First Day of School and School Attendance

August brings Summer fun to a close and ushers in the start of another school year.

August 13, 2019 | 2 min reading time

The first day of school symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in a child's life and can be both exciting and stressful.

Getting off on the right foot sets a positive tone for the entire year. When parents or guardians of a student in kindergarten through 12th grade take the time to accompany their child on their first day of school they get to share in the excitement of a new year and ease the stress that their child may experience.  

For St. Louis Public Schools, the 2019-2020 public school year starts Tuesday, August 13. Find the SLPS Back to School information. For children at charter, parochial, and private schools, first days may be different.

As students in the City of St. Louis return to school this week and next, let’s all consider the impact of attending the first day of school. Much evidence exists that demonstrates how absenteeism can create long-term effects on a child's ability to succeed. We know that:

  • Missing just 10 percent of the school year in the early grades can leave students struggling throughout elementary school.
  • A chronically absent child (missing 18 or more days per school year) will typically be unable to master reading in Grade 3, will start failing classes in Grade 6, and will face a much higher risk of dropping out in high school.
  • Absences affect the entire classroom if the teacher has to slow down the learning process to help certain children catch up.
  • Low-income children are most at risk. They are four times more likely to have poor attendance in early grades than other students.  

The Attendance Works website list 10 facts about school attendance. Everyone can play a role in encouraging school attendance in our families and in our community.

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