New attendance policy established this semester


Madeline Mitchell

FHS changes attendance in hopes that students will learn the importance of attendance and timeliness. Students will receive disciplinary actions for tardies and absences.

Laney Hoggatt, Co Editor-in-Chief

The beginning of 2019 brought a revised attendance policy to the school. For the most part, the attendance policy stayed the same; however, there are some significant changes. The new changes in the school’s attendance policy include changes in the exemption requirements, the number of absences and tardies allowed per semester, and has given attendance control to the teachers instead of the administration. Earlier in the school year, the school board approved the FPS Board of Education Policy 5.7 which requires an attendance committee to be formed and review the school’s rules and procedures.

“The implementation of the new building attendance procedures is in response to an update to FPS Board of Education Policy 5.7 that was approved earlier this year,” Principal Dr. Jay Dostal said. “The new district policy called for an attendance committee to be assembled and to conduct a thorough review of our school’s practices and procedures.”

The attendance committee decided there was a much-needed change to the attendance policy and that the changes needed to happen as quickly as possible.

“The committee of teachers and administrators felt that we needed to update our building practices as soon as possible,” Dostal said. “Additionally, the committee members felt we needed to tighten up our attendance expectations and communicate them effectively to all stakeholders.”

The high school’s goal is to educate and prepare students for the future. The changes were made to help accomplish that goal. Dostal believes that attendance is the key to a student’s success both in school and the future and hopes that the new policy will teach students the importance of being at school and being on time.

“Fayetteville High School attendance rules have been developed to emphasize the importance of each student being in the classroom for the entire block, as well as arriving on time to school every day,” Dostal said. “Learning the responsibility of getting to class on time is an integral part of Fayetteville High School’s culture of being Respectful, Intentional, Safe, and Engaged (RISE), which prepares students for success.”

Absences and tardies are now a teacher’s responsibility rather than the administration’s. Teachers are now responsible for disciplining the students based on attendance. Additionally, teachers are allowed to decide if students can complete make-up work based on their absence (excused or unexcused).

Students who have nine or more excused and unexcused absences will be considered to have “excessive absences.” If a student has “excessive absences,” the parents or guardians will be notified, a plan will be made between the teacher, parent or guardian, and possibly a counselor and/or administration. Students now cannot be denied class credit due to absences. Their credit now is based upon grades.

Now, parents or guardians must notify the school within 48 hours in order to receive a parent contact for an attendance. Parents and guardians also can no longer call to check out students after 3:20 p.m. Guardians and parents must call the school in advance in order to check out a student for that time period.

The new tardy policy expects students to arrive to class on time. If students arrive between one minute to ten minutes after the tardy bell rings, the will be counted as tardy. If they arrive after the ten-minute mark, they can be counted as absent. Before the change, it was after 15 minutes. Students also will now have five tardies until they receive a consequence. For the first four tardies, teachers are expected to talk with the students about being on time. On the fifth tardy, teachers are expected to assign before or after school detention, Teacher Guided Study (TGS), Attendance Reflection Form or a Parent/Teacher/Student Conference. Once a student has six or more tardies, a behavior referral will be given to the administration.

The major change that has impacted students is the exemption rules. Students still need to have an 80 percent or higher and no failing grades in that class. There must be no disciplinary referrals or fines. The change to the exemption rules involves absences. Students cannot have more than 20 total absences of any kind. Also each class a student misses counts as one absence. For example, if a student is gone for a full day of school, they would have 4 absences. This means that students cannot miss more than five full days of school in order to exempt. Students must also remember that absences are counted with all their classes not just advisory and the class they want to exempt like it was before.

“[Students need to remember that] Final Exam exemptions are going to be tied to overall attendance and not just to individual classes,” Dostal said.

Class credit can now be obtained through credit recovery for students that receive an “F” or have “excessive absences.”

Finally, any student wishing to withdraw from FHS now must meet with their counselor who may invite an administrator, their teachers, and a special education case manager (SPED) or an English as a second language (ESL) case manager if needed.

“A primary goal of the Fayetteville Public Schools is to prepare students for successful transitions throughout life,” Dostal said.

The attendance policy was changed to help students be more prepared for their futures. FHS wants to make sure that students learn early the importance of punctuality. Dostal and other administrators believe that this new attendance policy will help students learn this.

“Regular school attendance is of the utmost importance during a student’s high school career,” Dostal said. “The world waiting for our students after high school demands that they be present and on-time to their work obligations.”

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