BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Attendance incentive. Baltimore City hosted a huge holiday party Monday for students at one school who had the best attendance record.

Mary Bubala reports it was a celebration full of surprises.

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Santa was in the house! So was Batman and the Baltimore Ravens’ Eugene Monroe—all to celebrate Frederick Elementary students with the most improved school attendance.

“It’s a celebration of our youngsters doing some great things, coming to school. We have a group of youngsters who have been chronically absent and today we celebrate the fact that we have tremendously the largest reduction in the city,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thorton.

Baltimore Ravens players helped the students pick out gifts for their parents to thank them for getting them to school and themselves for their hard work.

“I just remember being in the same position a couple of years ago when I was a young kid and such a special time of year. We always look for opportunities to give back,” said Baltimore Ravens safety Jeremy Miles.

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Educators say the biggest achievement gap can be attributed to chronic absenteeism. So Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake created this incentive—a huge holiday party—to get children to school.

“It sends them a very strong message that school is important, that education is important and that they are important to us,” she said.

The students at Frederick Elementary earned first place by decreasing their absentee rate by almost 10% this year.

Each year, 15% of Baltimore City elementary students are chronically absent, missing more than 20 days of school.

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