December 18, 2013

School absenteeism still a problem

By Jerry W. Kram

Students will have one less opportunity to make up absences in the New Town School District.

For the last several years, students have had the opportunity to make up absences during the two week Christmas break. The New Town School Board voted not to hold the make up sessions this year, saying that students were being given the wrong message because of all the opportunities to make up lost time.

Superintendent Marc Bluestone said several times that he had no opinion one way or another on whether the district should offer the make up sessions. He said that there were more than 40 students who have missed 10 or more classes during the first semester of school, which means they get an automatic F in that class. Some students have already missed more than 30 days.

Bluestone noted that students have many opportunities to make up time that they missed. The school offers sessions before school, during lunch, after school three days a week and two weekend sessions a month for students to make up lost time. He did not think that dropping the Christmas sessions would prevent any student who wanted help from making up their lost time. He did note that most high schools expelled students for the quarter if they missed that many days, and New Town was one of the few that offered so many ways to keep the students in school.

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