THS attendance policy wins approval
A new attendance policy at Tonganoxie High School officially is in place.
At an Aug. 22 special school board meeting, the board approved an attendance policy, presented by THS principal Jamie Carlisle.
The policy states that students are allowed 10 absences per semester, whether they be excused or unexcused.
Any absences that exceed that limit would mean a student's credits for that semester would be denied. However, the student and the student's parents may appeal to an attendance committee.
Carlisle also stressed that the 10 absences are per class period.
For instance, if a student is absent for a doctor's appointment during first period one day and is absent because of another appointment the next day during fifth period, the student would not have two days of absences. Instead, it would count as one absent day for the first period and one absent day for the fifth period.
"Excused or unexcused, we don't differentiate anymore," Carlisle said.
The 10 absences are to accommodate personal illness, appointments that can't be scheduled outside the school day and serious personal or family problems, Carlisle said.
Here are the exceptions to the policy:
- Students participating in school-sponsored trips, events and activities counted as school activities are not counted absent.
- Absences of three days for the death of an immediate family member or one day for the death of other relatives are exempt.
- Dual credit courses will follow the Kansas City Kansas Community College attendance policy.
- Students who feel exceptional or unique circumstances exist may appeal to the administration and then to the attendance review committee.
Finals and exemption policy
Carlisle also touched on the finals and exemption policy. Students are required, in all classes in which they're enrolled, to take final exams, unless they meet exemption requirements in periods 1-4 or 5-7:
- Three absences and an A average.
- Two absences and a B average.
- One absence and a C average.
To be exempt from any finals, students must not have any detentions. Also, they must be free of any in-school suspensions or out-of-school suspensions during the semester.
If a student misses a class for a high school function or bereavement for an immediate family member, absences will not count toward the final exemption policy.
And, the policy does not apply to classes taken for dual credits through KCKCC.
"It's a very powerful policy," Carlisle explained. "Discipline, doing the right things, getting good grades."
He also mentioned that the policy has brought about several phone calls from parents.
"I've been inundated," Carlisle said. "Parents are wearing me out by these policies.
"I tell you, that's a great thing. They're concerned. They want to make sure they do the right things."
Cell phones and electronic devices
Carlisle also reported on a policy change with cell phone and electronic device use.
Previously, the school's policy required that cell phones and electronic devices be kept in students' bookbags, lockers or vehicles and not be used at any time during the school day.
Under the new plan, students are allowed to carry them to class, as long as they are turned off, or silent, during class time.
Carlisle said teachers remind students before classes to turn off their cell phones.
"We're in the day and age right now where we should be doing this," Carlisle said.
There is not a cell phone policy during lunch, but Carlisle noted that he hadn't heard a cell phone ring in the lunch room since the school first did a test run on the policy.