Administration changes attendance system

New attendance codes include only present, tardy and absent. Students who show up to class later than 29 minutes into the hour are now marked absent.

New attendance codes include only present, tardy and absent. Students who show up to class later than 29 minutes into the hour are now marked absent.

Deacon Eberhardy, Reporter

Administration changes attendance system.

Berlin High School has made changes to their attendance standards effective Monday, Feb. 1. The changes are partly to streamline the attendance system.

“The (new) attendance codes are basically tardy, present, or absent, unless a parent calls in, and the other change would be that a student is classified absent if they do not make it to class by the 30th minute or thereafter, 29 minutes and under they would be classified as tardy, which is pretty lenient compared to other districts around us,” Assistant Principal Colleen Pariso said.

The changes were made to better align with state requirements, and to mirror the attendance systems of other schools.

“We really looked at other districts and tried to align with state statutes. The biggest thing was the different codes. We really simplified it down because in the states eyes, when we have to report student absences it does not matter what rhyme or reason. They get 10 by the state, but we are allowing 15 and then we would have a parent meeting,” Pariso said. “And then if attendance still becomes an issue after that, we start looking at, do we have to file to the county for additional support or things like that.” 

It might seem a little strange for attendance changes to come in the middle of the school year, however the school did have their reasons for the sudden change.

“We actually were going to wait until the trimester mark, but the middle school and Clay Lamberton Elementary decided nope let’s try to get this started and get going so we could work through the kinks right at the start of February,” Pariso said.

Part of the reason for the changes was to standardize the attendance system across the middle and high school.

“When I came into this position I quickly realized that attendance was a large issue and started working with the other buildings with what are the procedures that they had in place and all three buildings were a little bit different, so we started meeting and talking about creating this policy manual and what could we do for changes,” Pariso said.

The changes are also part of an initiative to reduce truancy rates within the school.

“Our current school year we are sitting at about 20%. Last year we were at about 25%, but that takes into account COVID, and then the previous years we were about 44% and 41%. We have fairly high rates,” Pariso said.

The attendance changes have affected some students like senior Tyler Kwidzinski who have large numbers of unexcused absences.

“I think (these changes) are good for Berlin, and a smart thing to do, but in my opinion I do not like it because obviously I have had truancy for it,” Kwidzinski said. 

It is important to remember that schools are not the only ones who care about attendance but also future employers.

“(Attendance) is one of the things (employers) may ask. If you use a teacher as a reference they may say did that student show up every day, and even if the workplace does not ask about it, I think getting into the habit of getting up, showing up on time is a skill that will last a lifetime, cause no employer wants anybody who shows up late continuously, or skips work/calls in continuously,” business education teacher Charles Thibodeaux said. “I think it’s a skill you should learn whether it matters to you or not.” 

These attendance changes come after a number of other changes to school scheduling and policies.

 “It is hard, I get it, and change is hard, but we need students here to learn and do their best, so how we can support them, that was the whole purpose for the change,” Pariso said.