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COUNTYWIDE : Radio Spots Urge School Attendance

Sandwiched between songs on a local radio station’s weekday morning show, an unusual public service announcement is now airing that encourages parents countywide to get their children to school.

As part of an innovative program launched last week to improve school attendance, Spanish contemporary music station KWIZ, 1480 AM, is running the 25-second announcements telling parents that “education is the key to your child’s future,” and “please send your child to school every day.”

The effort is sponsored by the Santa Ana Unified School District.

“It’s a way for us to go into their homes every morning and remind families that education is important and children need to be in school,” said John Bennett, assistant superintendent of the elementary school division, who helped coordinate the program.

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He said the messages, in Spanish, may go something like: “Goooood morning, Santa Ana! Are your children up and ready for another exciting day of learning their lessons? We’re looking forward to seeing them in class.”

“It’s kind of an encouragement to parents to see that their children are off to school,” he said.

The announcements might also soon include information on immunizations and other school-related messages.

Bennett said that school attendance at the elementary level is 95%, although he hopes the announcements will help improve it to 98%, as well as boost attendance districtwide. Attendance officer Ruth Cudahy said intermediate school attendance is 94.9% and high school attendance is 89.7%.

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District spokeswoman Diane Thomas said although most of the messages will continue to be “pretty generic” and applicable to any parent or student listener, some of the messages will be directed only at those within the district and will relate information such as school starting dates.

Based on similar announcements pioneered by schools and a radio station in Corpus Christi, Texas, the messages now run 27 minutes after every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., said Ricardo Manzanares, KWIZ public service director. They sometimes they run during the station’s newscasts as well.


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