Administration begins to further enforce pass policy

GLCs look for those without passes

Yonah Davis

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Yonit Krebs

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Grace Farley

Students walk in hallway during passing time. New enforcement of hall pass system forces students to ensure timely arrival at all their classes.

A loudspeaker announcement Monday morning informed students that new measures will be enforced regarding attendance.

“GLCs will be sweeping the hallways for students without a pass. If you are in the hallway without the GLC will escort you to ISS to make a call home. You will then be expected to return to class,” the announcement said.

Assistant Principal Kari Schwietering said student attendance remains an ongoing conversation since the beginning of her time at Park. She said these new measures, pioneered by the Grade Level Coordinators (GLCs), will enforce the current expectation for students to have passes in the hallways during class time.

“Nothing changed in the sense that we’re asking and requiring for students to have passes in the hallway and our emphasis is that we are piloting a new level of staff accountability,” Schwietering said.

Sophomore Krishana Spencer said she believes this policy won’t be effective and will discourage more students from attending class. Spencer said she thinks since the 10 minute absence policy was changed to five minutes at the beginning of second semester, more students don’t attend class at all.  

“People are just going to find another way to get out of class,” Spencer said.

According to Schwietering, the first time a student is caught without a pass, they will make a call home, the second time, a student will receive ISS lunch, and if a student is caught a third time, the next steps will be adjusted for the situation of the particular student.

“This is just something that we decided to try. It came out of feedback that we had gotten from other teachers, from other schools and from teachers that had seen it work successfully in other schools and also from research that we had done with different teachers and committees that had come together to try and look at different ways to address attendance concerns,” Schwietering said.

Schwietering said other measures were taken previously to try and address the problem of student attendance however, these measures are no longer used.

“There’s been an appeal process that once you missed five classes, you would have to appeal to actually earn a credit in the class, but we went away from that a few years ago,” Schwietering said. “We used to do things where it would impact your grade and if you had so many unexcused absences it would deduct from your grade. There’s been a no pass list, so students who had unexcused absences would go on a list of students who couldn’t get passes.”

Sophomore Maranda Hoogenraad said that although she agrees that being in class is crucial, she thinks this enforcement will unreasonably target students whose teachers don’t have passes and will place a teacher’s responsibility for a pass on the student.

“People are skipping classes and it has a direct correlation between the people who show up to class and people who get better grades,” Hoogenraad said.

According to Schwietering the emphasis will be placed on making sure that everyone is working together to achieve better attendance. She said this means students, teachers and GLCs will all be held accountable.

“It’s not just about students, it’s about everybody. We all need to hold each other accountable,” Schwietering said. “As a teacher, I need and want my students to be in my class and so if I am making a decision that I’m going to allow a student out of my class, I need to be making sure that I’m writing them a pass and holding them and myself accountable.”

Schwietering said the high school focuses on  attendance  because it remains essential for students’ academic success, and that is why the school enforces these new measures.

“I think that the biggest indication of academic success is being in your class. Being in your class is the first step to success,” Schwietering said. “So I hope that (the measure) has the outcome we are hoping for, which is that students will be in their class more.”