RCS Adopts New Attendance Policy

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Photo by: Lizzy Botkin

Yellow attendance passes will become less frequent throughout the school with the new attendance policy.

Lizzy Botkin, News Editor

Rochester Adams students will no longer have to live in fear of a reduced grade while off on vacation or sick at home. As of second semester, high schools throughout Rochester have adopted a new attendance policy.

After a series of meetings between the Grading and Attendance Committees, the committee members came to a consensus that punishing students for absences was not beneficial.  In place of the old attendance policy, Rochester high schools have adopted a temporary incentive- based policy.

The attendance committee thought students’ grades should be based on what they learn in class, not their attendance rate, so lowering grades based on bad attendance would be detrimental.  The new incentive for good attendance is exemption from all exams.

“Other incentives suggested for good attendance in the future may include parking permits, off campus lunch, and other privileges,” said Adams Principal Kevin Cumming, a member of the Attendance Committee.

With the new policy in place at the start of the second semester, a myriad of rules must be met to fit the criteria for the exam incentive.  To be exempted from exams, students cannot have more than three absences in any class. Students with three or fewer absences still have the option to take their exams, but it will not be counted if it negatively affects the student’s grade.

Students who have a minimum grade of 77 percent, regardless of missing assignments, or 65 percent with no missing assignments are eligible for the incentive as long as they still have no more than three absences.  If students have more than three absences in any one class, they will be forced to take all of their exams. Second semester suspensions eliminates students from the incentive.

“I think it’s good that it encourages kids to come to school, but I think the exam incentive should be based more on a student’s grades,” said junior Nicole Kim.

With the previous attendance policy, absences accompanied by a doctor’s note were nullified.  This semester, almost all absences are not excused, including sickness and chronic illnesses accompanied by a doctor’s note.

“This is an incentive policy and taking exams is not a punishment. If students have attendance problems due to health issues, they will need to prepare to take the final exams in their classes,” said Cumming.

At the start of the second semester, such exempted absences will not be accepted.  Absences related to anything other than school related activities, such as field trips and sporting games, will be counted.  The only other absences that may be exempted are court appointments.

“I like that I won’t have to take a final exam, but I don’t like the fact that there’s no excused absences. If you’re really sick and in the hospital or on a college visit, they don’t let you get away way with that,” said junior Taylor Spencer.

This semester will run as a trial period for the new policy; next year, changes may be made to the policy, or it may even be scrapped, causing schools to revert back to their original policies.

“The three high schools will be gathering data and feedback during the second semester as we implement this new incentive policy. If any changes are needed, we will make the necessary changes for next school year,” said Cumming.