An unprecedented 225 middle and high schools are participating in Get Schooled’s Fall Attendance Challenge.More than 215,000 students in 80 cities across 28 states will engage in Get Schooled’s ‘friendly competition’ to boost student and school engagement and attendance rates. The size of the Challenge reflects increased national attention on attendance, as educators and communities focus on improving student achievement and graduation rates.To energize students and families alike, celebrity superstars One Direction, Ciara, and Rise of the Guardians star, Chris Pine have lent their voices to encourage middle and high school students to boost their attendance.According to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins, 7.5 million students in the United States miss a month or more of school, putting them at risk for failing to learn key skills and potentially dropping out of high school. In a Get Schooled poll of middle and high school students released last month, students said celebrities, along with parents or a trusted teacher, are most likely to get them on a path to getting to school every day.“Schools and educators recognize we need to bring new energy and excitement to motivate students,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled. “We are thrilled to have so many schools participate in our challenge and bring A-list partners on board this fall like One Direction, Ciara and Rise of the Guardians to motivate students to get to school and focus on their education.”One Direction, the global superstar group from the UK, taped a wake up call encouraging their fans to get the education they need to reach their dreams. As a bonus, students who sign-up on GetSchooled.com to receive a wake up call will be eligible to win a school notebook signed by One Direction.“Good Morning” the One Direction message says to students receiving the calls, “we’re not used to calling people this early, so you know this is important.”This is Get Schooled’s fourth, and largest, attendance challenge. Last Spring, Get Schooled led a Metro Detroit Attendance Challenge in partnership with Viacom, the United Way for Southeast Michigan and Chevrolet. More than half of all schools posted attendance increases during the challenge, with the winner, Lincoln High School, posting a remarkable eight percent gain.Get Schooled has also recruited some of the nation’s most innovative entertainment and educational gaming companies to support the Fall Attendance Challenge including Dreamworks Animation, Game House, The Jason Project, College Board, MTV and Cable in the Classroom.Get Schooled, Dreamworks Animation and Paramount Pictures have collaborated on a series of activities designed to inspire and motivate students during this challenge.Chris Pine, who stars in the film, has recorded a wake up call and loudspeaker announcement. Schools with the most engaged students early in the challenge have the opportunity to earn a private screening of Rise of the Guardians before its theatrical release.The winning school – with the highest attendance gains and highest levels of engagement –earns a Celebrity Principal for the Day. Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Ciara, is acting as the ‘face of the challenge’. While finishing her upcoming album, One Woman Army, she is using her voice to encourage schools and students to get active in the challenge and in their education.“Music has always been my passion, but school was always my priority”, said Ciara. “Education is the building block for everything we will do in our lives, without it, it is hard to say where any of us would be. I’m proud to be involved in a campaign that inspires and reminds today’s youth to get up, get out of bed and ‘Get Schooled!’”The Challenge launched October 1 and runs through November 30. To see a full list of schools participating, including current leaders, in the Fall Attendance Challenge, go to www.getschooled.com.
With high-profile sexual harassment scandals proliferating and millions joining the viral #MeToo social movement, speakers at the 13th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women took on this major social tipping point.Meryl Streep and women’s rights pioneer Gloria Steinem discuss the nation’s pivotal shift in workplace cultureCredit/Copyright: Marla Aufmuth/Getty ImagesAcademy Award winning actress Meryl Streep announced that she and other women in the entertainment industry plan to soon issue “non-negotiable” demands to improve the American workplace, including equal representation in board rooms, entertainment and other industries. “We are after 50/50 by 2020,” Streep said. “Equal means equal. And if it starts at the top, none of these shenanigans would have filtered down and it wouldn’t have been tolerated.”The two-day event, attracting a record audience of 16,000, started on the day TIME Magazine featured “The Silence Breakers” on the cover of its annual “Person of the Year” issue, recognizing those who are stepping forward to confront their harassers.“It’s such an interesting moment, because this conversation about why this is so widespread, this is really worth having and it’s fantastic,” Streep said. “I can’t help thinking it’s just a door that’s opening to a better world.”Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh also addressed the Conference. Other keynote speakers included stage, television and Academy Award-winning actor Viola Davis, fashion designer, philanthropist and author Diane von Furstenberg, and Adam Grant, top-rated Wharton Professor and best-selling co-author, with Sheryl Sandberg, of “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” also headlined the event.Themed “The Power of Us: Amplify Your Voice,” the annual nonpartisan, nonprofit Conference, brings together thousands of professionals to connect, renew, and find inspiration in community. The event features more than 150 thought leaders and industry experts from across the country in the fields of leadership, building networks, branding, philanthropy, finance, work-life balance, happiness and civility in the workplace and life.For the third year, the Conference presented its Workplace Summit, designed to promote gender partnerships and advance equity within workplaces, featuring Adam Grant, cultural innovator Verná Myers, and other thought leaders. The third annual Opening Night at the Conference, on December 6, featured Gloria Steinem, Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl founder, author, and branding guru; Barbara Lynch, restaurateur and award-winning chef; Cindy Guerra Robbins, President, Chief People Officer for salesforce.com; and spoken word poet Sarah Kay.“We are proud to have become the must-attend event for women, men and anyone who advocates for societal, workplace and political equality for women,” said Gloria Larson, President of the Massachusetts Conference for Women Board. “We are confident that attendees will take the extraordinary experiences and learnings from the Conference, the Workplace Summit, and Opening Night, and apply them to their lives and in their communities all year long.”The Massachusetts Conference for Women is presented by: State Street Corporation. It is generously sponsored by Dell; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Cisco; Boston Scientific Corporation; Fresenius Medical Care; Hologic; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson Controls International; Liberty Mutual; National Grid; Raytheon; Akamai; AMAG Pharmaceuticals; Bank of America; Bentley University’s Center for Women & Business; Bose Corporation; Boston Children’s Hospital; Harvard Business School Executive Education; Mastercard; MFS Investment Management; Ocean Spray; Poo-Pourri; Rapid7; Reebok; Riverbed; Salesforce; Thermo Fisher Scientific; TripAdvisor; Bain Capital Community Partnership and Crimson Lion Lavine Family Foundation; Acadian Asset Management; Amtrak; Applied Materials; BJ’s Wholesale Club; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Bonterra Organic Vineyards; Comcast; Erin Condren; John Hancock; Kate Spade & Company; Merck & Co., Inc.; Staples, Inc.; Suffolk Construction; United Airlines; Vertex; Weber Shandwick; Wells Fargo; and media sponsors AMP Radio 103.3; Mix 104.1; WBZ 1030 News Radio; The Boston Globe; and WCVB-TV Boston.“We are honored once again to support this remarkable event where women are encouraged to explore possibilities, make new connections, and find their voices,” said Kathy Horgan, executive vice president, chief human resources and citizenship officer for State Street Corporation. “The mission of the Massachusetts Conference for Women to promote and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond aligns perfectly with our values at State Street.”To learn more about the 13th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women, visit www.maconferenceforwomen.org.