With the start of school less than a week away, City leaders are stressing the importance of children, especially in younger grades, getting to school every day.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 18 or more days per year.
This week, juvenile officers with the St. Louis Circuit Court are going door-to-door in City neighborhoods to meet with parents of incoming kindergarteners to drive home the message that keeping kids out of class can cause long term problems. In the coming weeks, the officers will focus on K-8 students who missed 30 or more days during the last school year.
- Missing just 10 percent of the school year in the early grades can leave students struggling throughout elementary school.
- A chronically absent child 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.
"This a critical issue facing the City of St. Louis," said Judge David Mason."The habit of missing school starts early and too often begins the downward spiral of failing grades, dropping out of school and succumbing to a life of crime."
"St. Louis has great kids, and we want them to be in school – every day – to become the great adults we need them to be," Mayor Francis Slay said.
Mayor Francis Slay, SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams and Juvenile Court Judge David Mason will address the problems surrounding chronic absenteeism at a news conference at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 in the Mayor's Office at City Hall, Room 200.
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