Potential changes in works for school attendance policy
LINCOLNTON – The Policy Committee for the Lincoln County Board of Education reviewed a statute Monday, March 19, that could make significant changes to high school attendance rules.
Under the current attendance policy, students receive a failing grade for missing more than six class days – excused or unexcused – during a semester. Students are given the opportunity to get up to three of those missed days back through an attendance recovery program outside of regular class hours.
Students can also go through a faculty appeal process to earn credit.
A student services team will review appeals of students that have been sick or have extenuating circumstances and determine whether or not the absences are worth forgiving.
Under the new proposed policy, students could miss up to eight days instead of six before receiving a failing grade, but the attendance recovery program would be eliminated.
“On the surface, it looks like we’re giving them two extra days that they can miss,” said Elaine Boysworth, assistant superintendent of curriculum. “But we’re actually taking a day away by eliminating that program.”
The board will vote on the policy at its April meeting.
The policy committee also reviewed a waiver for a 180-day school calendar for the 2012-13 year.
A new state law initiated for 2011-12 said all schools were required to go 185 days, but Lincoln County was given a 180-day waiver in July in an effort to save money.
“With Lincoln County, we quite honestly felt like we needed to save some money and get some professional development for our teachers,” said Matt Stover, assistant superintendent of human resources. “We felt like this was going to be a good situation for our students and teachers.”
Like the 2011-12 year, Stover hopes for another waiver for 2012-13. Those five waived days would again serve as professional development days for teachers.
“I think (the state) heard loud and clear from the local budgets that the additional five days were a cost that we couldn’t endure at this time,” Stover said.
Stover hopes for a decision from state Superintendent June Atkinson by May.