The attendance percentage rose incredibly following his initiative.
Akbar Cook, the principal of West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, faced a difficult problem in terms of getting the kids at school. He discovered that one of the biggest reasons why kids were trying to avoid coming to school or were skipping it completely, was because of bullying. The kids, who could not afford to have cleaner clothes were being teased and bullied by their peers and they were so ashamed that they didn't feel like attending classes.
As reported by That Story, these bullies used to snap pictures of their classmates in dirty uniforms and post them on social media causing a great deal of humiliation and embarrassment. Needless to say, it was a real problem that needed an out-of-the-box solution. Akbar, therefore, applied for a $20,000 grant to bring in washing machines and dryers in the school.
On receiving the money, he converted the locker room into a free laundromat where kids could wash their clothes and have cleaner ones for school. The results started showing soon and the attendance shot up by over 10%.
Akbar was also behind another initiative called Lights On program which intends to keep kids out of the streets so that they do not get attracted to the negative elements of society. The program offers the students a safe place to stay after school hours where they could engage in playing sports, watching television, and engaging with each other. It also includes providing them hot meals so they don't go hungry.
The fact of the matter is that his initiatives are simple and hence effective. He is fighting the root of the problem and doing so diligently. We definitely need more educators like him with effective ideas like his.