Yasmeen Khan is an associate producer covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Students who need a little nudge to get to school in the morning can sign up to receive wake-up calls from the city. The phone call initiative allows students to sign up to receive recorded messages between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. from celebrities like Trey Songz or Cappie Pondexter from the New York Liberty.
This year they also can hear messages from fellow students with a past of chronic absenteeism, but who have reformed. Listen to Jonathan from P.S. 81 Thaddeus Stevens, who missed a whopping 44 days of school in 2010-2011:
And this student, Xiomarie, laments that she missed a lot of school one year due to many appointments:
City officials say more than 250,000 public school students miss at least 20 days of school per year. The pilot program, called "Wake Up! NYC," started in 2011 with an eye on 25 schools with chronically absent students. The program expanded to 50 schools last year and 100 schools this year. The program also pairs chronically absent students with mentors.
Any student can sign up for wake-up calls, and can do so here. They must re-enroll in the program at the beginning of each school year. Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office, said so far this school year, the city is making about 27,300 calls each morning.
For a sample of what a celebrity wake-up call sounds like, check out the message from Magic Johnson below.