FULTON — With a commitment to instruction, academic and social growth of each student, the Fulton City School District will host an attendance awareness celebration this weekend.

The event, which coincides with Attendance Awareness Month, will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Fulton Education Center, 167 S. Fourth St., Fulton. Families are invited to participate in an afternoon of free activities, food, music, games and prizes.

According to district officials, the start of each school year presents an opportunity to highlight the importance of being present in school. Too many children are missing too many days of school, officials said. Tens of thousands of children, even in the early grades, are chronically absent from school every year throughout the United States.

Research indicates that children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade and are more likely to have poor attendance in later grades. By middle and high school, students who are chronically absent are more prone to dropping out of school entirely. While chronic absence plagues schools throughout the nation, Fulton school officials said they are confident that the issue can be solved when schools, families and community partners work together.

"Across the country, hundreds of communities like ours are launching Attendance Awareness Month, a vital step in calling attention to the importance of school attendance at the start of the school year," said Geri Geitner, FCSD director of Student Support Programs. "Establishing and maintaining exemplary attendance habits is an area of focus across the school district. Good attendance habits are recognized as an important part of meeting the district wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) expectations to be respectful, responsible and safe students and members of the community."

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