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Fulton Community Invited to Celebrate School Attendance Awareness Month

FULTON, NY – In support of Fulton’s school children, the community and the efforts of the school district to continue to improve the high school graduation rate, the mayor and Common Council joined with the Fulton City School District to acknowledge how crucial attendance is to the learning process.

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Pictured from left to right, first row: Councilor Jim Myers,Mayor Ron Woodward, FCSD Director of Student Support Geri Geitner, G. Ray Bodley High School Principal Donna Parkhurst, and Council President Dan Knopp. Back row: Councilors Jay Foster, Larry Macner, Tom Kenyon, and FCSD Superintendent Bill Lynch.

During a recent council meeting Mayor Ronald Woodward proclaimed the city of Fulton would stand with the nation in recognizing September as “Attendance Awareness Month.

“We hereby commit to focusing on reducing chronic absenteeism to give all children equitable opportunity to learn, grow and thrive academically, emotionally and socially,” he said in his proclamation.

Fulton City School District Director of Student Support Geri Geitner thanked the Common Council and the mayor for supporting the school district’s efforts to raise awareness of the problem that chronic absenteeism poses to the students, and families in the district.

“I hope all of you will join us on Sep. 14,” she said, “as we celebrate and make pledges that we will all commit to supporting students to attend school regularly and addressing the barriers that prevent them from doing so.”

It was stated during the meeting that  good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation, and the city is committed to supporting Fulton’s school district and families in reducing chronic absenteeism rates, with a focus starting as early as pre-kindergarten.

Chronic absence has been defined as missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason including excused and unexcused absences. Performance statistics show it is a proven predictor of academic trouble and dropout rates.

The mayor’s proclamation acknowledged that improving attendance and reducing chronic absence takes commitment, collaborations and tailored approaches to particular challenges and strengths in each community and that chronic absence predicts lower third-grade reading proficiency, course failure and eventual dropout, it weakens our communities and our local economy.

“Whereas chronic absence undermines efforts to improve our schools, since it’s hard to measure improvement in classroom instruction if students are not in class to benefit from learning, and schools and community partners can reach out more frequently to absent students to determine why they are missing school and what would help them attend more regularly, chronic absence can be significantly reduced when schools, parents and communities work together to monitor attendance and address hurdles that keep children from getting to school,” the mayor proclaimed.

The entire community is invited to join the Attendance Awareness event at the Fulton Education Center on Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.