Administration updates attendance policy

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Young student places her name on attendance board.

The administration reduced the allowed number of absences before a student faces potential class credit exclusion for the current academic year.

The update calls for a petition to credit after 10 absences from a class for a student to receive credit for a class and only allows up to 20 absences before class withdrawal. The reasoning behind this change lies in the mission of the school. “Since our focus is on formation and transformation, not information, we have to have opportunities for students to be with their teacher and with their peers to do it,” Academic Vice Principal Dr. Smart said. Not only does the updated policy ensure steady student development, but it also serves as a proactive measure to help teachers keep track of their students. “It will actually force us as administrators to keep closer tabs on attendance and it will also enable us to intervene earlier and come up with a plan which would be more productive for the student,” Dr. Smart said.

Students may not realize that it is difficult for both absentees and teachers to catch up after many missed class periods. Teachers must give absentees make up work and separately grade it on top of their normal grading load.

Maggie Dolan, a student formerly from the class of 2017, has joined the current senior class due to medical leave and understands the challenges for teachers.

“I feel really bad because I think I kind of stressed out my teachers as well, so I think [the updated policy will] really help the teachers because I think it’s really hard to keep up with [absentees],” senior Maggie Dolan said. Some students voiced concern over the policy revision and believe it will come with ramifications the revised policy was meant to eliminate, such as increased absences. “I think it will definitely lead to more kids getting pass/fail classes, definitely more kids coming to school sick so it’s just going to add to overall more people missing school,” senior Emma Zinsli said.

Concern over impact on academic records also became evident among students. Pass/fail classes raises the dilemma of reflecting a student’s attendance in a class versus their performance.

“[Potentially petitioning for credit] is incredibly stressful when you’re sick over and over and over and you can’t go to school, especially when you’re on top of your assignments. I’m not even behind in the class and I’m still getting [warnings] that my class is gonna become pass/fail and I’m not gonna get credit,” Zinsli said.

Thoughts on the updated policy are split, but it is still too early to tell whether or not the policy will have any lasting impact on student attendance.