What is the A-GAME?
The Baltimore Urban Debate League’s A-GAME is a program designed to engage the voices of Baltimore’s youth in a citywide campaign to build awareness around Baltimore City’s school attendance crisis. A-GAME stands for: Attendance & Grades Amplify My Excellence!!
A-GAME is year-long position for students in several high schools throughout Baltimore City; representing diverse communities and experiences, A-GAME Ambassadors come together to form a city wide youth collaborative to talk about the key issues affecting education and attendance. In the 2012-2013 school year 33 A-GAME Ambassadors representing 11 schools, will serve as youth advocates and school representatives to create awareness of the importance of good and high attendance.
A-GAME Ambassadors understand the importance of attendance and serve as role models and advocates to eradicate barriers to attendance. By understanding the youth perspective on such an important issue, the A-GAME is able to directly address the concerns of students across the city, increasing their engagement and creating a community of self-advocacy for Baltimore City’s youth.
Why are we talking about attendance?
Chronic absence (missing 20 or more days of school) is associated with low academic achievement, school truancy, suspensions, dropping out of school, delinquency, substance abuse and other negative outcomes. To date, only 17% of students in Baltimore City are high attendees at school. However, students who attend school regularly get better grades, graduate at much higher rates and are more likely to be accepted to and succeed in college.
A-GAME Student Ambassadors (2011-2013)
- Identify school specific barriers to attendance through focus groups and produce programming to help solve those issues (i.e. poster campaigns, increased access to key resources, efforts to increase school spirit, school assemblies, field trips…)
- Develop program messaging focused on successful methods of high school/9th grade transition with regards to how it impacts attendance.
- Serve as city wide peer educators to engage students across the city in conversations about student engagement and increasing attendance.
- Represent the Baltimore City Student voice in key city-wide conversations about attendance.
- Encourage and incentivize high attendance in their schools by serving as mentors to their peers.
- Plan quarterly trainings at their schools to help educate peers about the barriers to attendance.