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New law requires 5-year-old children in the city to attend school


Five-year-olds in Watervliet will be required to attend kindergarten under legislation signed by Governor Cuomo on Sept. 13.

Assemblyman John McDonald and Sen. Neil Breslin sponsored the legislation on behalf of the Cohoes and Watervliet school districts in an effort to make sure 5-year-old children receive the educational benefits that early learning programs provide by making attendance mandatory.

With the exception of a few of larger cities (e.g., Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo), New York law does not require mandatory school attendance until children are 6-years old.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lori Caplan said lowering the compulsory age to 5 will help put the community’s youngest students on the right track, and in the long term, will result in improved academic performance for students as they progress through school.

“Kindergarten plays a pivotal role in preparing children for school and for learning,” she said. “In our district, we have children entering school with highly diverse levels of academic readiness. Through this legislation, our hope is that our youngest students will attend school more consistently and our families will recognize the importance of kindergarten and its role in providing the foundation essential for school success in later years.”