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Published on October 3rd, 2017 | by Anastasia Shakhidzhanova

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Revised attendance policy welcomes students to new year

Samo students were heralded into the 17-18 school year by a more strict and better enforced attendance policy, that administrators hope will emphasize to students the correlation between attendance and achievement..

“The school hopes to increase attendance so students can get a good education. Also, we hope to lower the tardy rate so that students can be in class learning rather than wandering the hallways causing trouble,” S house principal Dr. Hector Medrano said.

According to Medrano, the administrator who helped develop the new policy, students are not allowed more than 120 unexcused period absences over the course of their four years at Samo. If at any time a student has more than 10 unexcused period absences, their lunch pass will be taken away, and those students will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities, until they work off their absences. Ultimately, if by the end of senior year a student has more than 120 unexcused absences, they will not be able to walk the graduation stage, and they will receive their diploma in private. Any absences from last year or the years before, as well as the first two weeks of this year, which were a grace period, will not count toward the 120 cumulative.

Additionally, the school will start enforcing the tardy policy for all grades more vigilantly. If a student arrives to class three times, fewer than 30 minutes late, that will count as one period absence. If a student arrives late by 30 minutes or more, that one tardy will count as one absence for the period. If a student reaches 15 tardies, their lunch pass will be taken away, and they will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities until they work them off.

“I feel like it is too easy to make up absences. My struggle with my students is tardies. I hope students know that teachers are expected to contact a parent after the student’s first several tardies, and after that, the guidance counselors will take over. Tardies are such an easy thing to fix,” said social studies teacher, Margaret Colburn.

Samo has also made it so that students may work off unexcused absences by either attending the reinvented Super Saturday or by being a tutor. Students are encouraged to ask their advisors for details about these opportunities. There is no time limit in which students must work off their absences, until of course graduation. Going to Super Saturday or tutoring will not show on students’ records when applying to colleges or elsewhere; it is purely for Samo to keep track of attendance.

Administrators advise that students be diligent about clearing their absences. This can be done in several different ways. A parent or legal guardian can call the student’s house office or counselor before or after the absence, deliver a note signed by a parent or legal guardian  to the house office, email house assistant or counselor, or come in person to the house office.

Clearing any absence must be done within five days or it will be marked as unexcused. If a student is leaving school early and their parent or legal guardian has contacted the house assistant, those absences are cleared automatically and students do not need to do anything about them. Additionally, a parent or legal guardian can only excuse a student five times for illness. After, students must get a doctor’s note every time they are sick. Many tardies can be excused. If a student is late to a period for a valid reason, before they enter the class, they need to see their house office and get a detain.

Administration encourages students to constantly check the ‘attendance’ tab on Illuminate to ensure that their attendance record is correct.

For any further questions about the attendance policy, students are encouraged to stop by Dr. Medrano’s office.

“At the end of the day, the only real way I feel that the attendance at Samo will change, is if the culture of skipping school and ditching class changes. If seniors take the responsibility to better their attendance, freshmen will rise up with no habits of being tardy or skipping class, and that is really what will change Samo,” said Colburn.

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