Cleveland Browns Foundation, Ohio Department of Education and Proving Ground Collaborate to Launch Statewide School Attendance Network (8.2.19)

For Immediate Release
August 2, 2019

Initially reaching more than 80,000 Ohio students, the network will help schools, districts and partners improve attendance and tackle chronic absenteeism

The Cleveland Browns Foundation, Ohio Department of Education and Proving Ground at Harvard University today launched the Get 2 School, Stay in the Game! Network (Get 2 School Network), a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism.


LINK: Get 2 School, Stay in the Game! Network home page and resources


“The equation is quite simple,” said Cleveland Browns Owner Dee Haslam. “The more a student attends school, the more prepared they are for future success beyond the classroom.”

The network’s goal is to increase student attendance, particularly among specific groups of students, such as African American, Hispanic, English learners, economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities. The network believes that student success begins with engaged learners who attend school each day.

This network is designed to connect its users to each other, state and national experts and high-quality attendance-focused campaign materials, strategies and evaluation tools. The network’s core is its website,, which is available to all Ohio schools and districts at no cost.

“To have a great educational experience, students need to be where the learning is happening,” said Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria. “Through this unique partnership, we are collaborating to ensure that children are learning every day and are excited about their futures. Thanks to the Cleveland Browns and Proving Ground at Harvard University for working with our Department on this impactful initiative.”

In addition, the network will support the unique attendance needs of rural and remote school districts by helping them deploy, test and evaluate the effectiveness of specific attendance-related strategies. Findings will be shared with the broader network.

“Growing the team of adults who are positive forces in the lives of our students will give them a boost both personally and academically,” says Superintendent Brian Petrie of Cardington-Lincoln Local Schools. “Whether it’s a local adult who volunteers to help with homework or the chance to earn attendance support through the Cleveland Browns Foundation and the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks, all of our students could use a few more heroes in their lives.”

An identified set of school districts, known as action districts, will receive additional supports and resources, affecting approximately 66,000 students. Through these resources, districts will be able to launch comprehensive community campaigns to raise awareness regarding the importance of school attendance, use data to target specific attendance-related intervention efforts for maximum impact, analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of specific interventions, and refine attendance-related solutions across these school districts. Over time, all learnings from these improvement efforts will be shared broadly across the network, benefiting all participating schools and districts.

“Proving Ground is committed to supporting and bringing districts together to collaborate on their shared challenges, including chronic absenteeism,” says Bi Vuong, director of Proving Ground, an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. “We are excited that our current district partners in Ohio can join the Browns Foundation network to share what they’ve learned and broaden the impact of their collective insights.”

In celebration of the network’s launch, approximately 500 students, families, community members and dignitaries from across the state are set to gather for an official kick-off pep rally at FirstEnergy Stadium, prior to the 2019 Cleveland Browns Orange & Brown Scrimmage. The event will feature a series of speakers, live entertainment and activities followed by a tailgate leading up to the game. In addition, all admission proceeds from the scrimmage will benefit the Get 2 School Network.

Cleveland Browns Owner Dee Haslam, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, Proving Ground Director Bi Vuong and Michael Lehan, former cornerback for the Cleveland Browns and principal at Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, MN, will be available for media questions and interviews following the launch event at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, August 3.

About the Get 2 School, Stay in the Game! Network’s Founding Partners:

Cleveland Browns Foundation

The power of community engagement and role models—The Cleveland Browns Foundation prioritized student attendance in 2015 when it developed a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which at the time, faced a chronic absence rate of 35 percent. In an effort to remove attendance-related barriers, the foundation also supported a local clothing program, providing students facing economic hardship greater access to uniforms and basic clothing packages. The campaign helped Cleveland Metropolitan Schools cut chronic absenteeism to 30 percent in the 2017-2018 school year.

Ohio Department of Education

The power of connectivity and coherence—The Ohio Department of Education is on a mission to prepare each child by ensuring equity and supporting quality schools through partnerships that maximize strengths to achieve collective impact. Taken together, equity, partnerships and quality schools form the three core principles identified in Each Child, Our Future – Ohio’s five-year strategic plan for education.

Proving Ground

The power of evidence and continuous improvement—Proving Ground, an initiative of Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, works with states and school districts to help identify and test solutions to specific challenges, including chronic absenteeism. The initiative supports continuous improvement through data analysis, strategic advice, hands-on assistance and peer networking opportunities. Proving Ground’s iterative improvement cycle includes deeply understanding the challenge, identifying potential solutions, testing those solutions, examining findings and determining next steps. Proving Ground currently works with more than 20 school districts in Ohio.

For more information, please visit

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