Report cards to include attendance

For the first time ever, report cards will come with an attendance report this quarter. The report will show tardies, excused and unexcused absences by class. 

The attendance addition came about after Attendance Coordinator J. Gabriel Preciado noticed that between its sophomore and senior years, the class of 2007’s number of missed classes almost doubled, from 8,874 to 15,731. 

There was also a 13 percent spike in the total number of missed classes between the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years. Preciado presented these findings at the final Faculty Academic Committee meeting of the 2006-2007 school year.     

Preciado has considered adding attendance to report cards before, but only recently with the implementation of the Didax server did his idea become a realistic possibility.

Preciado believes that attendance has a lot to do with grades, and that without a reminder, students and parents do not realize how much school they have missed. 

Having attendance on the same page as grades lets everyone know the impact and is especially “beneficial for parents to know,” Preciado said. The addition of the attendance report to report cards was approved by FAC on Sept. 11.

The only remaining stumbling block was surmounted last week when Alan Homan of Didax was able to appease Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra’s request and get the attendance record to fit on the same page as grades. 

“In an effort to keep upper school students and parents current with the recorded attendance information we will include a chart, similar to the one attached, with each report mailed home,” Salamandra said. “This procedure will be reevaluated at the end of the year to measure its effectiveness.”

Preciado thinks that teachers should be more understanding about tardies considering the lack of synchronization of the campus clocks. 

He is much more concerned with the rising absences.  To help monitor absences, Preciado spoke to the faculty before the year started and told them to be vigilant about keeping track of attendance in their classes and turning the attendance reports in on time. 

To ward against human error, Didax has a mechanism where the server sends out an e-mail to a teacher when its attendance report conflicts with Preciado’s list of absent students. 

However, if teachers do not turn in their attendance reports on time, Didax does not recognize the inconsistency and no correcting e-mail is sent out.   

Preciado has also changed the detention system this year to attempt to curb absences.  Now students must correct an unexcused absence within two days. 

The cut list has been eliminated, so after that two-day period expires, the absence immediately becomes a detention. Detention will take place after school again, after a one-year switch to detention during activities period.