New Britain school officials hope to fend off first day jitters, - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Britain school officials hope to fend off first day jitters, encourage attendance

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New Britain held a back to school breakfast for students on Thursday. (WFSB photo) New Britain held a back to school breakfast for students on Thursday. (WFSB photo)
(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

School officials in New Britain are hoping to fend off the first day of school jitters by holding a dry run on Thursday.

It’s the district’s third annual back to school breakfast and it comes as officials work to combat some attendance issues.

They said the breakfast is a great way for both students and parents to get more comfortable with their school. They were able to meet their teachers, principal and classmates.

"It gives the parents a sense of calm in starting a new year and sending their kids back to school,” said Sharon Beloin-Saavadra, Board of Education president.

The buses brought for the district’s 5,000 elementary school children to the breakfast. It’s an event unique to New Britain and it’s happening at all 10 of the district’s elementary schools.

“The district began the tradition of back to school breakfasts a few years ago with redistricting,” said Elaine Cabral, principal of Lincoln Elementary School. “Many of the children were being sent to new schools so we had them practice the first day of school by having a breakfast.”

The goal was to make sure children stay in school.

Officials told Eyewitness News that chronic absenteeism, missing 10 percent or more of school days, has been up among kindergarteners. They’re hoping to reduce that percentage this year.

"We found especially during the cold winter months that although half a mile is not really that far with the amount of snow that's stacked up, it becomes a hazard," said superintendent Kelt Cooper. "Many parents would say it's too dangerous for their kids to walk to school." 

One way is by expanding bus routes. Officials said they noticed that kids were missing school on bad weather days. Now, elementary school students who live within a half a mile of their school are allowed to take the bus. The rule used to be a full mile.

The first official day of school is set for Monday.

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