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High School Expectations Committee Brainstorms Ideas to Improve Attendance

High School Expectations Committee

Communication Report

April 6th, 2015

The High School Expectations committee met on Monday, April 6th. Trustee Rita Walsh and Ben Taucher facilitated the committee discussion. The committee is comprised of parents, teachers and administrators. Trustee Walsh opened the meeting by welcoming new members and reviewing the direction of the committee. The top three priority items, as voted on during the initial committee meeting, are as follows: Attendance, Expectations of Students and Staff, Accountability and Conduct for Students and Staff.

Director of Community Partnerships, Kelly Eastes, reviewed information and data requested by the committee in relation to priority issue #1, Attendance. A copy of the NCSD Graduate Profile was provided to the committee to reference in the continued work ahead.

After committee review of data supplied in relation to Attendance, they then shared personal input and ideas in relation to the topic. These suggestions are listed below:

Personal input regarding Attendance:

  • Rural areas: early bus times, if they miss the bus they tend to remain home. Absent all day.
  • Rather than suspend a student, can we come with an alternate way to discipline? Seems counterproductive to remove a student from school as discipline for missing school.
  • Concern regarding school officials unable to tell a parent where their child is.
  • Increase student and parent “buy in”. Motivating students to do their best. School is a privilege and not a punishment. Change in culture is needed.
  • Opportunity for teachers to focus on at-risk students. Teachers are overwhelmed and are focused on the next hurdle instead of students.
  • Engage students. When did school lose the “fun”? We keep pressurizing the system. Example: “You have to do good now, because next grade is harder.”
  • Use the attendance policies that already exist and enforce them. Hold people accountable.
  • Administrators accountable for enforcing Attendance issues with consistency. Ineffective and frustrating for teachers and students when Administrators in the same school enforce differently. Sends mixed messages.
  • Take attendance right away: teachers.
  • Start earlier with a cultural message to students in elementary on why education is important to them. Why school is important to the individual student and how it is a privilege, not a punishment.
  • Person in every building whose sole responsibility is to verify attendance: all day, every day, every period.
  • Audit system: 5 days missed, credit on “hold”, earn it back next quarter. Places accountability back on students.
  • Teachers in hallway: look at an idea of giving an “accountability duty” back to teachers.
  • Get rid of school of choice: enrollment in grade school and junior high back to neighborhood school. Decrease in pressure on parents to get students to school.
  • Include the “why” in our school culture. Importance of school, future opportunities.
  • Closed campus lunch
  • Required check in with attendance officer if student is absent
  • Half-day on Fridays- multiple students leaving for activities/sports, decrease absences of teachers/students. Friday afternoons can then be used for “study hall” or an opportunity for students to make up missed days/homework.
  • Building relationships teachers/parents starting in Elementary
  • Keeping students engaged and challenged: test out of a class and move towards a more challenging and rewarding class.
  • Infinite Campus: notify parents of attendance
  • Reduce numbers of activities/athletic events. Example: 18 Volleyball games a season instead of 23.
  • Open campus lunch: students earn privilege to leave campus
  • Smaller classes at the High school level
  • Look into 4 day school week: All day Friday off for activities/athletics. Use Friday for credit recovery option, study hall, ACT prep, Etc.
  • Communicate accountability to parents: Ex: Evansville Elementary billboard
  • Student misses a class or day- they have to make it up
  • Hold to excused/unexcused absences: Starbucks run doesn’t count as excused
  • Secondary level is not so good at Celebration; recognize students who are doing what they are supposed to do. Simple celebrations and recognition for behavior/attendance accomplishments.
  • If we are looking at closed campus: look at Sheridan; scan cards for open/closed lunch
  • Students should test into classes to insure the student isn’t being overwhelmed and is receiving proper instruction for their ability level.
  • Community Outreach: businesses would love partnerships to increase student “buy in”. Community benefits with higher educated citizens and increased numbers of graduates.
  • Electronic system: swipe in out for all actions on campus. Example: bathroom breaks, library visits. Will increase safety of students as well as accountability for their whereabouts.
  • Community food trucks/etc. on campus- closed campus
  • Credit recovery option- online make-up, study hall option, etc.

In closing, Trustee Rita Walsh asked the committee to continue reviewing data provided in preparation for continued discussion regarding Attendance during the next committee meeting.

The next meeting of the High School Expectations Committee will be held on April 20th, 2015 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Central Services Building.



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This entry was posted on April 7, 2015 by in In Focus.

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