Photograph by Bryanna Morykan
The Stroudsburg Area School District has recently implemented a new school attendance policy to encourage school attendance. However, people are questioning why SASD’s policy for allowed “sick” days are much lower for students than the state’s requirement.
Pennsylvania’s state policy of attendance states that students are allowed to miss 18 school days, which is the equivalent of 10% of the school year. Stroudsburg Area School Districts (SASD) policy allows students to miss only 10 days.
The statewide average attendance rate is 85.4%, according to the Future Ready PA Index. SHS has an attendance rate of 77.4% which is 8% lower than the state average. The SASD administration is doing its best to improve its overall percentage rate.
Attendance affects the way a school is viewed on an academic level. Schools get a grade based upon how they perform and attendance is taken into strong consideration when being graded by the state.
There are also legal aspects when it comes to the new attendance policy.
“School attendance is critical, “said SHS principal Mr. Jeffrey Sodl. “If a student doesn’t show up to school for an extended period of time or if they don’t provide the school with a note for being absent, then courts have to be notified because of the laws that exist.”
The new attendance policy also affects how our schools gets funded. The more students that show up, the more funding the school receives.
The new attendance policy not only plays a vital role in how SHS gets rated by the state, but also how students perform academically. Attendance goes hand in hand with higher graduation and fewer dropouts.
“Besides just learning content, it’s a valuable experience being in class and absorbing knowledge,” said Sodl.
Missing school deprives students of the experiences needed to fully learn a topic. This endangers them of not performing well academically and getting behind in their studies. SHS provides services such as math lab and other tutoring. These offerings can help a student gain the information that was learned while they were absent. The new attendance policy hopes to encourage more students to take advantage of these resources.
“When I come back to school after being absent for more than one day I’m completely lost and often find myself asking friends for help or just going to math lab,” said sophomore Julia Deihl. “These programs help me understand, but they still don’t compare to what I would have learned in that class when I was gone.”
The new attendance policy not only affects the students, but the teachers, as well.
“When a student misses school, it creates double work for me because now I have to make sure that I have the work posted on Google Classroom, and I also need to make sure that I print out handouts for those who cannot access classroom,” said English teacher Ms. Jessica Appolo.
Still, it’s not all about grades and performance levels. Students with low school attendance miss the community and social aspect of a school environment, and the new attendance policy hopes to solve that issue.
“High school is about making memories that make school fun. Growing up I loved school and that’s why I never missed it. My parents valued education and I never missed more than 1-2 days of school a year,” said Sodl.
High school shapes students both socially and academically. It provides them with an opportunity to earn a proper education and allows them to socialize and make memories.