Ad Council of Rochester, RCSD Launch Every Minute Matters Campaign

Contact: Anthony Benedetti

Ad Council of Rochester, RCSD Launch Every Minute Matters Campaign to Bolster Attendance Efforts
Community Impact Campaign Uses Startling Images to Show Link Between Low Attendance and Low Achievement

Rochester, N.Y., September 30, 2014—Today, the Ad Council of Rochester in partnership with the Rochester City School District
(RCSD) has launched its “Every Minute in School Matters” campaign in an effort to improve student attendance. The district announced last month it would be launching the Every Minute Matters campaign to help extend its 95 percent first-day attendance goal to a community-wide challenge.

Using dramatic images designed to grab the attention of city parents, the campaign drives home the critical importance of attendance from pre-K through Grade 3. During these formative years, the educational foundation is laid as students learn to read.
This is fundamental to success and everything that follows. Last year, more than 10,000 Rochester students were chronically absent, meaning they attended school less than 90 percent of the time. Tests have shown that students in Grades 3 through 8 who attend school 95 percent of the time have at least a 75 percent greater chance of performing at grade level in English Language Arts. In
addition, students in Grade 9 who attend school for 95 percent of the time are four times more likely to graduate than those with lower attendance.

“We need everyone in our community to understand a simple fact,” said Bolgen Vargas, Ed.D., superintendent of schools. “High attendance equals success in school. Students who miss school more than ten percent of the time will fall behind academically and are very unlikely to catch up.”

With the support of the United Way of Greater Rochester, the Ad Council and the entire community, RCSD’s campaign strives to increase the average daily attendance in Rochester schools to 93 percent within three years and eventually approach 95 percent across the entire district.

To better understand parents’ perspective and inform its strategy, the Ad Council conducted research with district principals, teachers and parent liaisons. It found that parents value education, but often do not draw a strong connection between attendance at early grade levels and success for their child.

Studies have shown that high or chronic absenteeism is directly linked to educational failure in every academic measurement, including test scores, GPA, graduation rates and even achievement later in life.

 “Our research confirmed what has been documented in many other studies, that when parents are faced with many other challenges – from reliable transportation to warm clothing in the winter – getting their young kids to school sometimes seems more nice than necessary,” according to Todd Butler, President & CEO, The Ad Council of Rochester. “One of the goals of this campaign is to help
parents to understand the urgency of getting their kids to school because, literally, every minute matters.”

This initiative is a collaborative led by the Ad Council, RCSD and United Way of Greater Rochester, with support from Summit Federal Credit Union, and Hillside Family of Agencies. Other partners include pro bono advertising agency Partners + Napier, pro bono public relations partner Martino Flynn, Charles Settlement House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ibero and Wegmans.

“We have seen our community struggle with the effects of poverty, and we know that we need to enhance education to break the cycle of poverty,” said Peter Carpino, president of United Way of Greater Rochester. “We know the importance of getting to students and their families while they are young to instill good attendance habits and ensure these kids don’t fall behind from the very start.”

The creative materials launched today were produced for the Ad Council by Partners + Napier, with contributions from Calabrese Studio and Mary Therese Friel, and include print, online and billboard advertisements, along with posters, window clings and stickers. In November, the campaign will expand to include TV and radio spots along with transit advertisements. In early 2015, a classroom-based student engagement effort will round out the campaign. For more information about Every Minute Matters, please visit


About the Ad Council of Rochester
The Ad Council of Rochester makes our community stronger by bringing voice to diverse public issues and needs. A nonprofit collaborative of local businesses and volunteers, the Ad Council helps nonprofits succeed in serving the community through increasing knowledge and skill levels in marketing, advertising, strategic planning, and behavior change efforts. The only organization of its kind in the United States, the Ad Council was founded in 1950 and currently serves more than 200 nonprofits annually.