High Absence Levels

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 22, 2017

    At our school I'm noticing really high absence levels where it seems like 3-4 students per class are gone for 2-4 weeks at a time for various reasons such as family travel, or "illnesses", or other things. And the students rotate, so it seems like at least 50% of my students have missed at least 3 weeks of school this semester in total. I think parents don't value education as highly in this community so they don't mind letting their kids stay home if they don't feel like going to school that day or taking them out of school for long periods of time for vacations and hunting trips, etc.

    My question is: should I care or not? It's ultimately the student's responsibility to get their make-up work if they've been gone for an extended time, and for that length of time, they should be in my classroom every lunch for AT LEAST one week. Most of them don't show up period, except maybe now that the semester is ending expecting to catch up on something that we covered months ago. Almost all of the students failing my class are failing because they were gone for like a month and never bothered to make up their missing work even though they check their grades and missing assignments at least twice a month (because they are forced to in their advisory class), and have 24/7 access to their grades and missing assignments at any time.

    I feel like absence rates here are endemic and maybe I should chase after these students and get them to turn in work, but I also feel like if I chase after them now that's just going to teach them to continue to wait till the last minute to catch up on missed work and continue to feel like they can miss large stretches of school with no consequence.

    Should I implement a policy where they can only make up work within a certain amount of time? (it would be hard for me to keep track of that though)

    What do you guys do if you have this many absences?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 22, 2017

    Is there not a district policy for makeup work? In my district, they have one day per day of abscence, excused abscenes only. I would defer to your principal if there is no set district policy. You want to make sure you will be backed up if you decide to implement your own policy.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 22, 2017

    Good idea. I've just looked through our official documents and I don't see any mentions of any official policy regarding this.
     
  5. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jan 22, 2017

    Also, what is your district policy with regard to truancy? In my state, parents may excuse children for 10 days; anything beyond that can be considered truancy. Both the parent and the student are taken to court. They can be fined, and the student can lose a number of privileges like driver's license, hunting license, etc. If the student continues to offend, the costs increase substantially.
     
  6. DobbyChatt

    DobbyChatt Rookie

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    Jan 22, 2017

    I too have chronic and unpredictable absences from students. I just make a note in the grade book that they missed an assignment, remind them whenever possible that they need to see me for the work, and document 1 phone call home if the grade is failing.

    After that, I don't worry because I have done my part.
     
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  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2017

    Same.

    My district has an incredible rate of absenteeism. While I do care, I can't throw all my energy into figuring out why a kid has been gone for a month or chasing him down to do his missing work when he returns. I do what is required of me, which is to call home at various intervals, notify the attendance office, and provide opportunities for make-up when the kid returns. If he expresses interest in actually doing that make-up work, I'll be 100% available to him. If not, oh well.
     
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  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2017

    My school is on a blended-learning model, so most of our students only come in two days a week. If they've missed the first one of their appointments, I call or email them. If they miss both, the call goes directly to the parents. Bear in mind, a high percentage of my students are 18 or older.
     
  9. DobbyChatt

    DobbyChatt Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2017

    One more thought from your post -- I do think it is a good idea to close the make-up window at some point, but I have not always been good about this. I usually close the window about 2 weeks before the end of the quarter (9 weeks). No amount of begging will get me to accept work after grades are posted for the quarter, although school policy technically says we can.
     
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  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 23, 2017

    Gotcha. I'm sure our district has some kind of absenteeism policy, but I don't have the time to research exactly how many days each student was absent and for what reason. I'll leave that to the attendance office.

    I think I'll tell them that no work is accepted past this week. (Semester ends next week)
     
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  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2017

    I allow two days for make up for each day a student has an EXCUSED absence. I don't allow this for unexcused absences, which included vacations. I'll set a reasonable time frame for a kid that is out for vacation, but if he is gone more than once, I'm not so generous. I am not required to allow any make up work for unexcused absences.

    I don't have the organizational skill or patience to track students down to get missing work. It is 100% on them, not me. Students with IEPs usually have a case manager that wants to come in three weeks after a due date and see if they can get make up work. Sometimes I'll cave to the pressure and give an assignment or two, but I figure it isn't fair to other kids that don't have case managers looking out for them, so I don't make it a habit.

    A child's education has to be a bigger priority to him and his family, than it is for the teacher. I have 150+ students to tend to - most parents only have 2 or 3.
     
  12. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2017

    I don't pay attention to how many days a student has been gone when considering whether to accept makeup work. If they were absent, and they turn it in, I'll generally give them credit for it. In my experience, there is rarely a time when I'll get a student turning in absent work more than a few days after they were absent. Either they do it in a timely manner, or they're not going to do it. For what it's worth, I teach elementary.
     
  13. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Jan 31, 2017

    I agree. I don't have time either to look up every excused or unexcused absence. Sometimes it takes parents several days to call in if they were sick. Also, I let students know they need to come to me to talk about making up work if they think their grade is in jeopardy.
     

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