Admin Cracks Down on Attendance Policy

Angie Black and Tatiana Brown

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Contrary to popular belief, attendance policies have not changed as dramatically as it seems. Although the specifics of the policy are going to be heavily enforced this year.

Students must be in school for at least 90 percent of the school year. That usually means no more than four unexcused absences each semester will keep a student above that threshold,” assistant principal Steven Maddox said.

One of the changes that occurred is now undocumented illnesses count against attendance. This is because last year, students were not meeting the 90 percent attendance rule, and many were just turning in parent notes and expecting those absences to be excused.

The state funds schools based on their average daily attendance. So the higher the percentage rate, the more money we have to spend on students,” Maddox said.

Due to the state funding having to be at a certain percentage, attendance policies must be strictly enforced. It is also used to encourage the students to be present in school.

According to the Austin High website, “Upon the third tardy [and beyond] in a six weeks, the tardy manager for the campus will assign the student to a lunch detention. The students that are unable or unwilling to attend lunch detention will be assigned Saturday School.”

Saturday school and lunch detention are enforcements that are necessary for the students to keep up their own attendance and personal grades. The biggest difference about the attendance policy is that if a student is late, the student must go to the attendance office to get a note.

We are streamlining services throughout the building. Counseling services and attendance are all now on the first floor,” Maddox said.

This streamlining of the building is to improve how the school functions and how the students or staff function within.

“If a student is in class each day receiving instruction, then they are more likely to be academically successful,” Maddox said.