Editor’s Note: A partial version of this article appeared in Monday’s newspaper, but was cut off due to an error. A full and revised edition appears here.
Students will be allowed more absences, but those miss who too many classes in Lincoln County starting next fall will no longer be able to make up the time at their leisure.
The Board of Education recently revised its attendance policy in the hopes of getting students to make up missed work sooner and faster while keeping the attendance rate high.
At last month’s meeting, board members approved a plan that will allow students to miss eight days per semester, excused or not, before failing a course, rather than the current six.
This may sound like two extra freebies, but there’s a catch.
There will no longer be a recovery program available for students to make up missed days according to the new plan, which was put into motion based on administrators’ feedback, Superintendent Sherry Hoyle told the Times-News.
The attendance recovery program was the biggest area of concern for school officials, who said many students weren’t able to participate in the program anyway, due to schedule conflicts or transportation issues, Hoyle said.
Lincolnton High School Principal Tony Worley is optimistic about the changes to the policy and the effects it will have on the students and how often they are missing classes.
High school students are now in classes for 90 minutes each day, rather than the previous 45-53 minutes they used to spend in courses. So when a student misses even one class, there could be quite a bit of information that they won’t be learning.
“When the kids miss these 90-minute classes, they are missing out on so much material,” Worley said.
“I think a strict attendance policy will keep our attendance high and without attendance, the kids won’t be getting the education they need; goal is to have the kids learning the entire 90 minutes.”
As the attendance policy used to stand, students who missed a class would make up the time by staying after or going in before school.
After the 90-minute class periods were made up, students were able to recover up to three unexcused absences a semester.
Hoyle reported that school administrators felt having the two extra days off would be more beneficial to the students than the recovery option.
However, high school faculty members are also working on decreasing the amount of time students are missing from schools; Lincoln County has an “A” in attendance, with a daily average rate of 95 percent.
Students have been missing classes and making them up through the recovery program, but haven’t always punctual about getting it done, Worley said.
“The ideal situation is for the student to return to school and get caught back up within a 5-day period,” Worley said.
“The closer the student makes up his or her work to the time they missed, the better it is for them and their instructors.”
This isn’t a black-and-white issue, however, and will be evaluated on a per-situation basis.
Students missing more than the allotted time can make an appeal to a faculty committee, which is selected by the principal.
The committee takes into consideration other factors, such as academic achievements and why a student was absent.