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Smart Start

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN — Kindergarten students at South Boston Elementary enjoyed their first day of school with varying levels of enthusiasm on Monday. Above, Mia Lewis uses her time to draw a pretty picture. (David Conner II photo) / August 16, 2010
Schools opened Monday morning without a hitch, according to Deputy School Superintendent Larry Clark.

Clark said he visited four schools on opening day and Superintendent Paul Stapleton visited five others. “We had a very smooth opening,” Clark said, but he noted that attendance at all the schools was down by about 300 students on the first day of school, compared to the number enrolled in schools at the end of the previous school year.

Clark said this year’s school budget was based on projected attendance of 5,641, an enrollment number that affects state funding for the local school division. Attendance the first day reached only 5,350.

However, students trickled back to class and by Wednesday the enrollment shortfall had dropped considerably.

Wednesday’s total attendance reached 5,549 students. Clark said most of the students missing were from Halifax County High School (70) while attendance at the Middle School was 22 students short, at South Boston Elementary School, 15 short.

As of yesterday, 1,767 students were enrolled at the high school, and 1,316 were enrolled at the middle school. South Boston Elementary had 800 students enrolled; Cluster Springs Elementary had 591; Scottsburg Elementary, 282; Sydnor Jennings. 258; Sinai Elementary, 255; Meadville, 219 and Clays Mill, 193.

On Tuesday, 160 more students (5,510) showed up for school, leaving only about 140 students unaccounted for. “We are urging parents to get their children enrolled so they do not get behind early in their classes,” Clark said.

Clark pointed to several reasons why children may not be enrolled — missing documentation such as birth certificates, or lack of immunizations such as the Tdap booster shots which are mandatory for students entering the sixth grade.

Whatever the problem, Clark said parents need to resolve their issues and get their children back in school.

“We hate to see students disadvantaged by late enrollment. Sometimes they get so far behind it is academically challenging for them to catch up,” he said.

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