BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Class is back in session and kids across Jefferson County are hitting the books and looking ahead to another school year.
Birmingham city and district leaders say too many kids skipped school on the first day and are concerned after 29 percent of kids on the rolls didn’t show up.
“Every day is critical, and every day is learning,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “We want our children in school.”
Woodfin is disappointed knowing only 71 percent of students were in the classroom on Monday.
“We all acknowledge that there’s a significant achievement gap that we need to work on,” Woodfin said. “I will give you a simple solution. Parents, just making sure your kids attend school every day is a simple way to close that gap.”
Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said higher attendance helps them determine where to deploy teachers and resources. He said it is not unusual for students to miss the first few days, but it is necessary for them to attend.
“School is important, and you have to make sure that your children are in school every single day,” Sullivan said. “We have to make decisions about where teachers are going to be placed a lot earlier than that. If students are not in school in this particular school and they may be in another school, we have to move teachers.”
Although resources that come from the state are determined starting the day after Labor Day, Sullivan said it is still important to be in the classroom every day since they only see children 180 of the 365 days in a year.
“I know that many of our parents work shift work and sometimes we have to be a little bit more flexible, but I want them to understand, everybody to understand that school is important, and you have to make sure that your children are in school every single day,” Sullivan said.
City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said he does not think his child had any instruction on day one.
“Perhaps they’ve had some experience that informs whether or not they show up that first week,” O’Quinn said.
Sullivan said if you have not registered your child, you can do so from your phone right now or online by clicking here. He said school officials are more than willing to help make ends meet for students financially.