In March 2000 educators across the country taught their students about the Census. Children took home reminders to their parents/guardians to complete their Census questionnaires and to make sure that all of the children were counted. The Census in Schools project was an integral part of the Census Bureau's marketing plan to encourage everyone to participate in Census 2000. The Census Bureau contracted with Scholastic Inc., who helped develop the message, packaging, and distribution system to reach educators and families. The Census Bureau and Scholastic, Inc. developed materials for K-12 teachers, principals, pre-school and adult ESL/Literacy instructors, and families.
Nearly 2 million "Making Sense of Census 2000" teaching kits were distributed to K-12 educators in public, private, and parochial schools in the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- 45 million handouts with census-related activities were sent home with elementary and middle school students.
- Principals in every K-12 school in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas received a Census 2000 kit.
- 200,000 kits for instructors of Adult Literacy/ESL were distributed.
- 35,000 kits were sent to Head Start Centers.
Census in Schools Events
The Census Bureau promoted Teach Census Week (March 13-17) as a prime time to teach about Census 2000. During that week, Count von Count, from Sesame Street, appeared at a press conference in Washington DC, promoting participation in the Census. Many schools held Census 2000 rallies, featuring children singing "I Count," the Census 2000 song.
In Pinson, Alabama, students from Rudd Middle School designed a Census 2000 billboard and had it placed in their community. The school received local and national media coverage; two students, their principal, and social studies teacher Cheryl Tillman were promoted as "Census Heroes" by the Secretary of Commerce at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The student newspaper staff at Choctawhatchee High School (Ft. Walton Beach, Florida) developed and distributed a Census 2000 newspaper for elementary students. They distributed the newspapers to the 19,000 K-6 students in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. A local ABC TV affiliate did a news feature on the students’ follow-up visits to local elementary schools.