Bringing Attention to Attendance

Students and teachers returning to TA this year were introduced to the new attendance policy. At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, the faculty identified advisory and the lack of attendance as issues that needed to be addressed. A committee of faculty, administration, social workers, guidance counselors, and deans spent all last year collecting data about student attendance and discussing the multifaceted reasons behind that truancy.

The committee decided that a stricter policy that would hold students accountable for their school attendance was needed and they went to work on developing that new policy. As the end of the first semester grew near, the Power School data shows that school wide attendance is markedly better. This has also translated into less failures after the first quarter.

When the school year began, Thornton Academy faculty announced to the student body that a new policy was being put into place due the increased amount of students missing school days last year.

Amy Glidden, teacher and member of the committee that created the new policy, said, “As an English teacher I can definitely see the effectiveness of this policy. My students are doing better academically and I have less work to track down due to absenteeism”. She also explained her thoughts on the policy in general. “No attendance policy is perfect and we certainly have issues to address, but so far, I’d say it has been more successful than not.”

Many of those negative opinions have been coming from the students that take part in the Vocational Program at the Biddeford Vocational School. Micah Hersom, a senior, who takes the morning classes at the Vocational School is not a fan.

Hersom said, “The new policy is really irritating, because I will sometimes arrive late at TA, and the Vocational students are required to sign in at the main office, then we have to go to our homerooms, which in most cases are on the opposite side of campus, and we can end up either not signing into homeroom or being late to third block.”

Ray Cheplic, a senior believes that the new policy is unfair.

“I understand how some people may just be skipping school, but some people are not going to class for valid reasons. It is creating an impact on certain clubs and activities in school. As someone in Choir and the TA Players, I know some of the things we as groups had to sacrifice because of the attendance policy. The Chamber singer have had to cancel some performances because of the attendance policy. I think it [the new policy] will fail. There are countless number of people [students, parents, teachers] who think the new policy is pointless,” said Cheplic.         

Although some students don’t agree, the Deans of TA who played a major role in the creation of the new policy are definitely seeing an improvement of attendance across the board.

In a recent interview with Mrs. Roche, Dean of the Junior Class, and Mr. Tabor, Dean of the Freshman Class, the Dean’s both agreed that there has been a major improvement. But that’s not the only improvement the Deans have seen.

“When the new policy was introduced we had two goals in mind, better attendance and for students to have better academic success, and so far we have seen improvements in both,” Mrs. Roche said.

“We don’t have any official statistics, but we can definitely say that the new policy is working, just by taking the attendance for our own classes this year, we can see a huge difference between this year and last year, and there have been less tardiness among the students,” said Mr. Tabor.

Even though not everyone agrees with this new policy, it’s clear that there has been a rise in academic success and attendance among students. The faculty and staff are eager to see the outcome and if the changes have helped students rather than affect them negatively.

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One Response to Bringing Attention to Attendance

  1. Quan May 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Yo this is dope, it’s interesting that the students seem to think it’s wack, while the teachers are all about it.

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