Sunday, February 11, 2001

'Daughters' day losing momentum


Loveland schools latest to bar excused absences

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Loveland City schools this week became the latest school district in Greater Cincinnati to declare it will not offer students excused absences for the annual “Take Our Daughters to Work” day April 26.

        “We understand there are many times when students have to be absent for a good reason,” Superintendent Michael Cline said. “This is certainly a good reason, but we think it could be scheduled at another time.”

        Dr. Cline sent a letter Feb. 1 to parents saying the idea of taking their daughters — and in some cases sons — to work is worthwhile, but said the event should take place in the summer, when students won't miss school.

        Loveland schools' decision is the latest sign that the event, started in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation for Women to help girls build self-esteem, is losing steam.

        “(The event) does not have the furor it had five years ago,” said Bill Hart, president of Employers Resource Association, a nonprofit human resource association with 1,130 member companies, headquartered in Bond Hill.

        Loveland joins other Tristate school districts - including Campbell County and Covington schools in Kentucky, and Fairfield schools in Butler County - that do not excuse students that day.

        Other schools offer excused absences, albeit begrudgingly.

        “I don't think there's anything sacred about observing that day between September and June,” said Dr. David McWilliams, superintendent of Ross Local schools. The district excuses students with a note from parents.

        Dan Sullivan, superintendent of Newport schools, said his district willingly excuses students with a note from a parent.

        “I think it's a part of broadening a child's horizon,” he said.

        The event is structured for a Thursday during the school year so girls can apply their experiences to classroom learning Friday, the foundation's Web site says.

        Foundation officials said they are disappointed to hear schools are opting not to excuse children from school that day.

        “Teachers are always telling us they're looking for a way to connect work to school,” said Kelly Parisi, communications manager. “This shows girls how work is relative to their lives.”

        Downtown Cincinnati's Hyatt Regency hotel tailored events to the day last year, said Pat Trammell, director of marketing and sales.

        Mark Lamb, the Hyatt's front-office manager, took his now-fifth-grade son Jeremy to work last year.

        “It was the highlight of his year,” Mr. Lamb said. “It's a very worthwhile experience.”

        Bob Herring, principal of Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge, which Jeremy attends, said the absence is excused with a note from a parent, but he would prefer the day be held in the summer. Jan Leslie, Cincinnati Public schools spokeswoman, said the decision to offer excused or unexcused absences is decided by individual schools. But, she said, the district would prefer the event be offered in the summer.

       

        The ninth annual “Take Our Daughters to Work” day will be Thursday, April 26. Call (800) 676-7780. Online: www.takeourdaughterstowork.org

       



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