January 18, 2017

Attendance policy reaping benefits

BY ALYSSA MEIER
Editor
Washburn High School classes are staying consistently fuller this year, with school officials crediting the improvement to a new attendance-based testing policy put into place over the summer.
“If you take the current juniors and seniors… last year at semester time, those students had 1,011 total periods missed,” Superintendent Brad Rinas said. “This year, they’re at 455.”
Rinas said there may be some other factors affecting the 55 percent drop in absences, but he suspected the new policy was a significant component.
The new policy, which was approved by the board in August, allows juniors and seniors who meet grade and attendance standards to opt out of taking all but one semester test. Students would need an ending grade of an 85 percent (a high C) or above, and no more than three missed periods per class.
The policy counted both excused and unexcused absences as a missed period, with board members and teachers noting that parents often excuse any absence. Two tardies in one given class would also be equivalent to an absence.


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