Dear Maine South Families,
Hopefully, you all had a great winter break! I’m writing you this special letter to share updates in our attendance policies and internal building procedures. Recently, we have seen a significant increase in students missing full days of school, cutting individual classes, and being late to class. Being present and on time for class are crucial to learning and also essential habits for future careers. Students who attend class and show up on time have significantly higher grades, better opportunities for positive relationships with their peers and teachers, and ultimately more agency for their future work. Our teachers work extremely hard to build positive classroom environments and design rich learning experiences. Teachers’ ultimate goal is to set up your students for their future success.
Attendance also is a metric that is reported to the Illinois State Board of Education and impacts our state designation because of its importance on the learning environment. We are sharing these changes with the hope that you’ll partner with us to improve student attendance so that Maine South continues to be a great high school. All changes below go into effect on Monday, February 3rd, 2020.
Students with unexcused absences automatically receive an “NY” (Not Yet) for an assessment missed. They have the opportunity to request to make up the missed assessment (along with whatever makeup protocol that specific course calls for) but they are ineligible for a retake. If the student misses formative assignments for an unexcused absence, that work may be completed without penalty. Students are encouraged to request these assignments from their teachers.
As a reminder, the state approved reasons for excused absences are:
- Student Illness
- Death in the immediate family
- Observance of a religious holiday
- Family emergency
- Situations beyond the control of the student, as determined by the administration such as hospitalization, for which the school receives timely, specific documentation
- Circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent for the physical, mental or emotional health or safety of the student
Parents have 24 hours to call into their student’s student service team attendance number to excuse the absence.
Vacations, college visits, dentist appointments, and orthodontist appointments are all considered unexcused as previously outlined in the student handbook. These absences will be changed to excused only if appropriate documentation is submitted within 48 hours of the absence.
Universal Window for Completing Work from Absences
All missed work (unexcused and excused) must be turned in and completed two school days after the missed class to receive credit. Otherwise, the grade for work missed and not completed is a NO (a grading code that equates to a 40% in the gradebook). In situations with extended excused absences (for illness or family emergency), students are encouraged to communicate with their teachers.
Tardies (late to class)
Students will be tardy if they come to class within the first 10 minutes without a pass. After 10 minutes, students will be absent unexcused, even if they come to a portion of the class. The tardy time limit used to be 20 minutes.
With the advent of construction in March, it’s critical that safety remains our number one priority. Currently, students can work quietly in the hallways when they’re not in class. Starting on February 3rd, we’ll have designated locations for students to work quietly. This will help us quickly determine when people are in the wrong location of the building. We have been working hard with the construction company to continue improving our safety measures. Specific locations will be emailed and verbally told to the students over the announcements.
We will also be including attendance metrics on the Hawk Squawk to bring more awareness to this important issue. You can view your student’s attendance on the Infinite Campus portal. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. Thank you and Go Hawks!
Ben Collins Ed.D.
Principal, Maine South High School