School is cool! That’s the message from Oakland Unified School District as millions of children head back to school this week and next. In a new YouTube video remix, students from Oakland middle and elementary schools bust a move to Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music” to promote the importance of school attendance. Titled “I’m An Oakland School Kid,” it also features National Football League star and Oakland native Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch.
In the video, a teacher tells his class, “If you put in the work today, tomorrow you can be whatever you want to be.” A young boy goes on to imagine kids growing up to be president, a scientist, judge, astronaut, moviemaker and more. The kids dance and sing lyrics like “Can’t be late, I’ve got to get myself to class so they can educate. There is a world of things to know so I can’t hesitate. I got my pencils, calculator and the mental space.”
It’s a fun, student-focused way to combat a big problem. According to Oakland Local, school district data for the 2011–12 year (the most recent available) shows that 10 percent of students are chronically absent, including 14 percent of high school students and 14 percent of kindergartners.
Oakland Unified teamed with San Francisco-based ad agency Portal A to produce the video, which was shot at La Escuelita Elementary School in Oakland. Take a look, and listen to KQED’s radio report here.