The following message is from Broward County Council PTA/PTSA
- School Board Attendance Policy
At the school board workshop on February 24, it appeared that 6 out of the 9 board members want to move forward with an attendance policy that will academically penalize a student who has an unexcused absence.
The BCCPTA has taken a position on this issue which reads as follows
THE BROWARD COUNTY COUNCIL OF PTA’s/PTSA’S DOES NOT SUPPORT A POLICY THAT PENALIZES STUDENTS ACADEMICALLY FOR AN ABSENCE WHETHER IT IS EXCUSED OR UNEXCUSED AND DOES SUPPORT STANDARD BASED GRADING THAT IS BASED UPON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE, AND NOT BASED UPON BEHAVIOR OR ABSENCES.
THIS POSITION IS ALIGNED WITH FLORIDA STATUTE 1003.33 (SEE BELOW)
- Each district school board shall establish and publish policies requiring the content and regular issuance of student report cards for all elementary school, middle school, and high school students.These report cards must clearly depict and grade:
- The student’s academic performance in each class or course, which in grades 1 through 12 must be based upon examinations as well as written papers, class participation, and other academic performance criteria, and must include the student’s performance or nonperformance at his or her grade level.
- The student’s conduct and behavior.
- The student’s attendance, including absences and tardiness.
Reducing school absences is one of the most challenging matters facing schools. Prevailing policies that simply mandate attendance and spell out increasingly harsh punishments for unexcused absences fail to take into account the range of underlying causes of attendance problems and the range of prevention, early intervention, and ongoing support that might more effectively address the problems.
In addressing the problem, it is important to begin by exploring two questions: What factors lead to student absences? How can schools more effectively address the problem?
However, students who manifest learning, behavior, and/or emotional problems often have developed extremely negative perceptions of teachers, programs, and school in general. Any effort to re-engage these students must begin by recognizing such perceptions.
For motivated students it is often said that school attendance is both a right and a responsibility. Certainly, those of us who value education can readily agree with this. And, for students who are absent from school because of circumstances over which they have no control, society has to play a greater role in addressing barriers that are abridging their rights.
However, students who manifest learning, behavior, and/or emotional problems often have developed extremely negative perceptions of teachers, programs, and school in general. These students do not experience school as not right for them and, therefore, see school not as a right or a responsibility but as an infringement on their self-determination.
Therefore, addressing the problem requires strategies that are more psychologically sophisticated than the prevailing ones used by most schools and the society in general.
School attendance problems provide another indication of the need to move forward in new directions for student support.
We are requesting you to contact school board members whose emails are given below and let them know that students need support to meet their academic requirements and should be allowed to make up work whether they have an excused or unexcused absence for full credit and grade within a reasonable amount of time.
Please forward a copy of the email you send to Robert Mayersohn at GRfood@aol.com
PLEASE EMAIL YOUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS with the following message. You can either use the sample letter below or compose your own
As a member of the ________________PTA, I strongly believe that students need to attend school. Research demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between student attendance and academic success. However in an effort to support student achievement, when a student is absent, excused or unexcused, we believe that make up work should be provided.
Both the Palm Beach County School District and Clark County School District have policies that provide students with that opportunity. Additionally, we support a standard based grading system that bases achievement on academic criteria not on a student’s attendance record. Therefore students who have an unexcused absence should not face academic consequences, a position which is also aligned with Florida Statute 1003.33
I would appreciate your support.
School Board Members
Donna Korn , At large-county wide
Robin Bartleman, At large -countywide
Ann Murray, District 1
Patricia Good, District 2
Heather Brinkworth, District 3
Abby Freedman, District 4
Rosalind Osgood, District 5
Laurie Rich Levinson, District 6
Nora Rupert, District 7