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As New School Year Begins, St. Louis Officials Push For High Attendance

Erin Williams

In a press conference held at St. Louis City Hall today, Mayor Slay was joined by school and court officials to speak about the importance of regular school attendance before the first day on Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams says that while attendance has increased, it is estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 students don’t attend on the first day of school.  

“We need the community to work with us to make sure that if they see kids on the street who are not in school, call – call the school district, call anyone you can find to try to get kids in school and off the street,” he says. “ We know that’s where things occur that are not positive for kids.”

The administration is taking a multifaceted approach to ensure high attendance for this school year. This week, St. Louis Circuit Court juvenile officers will be visiting the homes of incoming kindergartners to stress school attendance, and on Sunday the superintendent and other school officials will be traveling to area churches in a final push to get kids to show up for school on Monday. Social media is also playing a big part, says Adams.

“We have a check and connect group that calls families who are at risk, and texting and tweeting as much as possible to get the message out," Adams says. "We think the best way for kids to come to school is a personal connection – somebody calling them and telling them they need to be in school. And that’s what we’re trying to work on to see happen."

Of the 27,000 students who are enrolled in school, over 2,000 of them are preschoolers, who won’t attend classes until the following week.

Follow Erin Williams on Twitter: @STLPR_Erin