At last night's Clay Community School Corporation's Board of Trustees meeting, school board members were presented with information about the stricter tardy and attendance pilot program at Northview High School during the spring semester.
"I've got some good news, and some more good news," Principal Jim Church said about the pilot programs designed to teach students responsibility.
Tardy Pilot Program
With stricter rules and punishments, the administration helped students be more aware of their time by playing a radio program over the intercom between periods for four and a half minutes, shutting it off 30 seconds before the final bell.
"When that radio shut off the students hurried to get to class," Church said. "We've cut down on the amount of lollygagging in the hallways."
Attendance Director George Gettle reported that there were 520 punishable tardies accumulated by students in the fall of 2004.
"What I've always heard from members of local industry is "Give me someone who'll show up, and show up on time," Church said of the huge problem in the adult workforce which many experts believe has roots in adolescence. The program cut the number of punishable tardies for the past semester down to 389. "We had to show the students that we take this very seriously. This tougher policy worked, and without a single complaint."
Attendance Pilot Program
"How can we teach them if they're not in school," Church said of the need to get students inside the building. The average attendance rate for schools in Indiana is 93 to 98 percent, and at NHS it was 94.9 percent in the fall.
The new pilot program was designed to be an incentive for students, especially the average student.
"The Academic Honors students do not cause problems, they're where they are supposed to be," Church said. "It's our average and below average students where the problems arise."
Students with at least a 2.0 grade point average and less than three days absence had the option of not taking final exams this spring.
"It was a motivating factor of whether to come to school when students felt sick," Church said. "It's a fact of life that we all deal with in the real world: We all go to work when we don't feel like it or just don't want to do it. Should we expect anything less from our students?"
The general attendance average with the pilot program this spring was 95.4 percent, up a half of a percent from last fall.
"This is the first time since I took this position three years ago where the spring numbers were better than the fall numbers," Gettle said. He reported that the greatest increase was in the senior class, who went from the fall attendance average of 93.9 percent to 95.8 percent in the spring. "In this case, we've won."
The school board unanimously agreed that the program should continue as a pilot program during the upcoming 2005/06 school year to finish working out the kinks.
"I believe that before implementing this as new policy throughout the corporation we need to nail it down first," Church said of the few problems that came up during the last semester. "We had a few issues, and a lot of questions that need answers, but it's working with unanimous support."