students were staying home because of teasing and a lack of access to clean clothes, she partnered with Whirlpool to test out offering laundry services in schools.

In just one school year after installing the machines, 90 percent of students in two school districts improved their attendance.

Now, Whirlpool’s Care Counts™ program will expand to additional school districts starting this summer to not only help more students stay in school, but to also analyze just how related clean clothes and attendance patterns really are.

"As a part of the program, each school identifies students with a need for clean clothes and anonymously tracks their loads of laundry, attendance and grades throughout the school year,” said Whirlpool in a statement.

"To measure additional behavioral changes, each student’s primary teacher also completes a qualitative survey asking if they believe access to clean clothes improves their student’s ability to do a variety of activities from participating in class to enjoying school.”

Through these measures, schools can track how students improve attendance-wise and academically since implementing the program.

In the pilot districts, for example, not only did students significantly increase their attendance, they also displayed increased motivation, more participation in extracurricular activities, and improved peer interaction.

On top of all that, 89 percent of participants got good grades.

Vist Whirlpool.com/carecounts to read more and watch the video below to see the faces of the Care Counts program.

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