Lax attendance

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jen12, May 24, 2013.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 24, 2013

    I have some acquaintances who think nothing of dropping their daughter off late at school (first grade) or picking her up early to do lunch. In fact, they post pictures on Facebook: "Decided to skip school and stay in our pajamas today!" or "Left school early for a lunch date with Dad!"

    Am I wrong to think this sends a bad message? She's a good student, so I'm sure they think missing days or half days here and there will not affect her grades, but I think it will lead to problems in the future. If you don't send the message that school is important early on, you send the message that it is elective whether to attend or not.

    The things others do shouldn't bug me, but this one gets under my skin.
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    It drives me crazy when my students miss school for stuff like that. It has nothing to do with what kind of student they are. Whether they're the smartest in the class or the lowest, they're missing stuff when they're not there. Important stuff! Like if we're doing a writing piece and the kids have 3 days to draft before we move on to revising and a child is absent for two days because "we slept late" now they still need to finish drafting while everyone else is 2 days ahead of them.

    I had a girl absent the first 2 days this year. When she started on day 3 (which was a Monday) her grandmother informed me she didn't see any point in bringing her the first two days. Yep, no point in being there to learn all the rules and procedures. Ugh!
     
  4. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I've had students pulled out before the last week of school, because...what's the point of sending them during the last week?
     
  5. Lobo

    Lobo Rookie

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    We are adopting a new policy next year. Our students wear uniforms Mon-Thurs and then get dress down on Fridays.

    Next year, they have to "earn" their dress down by attendance. No absences, tardies or early check outs. Even if they are excused (i.e. a doctor's appointment), they will miss out on dress down for that week.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I like it. We don't have uniforms, but I tried to do something similar with my behavior system. Not present=no reward. Parents threw a fit and we had to change it :mad:
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Omg I love this! I want to try it at my school. Do the kids actually wear their uniforms now though? Hardly any in my school do. The school doesn't push it enough. I love this idea though.
     
  8. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I feel bad when that happens cause that's when they usually actually want to come and they miss out on some of the fun stuff. :(
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I had an honor roll student this year who missed 30+ days with no excuses, and he had over 40 late check-ins/early check-outs! According to district policy, he has failed 1st grade. His mom received notifications from the truancy office, probably 25 phone calls from me (in addition to the automated call any time they are absent), letters from me, I sent a copy of the district attendance policy - the principal even went to the house. Nothing changed! My P in considering waiving the failure, but she wants mom to have a shock first.
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    They should look into educational neglect. Very hard to prove but if the mom is making no response to all of those things that's what she deserves!

    I wish my school kept track of early pick ups. Some parents (luckily not any I've had to deal with) seem to think dismissal time is anywhere from 12:30-2:30.
     
  11. Lobo

    Lobo Rookie

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    May 25, 2013

    In the past, dress code has been lax because of our principal. However, we have a new principal next year and this earning dress down idea was done at her previous school and it worked great. She's much more strict about dress code.
     
  12. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    There is an elementary school in my district that will give students detentions if they get so many tardies. Apparently it has really helped, although I have mixed feelings about it.
     
  13. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I have a student this year who told the tutor that he won't be in school after June 1st because he is going to stay at his grandmother's for the summer. Apparently, summer begins on June 1st for this family.
    We go to school until June 13th!
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I don't really agree with this, since at the elementary level, it's the parents' fault usually. Let's give THEM detentions!! :lol:

    The lax attendance thing is my PET PEEVE. I've got a couple chronically tardy kids and a couple other absent whenever they feel like it kids and it drives me bonkers. The thing about first grade is that they are TOTALLY HONEST about why they weren't at school, and I always ask. "I fell and got mud on my uniform while we were walking to school and my mom didn't want to come back again after I changed." That was a favorite. While making our end of the year video, I realized that particular student is not in a lot of pictures - BECAUSE SHE WASN'T HERE!! :mad: I have another chronically tardy student who is very sensitive and very low. He has come 2 hours late and then started crying because he's so confused that we've already started work. SIGH. It just makes everything so choppy for them and for the rest of the class, it makes more work for me, it makes them fall behind...drives me NUTS!

    And I really believe it is setting a horrific example for the kids "Forget being responsible, just relax when you feel like it!" I'm pretty sure your kid's boss in the future is not going to hold that attitude...

    Missing school or going late was never an option in my house when I was a kid, unless I was sick of course.
     
  15. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Well TBVH, teachers overwhelmingly seem to write off this last portion of school themselves, so I don't see much value lost there (in the last week or two of school). And I try not to place an overemphasis on school matters, just because I'm in education. But even with that in mind, it grates on me too, when parents have a laxed attitude toward school. Having that laxed attitude is indicative of a laxed attitude toward their own work (i.e. their job). I think it sets a bad example, when work/school is seen as anything less than a serious responsibility.

    It is like people who waste in other regards (e.g. food). I have friends who say, "we don't eat leftovers at our house"... and will dump trays of food as a result! Or others who get food, and simply leave whatever they don't feel like finishing, on their plate! It shows very little appreciation.

    It is cliche, but people are out there starving. In the same way, many don't have access to education. To treat is as just some sort of avocation or diversion (to be blown-off) is hubristic and thoughtless.
     
  16. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I had to laugh at this. There is a line in Ferris Bueller's Day off that the sister has about her parents making her go to school even if she was bleeding out her eyes. I quote that all the time when my family talks about the "old days." My mom never let us stay home from school. I was the kid who got the perfect attendance award every single year in elementary school. I do remember going home once from High School because I was sick. There was certainly no staying home to spend the day at Disneyland or just staying home on a birthday like some of my students do.
     
  17. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    This is beautifully put. I may have to somehow use this sentiment in a classroom poster or a note home to parents at the beginning of the year someday.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm apparently in the minority on this one.

    When I was in junior high and high school, my mom used to let me take "mental health days" from time to time, maybe once or twice per year. Sometimes she'd take the day off with me and we'd spend a little time together. I cherished those days and I needed them at the time.

    I don't think that it would have been appropriate to take them in elementary school, though.
     
  19. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Same here. My mom didn't start doing this until my junior or senior year in high school, though. I don't think it affected me too much. I graduated magna cum laude from high school, and summa cum laude from college. If my child was not maintaining high grades, they would not be rewarded with a mental health day.

    We have a horrible attendance problem at our school. I can think of multiple students in our grade alone that have missed 30+ days of school. The courts do absolutely nothing, and all of the administration is really frustrated.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    There's a big difference between 1 or 2 mental health days and chronic lateness and absences because you overslept, you went to get your hair done, etc. etc.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sure there is, but that's not exactly what the OP was all about.
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oh, same here!!! The only time I remember being out for a few days was when I got chicken pox in 2nd grade.
     
  23. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    May 26, 2013

    Have you tried to contain 30 squirrelly children and actually teach them something important in the final 4-5 days of school? It is much more difficult than one would think! Add in field trips, field days, assemblies, guest speakers, class picnic, summer birthdays, etc. and it becomes much more difficult. Oh, and don't forget the heat. When it is 85 degrees and humid outside, it is even hotter inside a non-air conditioned brick building. Yep, keeping them focused is not easy! :dizzy:

    It is possible to do something educational though. The trick is to hook them with something different than what you have done all year. Well, that is if you can find time!
     
  24. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I understand what you are saying, however, in my district, I AM teaching until the last day. Right now, I have 3 different projects going on, which will be a grade on the report card. Think of it as final exams for 5th graders.;)
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I generally like the idea, but I really hate that it applies to all absences. Sorry kid, you got strep throat and chose to follow the school's health policy. For this, you don't get to dress down. Thanks for following the rules! For that you will not ear a privilege. To the kid that came to school sick, you get to dress down on Friday. Good job!
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Hard to prove educational neglect when the grades show honor roll status.
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dealing with excessive absences is a huge chore for teachers. It's nearly impossible to keep them caught up. Even when students are sick, the parent coming to school to pick up missed work just isn't the same. There is a reason we exist! Not that I fault parents for doing that, of course, I'm just saying it's difficult. When they're tardy constantly or miss for ridiculous reasons, it just makes it that much worse.

    Something that KEPT ME TICKED OFF one year was a teacher who had last period planning taking her child out of my last period class early a few days a week so she could leave early and avoid traffic. That kid missed a ton of instruction, practice, assessments, and so forth...and she didn't even go through the office to check him out. This was a teacher! Grrrr!
     
  28. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    When someone else's convenience starts to inconvenient ME, I start putting my foot down. I teach older students, so it is a bit easier, I admit.

    I can't stand it when parents want to get a head start on vacation and expect me to do extra work to get their child caught up. Or gather materials early and hope that we're exactly where I've planned, so the student can do everything while they're on the road driving. My new answer this year was "no." Nope, not going to guessimate and then have to redo later. Johnnie can get caught up when he returns. And HE can find out what he missed by looking at the lesson plans for the days he was out. If he needs a quiz, worksheet, rubric, whatever, he can see me during independent work or after class. And I most certainly am NOT going to stay after for a private tutoring session to make up for what he missed in direct instruction.
     
  29. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    If the child has excessive unexcused absences and the parent has been notified and done nothing about it then it is considered educational neglect. At least in NY there only needs to be "reasonable cause" that it will adversely effect the child's education. Even on the honor roll excessive absences cannot be good for the child's education. It's not easy to prove but it can be done.

    Half the problem is if school's aren't going to take excessive absences seriously an be firm with these parents then nothing is going to change.
     
  30. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    It's the worst when they miss assessment. Because they HAVE to make them up and then you have the choice of either having them miss something else do them or having them up during your lunch or prep to work on them.
     
  31. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    From a MS perspective - it really burns me up when a kid misses school because their parent took them to a midnight movie.

    It burns me up when a kid is constantly missing school - not because of illness - and the parent doesn't understand why the kid isn't doing well. Whelp. Sure I can give makeup work, but if your kid missed all of the instruction and can't ever stay after for extra help, I'm not sure how to catch hem up while still teaching my regular schedule.

    And I hate it when they take a long vacation during the school year and want three weeks of work ahead of time. Yes, I know some parents don't get to choose when they can vacation, but still.

    I'm going to stop ranting now.
     
  32. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    YES, THIS!! I have a few kids who seem to be chronically absent on Fridays. We give at least 3 tests every Friday in first grade. Now, tests in first grade must be read to them, so I have to use my TA (who I have an hour a day) to read the tests to these kids. This means I can no longer use my TA to provide instruction or intervention to the other kids in the class, which means the other kids suffer. It really drives me nuts, but there is NO way I'm giving up my recess or lunch, since my planning periods are infrequent and sometimes nonexistent, to give a make up test. Sorry.

    YES! THIS! I teach on a year round calendar this year (going to traditional next year, hooray!), so we have breaks throughout the year. One of my students was on vacation for TWO WEEKS...two weeks before our month-long off track time. I mean..REALLY?! You couldn't have delayed that vacation until we were off track??? It just frustrated me so much.
     
  33. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    This seems like the kind of situation where the parents would just complain to admin and you'd be told to do it anyway. Did they back up your policy?
     
  34. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    What could they complain about? That I put the responsbility of getting missed material on the students' shoulders?

    Yes, my adminstration backs it 100%.

    Again, I teach older students. I have 5-10 kids tardy or absent each day. While parents would love for me to cater to their children, it is an unreasonable request.
     
  35. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Ugh, can I come work with you? :lol:
     
  36. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    We have had a horrible attendance problem this year. Parents just not bringing their kids for whatever crazy reason. Our principal decided to be able to do some of our fun things at the end of the year the kids had to have 90% attendance for the last six weeks. Sounds good on paper until you get kids who can't do these fun things and parents are ticked off and then the principal backs down and says well if you can bring us a note then your child can do the fun things. I know my principal has had a VERY rough year, especially the last few weeks and she is tired of parents. I'm kind of frustrated that we can't up hold these rules she put out there. Thank goodness it's over in 7 1/2 days!!!!
     

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