United Way Education


About 1 in 5 children across the Lehigh Valley miss more than 18 days of school each year. That’s roughly 2 days per month, 10 percent of the school year, and about a month of lost learning opportunity.

Chronic absence – missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason – excused, unexcused absences and suspensions – can translate into students having difficulty learning to read by the third grade, achieving in middle school and graduating from high school.  

Everyday attendance in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten has been shown to set the pattern for how kids will continue to value attending school each year. Important reading skills taught in kindergarten and first grade are critical to helping kids read well by the end of third grade.

Every day attendance isn’t simply a matter of truancy or skipping school. Often, absences are an indicator of larger problem impacting a student or family. Students who are chronically absent may have health problems such as asthma, diabetes and oral and mental health issues. Other barriers include lack of a nearby school bus, a safe route to school or food insecurity make it difficult to go to school every day. 


Over the past year, Community Schools reported improved attendance.

Each United Way Community School is staffed by a full-time Community School Coordinator who identifies chronic absenteeism and coordinates services that affects everyday attendance. To learn more, contact Gina Nichols at 610-807-5716.


“We witness firsthand the positive impact that United Way has on students and the community.”

David Skerpon and Chris Baldrige
Tocqueville Society Members

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