In partnership with seven elementary/middle schools in six South Baltimore communities, the Port Covington Development Team created a campaign to help boost student attendance during the 180 days of the school year – the TARGET 180 Attendance Campaign!

The TARGET 180 Attendance Campaign featured various events including school pep rallies, a community Walk to School Day, and School Spirit Squad Pop-ups in which community members welcomed students to school during morning arrivals. This year’s TARGET 180 Attendance Campaign culminated with a basketball tournament for the participating schools with the highest attendance. Within each school, grade levels participated in a March Madness-style contest where classrooms were eliminated each week. The classes from each school with highest attendance went head-to-head and the winners were invited to play in the basketball tournament. On Friday May 11, the students, faculty and families from the participating schools gathered at the indoor basketball court at UA House on Fayette St in West Baltimore for the single-elimination style basketball competition to celebrate the increased attendance at school over the past few months.

The event marked the first time that all seven South Baltimore schools were joined together. Port Covington Impact Investment team member Alexandra Mills said, “The purpose of this campaign was to bring the schools and communities together to build a shared culture of attendance and to create

spaces where our students have fun and feel special. This campaign was a community effort from start to finish and would not have been possible without the support of the school leaders, teachers, support staff, and community members who dedicate themselves to our students every day. It matters that these six different communities came together and demonstrated their collective investment in our youth. After four months of working together, it was amazing to see all the participating TARGET 180 schools gathered in the same room celebrating each other.”

The participating TARGET 180 Schools are:

1. Bay-Brook Elementary/Middle

2. Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle

3. Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle

4. Arundel Elementary/Middle

5. Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle

6. Lakeland Elementary/Middle

7. Westport Elementary/Middle

Each school was able to bring a boys or girls teams, competing for championship titles. As winners of the attendance challenge, Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle was the only school that was able to bring both a boys and a girls team to participate.

The first match up of the evening was between the Bay-Brook Elementary/Middle and Arundel Elementary/Middle boys’ team. It was a close game, but Bay-Brook ultimately came out on top and advanced to the semifinals. The second game, as the rounds alternated between girls and boys teams, ended with a win by the Westport Elementary/Middle girls team. The third game was played by Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School and Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle. Principal Tracey Garrett and Community School Coordinator George Buntin celebrated along with the crowd of students and families as the Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle boys team made it to the next round of games and eventually took home the championship title. The girls’ teams semifinal round was between Westport Elementary/Middle and Lakeland Elementary/Middle. Ultimately, the Westport girls team took home the championship title!

Free concessions of a variety of hot dogs, snacks and drinks were provided for everyone in attendance courtesy of the Port Covington Development team. The event continued with a halftime show from the Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle E.M.M.Y Steppers step team and a 3-point competition with participation from faculty and staff representing each school.