Test scores, graduation rates and academic excellence are all moot subjects if student absenteeism is a prevailing issue. Increasing attendance, therefore, is a priority at most school systems, including Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS).

Get Schooled, a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college, was joined by MDCPS Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III, Comcast, DJ Khaled and Sway Calloway, Shade 45 radio host and MTV News Correspondent, at a special event to recognize Carol City Middle School as the national champion in the Get Schooled 2015 Fall Attendance Challenge.

The school improved its attendance rate eight percent – more than any of the other 98 middle and high schools around country that participated in the competition. The Challenge is supported by the Internet Essentials program from Comcast.

“We launched the iAttend M-DCPS initiative last September to continue the school district’s proactive approach to addressing school absenteeism,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “Carol City Middle School’s achievement demonstrates that we are on the right path to ensuring students are in school every day and receiving the benefits of a full day of classroom instruction. Get Schooled was a great tool that motivated students to get to school regularly to get the education they need to succeed.”

DJ Khaled, a Miami-based multi-platinum music producer and Miami Gardens restaurateur, served as the Celebrity Principal for the event. Mayor Oliver Gilbert III declared it “DJ Khaled Day” to recognize the importance of his civic leadership in Miami Gardens. Well known for his social media advice, Khaled also shared some words of wisdom with the students – just like he does when he offers his “major keys to success” to his more than two million followers on Snapchat.

“Learning matters. Showing up matters. The key is to do it every day,” Khaled said. “Carol City Middle School students did just that and that’s why we are here today.”

“At Carol City Middle School, we are passionate about improving attendance,” said Principal Sonia Romero. “We came together as a school to bring a focus on attendance improvement this year, in support of our District’s iAttend initiative, and Get Schooled was a great tool that motivated our students to come to school every day to get the education they need to succeed.”