Making up for lost time

Students and administration deal with first semester absences

Students+had+to+fill+out+forms+like+this+one+to+receive+credit+for+make+up+hours.+Photo+by+Bryce+Tuck.+

Students had to fill out forms like this one to receive credit for make up hours. Photo by Bryce Tuck.

Josh Phongsavath

As the first semester was coming to an end, students with excessive absences rushed to get their make up hours in order to receive credit in their classes.

The EMSISD Student Handbook and Code of Conduct says that to receive credit or a final grade in a class, a student must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.

Assistant Principal David Stubbs said students probably don’t know what the policy is.

“It’s in the Student Code of Conduct, but I don’t know if they take that initiative to read that or not. We try to inform as much as possible,” Stubbs said.

Administrators may excuse absences for several reasons sited in the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct. These reasons include religious holy days, required court appearances and for juniors and seniors two college visit days. If the administrator excuses the absences they do not count against the student’s course credits, but excusing absences is decided on an individual basis. In extreme cases, the student’s case may be presented to an attendance committee.

Failure to meet the attendance requirements results in having to make up the time missed, and the options are limited.

“We don’t do Saturday school; we don’t do detentions for make up hours. We require students to go to tutoring and they have to keep a log with their tutoring,” said Stubbs.

Teachers are required to sign off the log in order for the student to receive credit for tutoring time.

“I’ve had students who would come in for an hour everyday for a week or sometimes two weeks,” said French teacher Katherine Holt. “So, I just make myself available to them.”

Holt said she believes the make up system may be ineffective.

“Yeah, they do come in and they make up those hours, but they’re not in class, Holt said.  “They’re not learning; and they’re not in the whole learning environment.”

Students like juniors Emily Galvan and Rachel Kelton-Kringle don’t necessarily think the make up hours system works, either, but they don’t think missing school has effected their learning.

Galvan said she may have absences for her illnesses, but she takes care of her work.

“I don’t have anything to make up. I have all A’s and B’s and for most kids, they miss stuff and they don’t make up those things,” Galvan said.

Kelton-Kringle said make up hour tutorials weren’t necessarily helping her.

“Kind of, but not really because if we already know what they’re teaching why do we have to show up,” Kelton-Kringle said.

Stubbs said he wasn’t sure if attendance has been any better or worse than last year.

“It seems like we’re doing more with it, but it’s hard to say because we have 550 more students,” he said.

Stubbs stressed the importance of attendance.

“But we don’t want kids to lose their credits; we want kids to be here to make it up,” Stubbs said. “Plus, if you’re absent, you’re missing instruction. And when you’re missing instruction, it’s going to be that much harder to make a good grade.”

Kelton-Kringle wished she could’ve done something differently.

“If I could start over, like this year, I’d show up a lot more often cause making up hours isn’t fun,” Kelton-Kringle said.