Attendance Policy

john and fernando

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This 2019-2020 school year’s attendance policy has changed drastically from that of the previous school year. Up until this year, the attendance policy seemed to be loosely enforced and was not really something most students stressed about or even thought much about. However, that is no longer the case. There are five class periods in a day, and if a student misses one of those five classes the absence is recorded in Aspen. After the same class is missed 4 times, the student automatically fails that class for the quarter. Fortunately, students have an opportunity to recover the grade they earned if their attendance improves the following quarter. 

So how has this affected the school? Well, in the students’ eyes it’s a horrible policy that tries to scare students into coming to school. Results of a student survey showed that students are coming to school when they are sick and should be at home. However, without a doctor’s note they will get an unexcused absence, and they feel they can’t afford to be out. The authors of this article were unable to schedule a meeting with the school nurse to confirm whether numbers of students who are sick have changed. The survey also gave the students a chance to suggest changes to the absence policy. After reviewing their suggested revisions, the most common one was to increase the number of absences in a class before failing for the quarter from four to five or six.

So why did this absence policy need to be put in place?  Last year, the school was ranked among other schools in the state of Massachusetts. The state ranks public schools in several categories, including attendance. As you may have guessed, Ipswich did poorly on this section of evaluation. So, in an effort to raise the school’s marks, Mr. Mitchell created the new policy. So far, it’s working, to an extent. The new policy may be disliked, but it has helped to maintain better attendance rates with the majority of students. The next step is focusing on the students who continue to miss more school days than the average student. The school puts these students into the “chronically absent” category. Ipswich High School administrators, teachers, and support staff will continue to work on ways to support these students so that they will attend school regularly and in accordance with the attendance policy that is in place.