New policy impacts attendance, credits

Sarah Gibson, Staff Reporter

Teachers and administration agree that attendance last year was far from ideal, which led administration to put a new policy into place for the current year. The policy states that a student is allowed five parent notes and nine unexcused absences in a class per semester. An absence is defined as over five minutes late to a regular period, or over 10 minutes late to a block period.
Once absences pass the limit, credit for that course will be denied. As the first semester of school has passed, students have lost credits due to attendence.
A total of 70 students have been denied credit in anywhere from one to seven classes, which accounts for 3 percent of the student population. The numbers do not show, however, how many students would have lost credit regardless of attendance, due to a failing grade.
“I thought the number would be a little bit higher, but I think we did a really good job getting the information out to the students, parents, and community at large about the attendance policy and the consequences. I’m not surprised at all by the number that lost credit,” Administrative Assistant Jesse Walker said.
Many students did not take the policy seriously because in years past, the policy was not enforced. Students believed they could miss class after class, as long as they made up assignments on their own time.
“I think it’s stupid. If you earn a good enough grade to pass the class, you shouldn’t lose credit just because of absences,” senior Nick Brizendine said.
According to some students, the attendance system seems to be disorganized. Notes have been lost, and students have been mistakenly denied credit.
“They thought I had a bunch of unexcused absences. I wasn’t getting credit because they lost my notes, and then they found them after we called multiple times,” sophomore Zach Mattzinger said.
In regards to sports, the loss of credit does not affect participation. The grade earned for the course is still factored into a student’s GPA, only the credit itself is lost.
“The grade doesn’t show up as an F; the student just doesn’t receive credit. As long as the grade earned still measures up to a 2.0 GPA, the student can participate in sports and other activities,” athletic director Jay Getty said.
Conflicting opinions still spread across campus between students and teachers, however teachers have been seeing positive results.
“I love it. The attendance has dramatically increased which falls right into students doing better in class,” English teacher Helen Reed said.
Administration believes the new enforced attendance policy is proving to be successful in keeping students in school.
“The policy has been successful because more students are coming to class, whereas before, they didn’t feel the need. Now having had their credit denied, students are more likely to be here on campus,” Walker said.