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New school attendance policies emphasize importance of student presence

July 6, 2018 – Excelsior Springs High School and Middle School put forth a new attendance policy at the Board of Education Meeting, Monday, June 25.

The school board unanimously accepted the new policies, which work to curb unnecessary absences from students. For the high school, the attendance policy will not allow students missing nine or more days of school within a semester to receive credit for the course, said Principal John Newell. For the middle school, students can only miss eight days, said Principal Mark Bullimore. However, since the middle school level does not issue credits, to mitigate absences, those who reach their threshold of absences will go on academic probation. The expectation being they will meet the mandatory 90 percent attendance rate the following semester. If not, summer school becomes mandatory for those students. If the student does not attend the mandated summer school, retention may be considered.

Newell said the new policy builds upon successes while mitigating challenges for the 2018 – 2019 school year. Attendance continues to be one of those challenges at the High School, Newell said.

“We believe attendance is a critical component for success, and students need to be present for us to award credit,” Newell said.

He said the goal of the policy emphasizes the importance of attendance, not punishment.  Good attendance becomes more necessary as students leave high school to enter other academic or work-related arenas, he said.


Both Newell and Bullimore said the new policies will not penalize students who have genuine reasons for absences, such as medical issues. A student who misses more than their allotted absences due to medical or other extenuating circumstances will not lose credit because of these circumstances. An appeals committee, comprised of school staff, will be available for appeals. This committee will decide on whether credit will be received by a student.

From the recently adopted 2018 – 2019 ESHS Handbook.

School Board officials also discussed the switch from a 4.0 grade point system to a 100-point grade point system. This allows teachers to consider other factors, such as oral communication, written communication, collaboration and agency, which refers to soft skills such as timeliness in work completion. These components factor in along with academic knowledge, which comprises at least 80 percent of the students’ grades.

Other changes to the high school handbook include students continuing to keep their identification badges visible always. Entrance will only be allowed through the main entrance. No students will be allowed in the facility before 7 a.m. unless accompanied by a school sponsor. The School Resource Officer now handles all tobacco-related infractions. Lastly, no cell phones or earbuds will be allowed in the classroom unless being used for a classroom project.

By Samantha Kilgore •

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3 Responses to New school attendance policies emphasize importance of student presence

  1. Rachel Nafzinger Reply

    July 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    If you want the kids to be successful, gey rid of the idiotic block schedule you implemeted last year. Many of the kids had a problem figuring out what class to go to let alone absorb anything in the 25 minutes they were there. You want them there 90% of the time so you can get the money but you’re not teaching them while they are there.

    • Ms Foulk Reply

      July 22, 2018 at 12:39 am

      Completely agree!!…both my children had issues with the Spanish classes they are in….here’s the curriculum, now get on your iPads and teach yourself! That is not how teaching should be done…. take the block schedules away!

  2. Brian Densmore Reply

    August 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    This stupid policy is a complete violation of the rights of students and parents! It shows the district is more worried about having warm bodies in chairs than the educational instruction of the children in their care.

    It is only the next logical leap from the draconian policy of attendance tied to the ability of students to take AP classes. Purely punitive measures.

    Compounded with only teaching for the tests, and a complete lack of concern whether students attain knowledge of the subject matter of any class as long as they can pass the idiotic state tests.

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