Thursday, September 14, 2017

Attendance policy changes based on federal decree

   By: Lucas Smith
  The attendance policy has changed at Ripley High due to ESSA, also known as “Every Student Succeeds Act.”  This federal law was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 which is meant to build on key areas of progress in schools.
  In the old policy “students could miss 10 days and parents could have up to 5 parent notes” stated vice-principal Bev Shatto. Now a student can only miss up to 7 days or 7 periods before going on social probation.
  “Our goal is at least a 93% attendance rate,” Shatto said.
  This new desire to have higher attendance starts at the federal level based on how high schools measure success. High schools are measured by their attendance rates, graduation rates, and dropout rates.
  “Attendance is a bigger part of the puzzle for high schools,” said Shatto.
  A student can miss 6 days before going on social probation. That means, a student goes on social probation when they miss 7 days.
   Students have also questioned how they can get off of social probation if they end up on it.
“You can make up your social probation by going to power hour or after school tutoring.” stated principal William Hosaflook.
  Students have wondered what kinds of absences are considered “excused.”
  “The only absences that are excused are extracirruclar activities, suspensions, and alternative school. That comes from ESSA.” stated Hosaflook.
  There are mixed emotions circulating among students regarding the new attendance policy.
  Senior Kiersten Templin said, “I like it because it forces you to come to school more. If we weren’t doing anything in the class that day, I might not have come.”
  Other students are not as happy because the school thinks being in one period is just as important as being at school for a full day.
  Senior Katie Sinclair said, “I feel like this policy is goofy because missing a period is not like missing a whole entire day.”

  Principal Will Hosaflook has recently awarded the school with a with a pep rally because the attendance rate for the week was above 95%.   Regardless of how students feel about the new policy, if they are being rewarded for it, it is likely that attendance will stay above that desired 93% mark.

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