Greenport High School principal Leonard Skuggevik plans to improve attendance this school year by requiring students to make up class after school once they’ve exceeded more than five absences.
During Wednesday night’s regular school board meeting, Mr. Skuggevik gave a presentation detailing his new idea aimed at making sure students don’t fall behind with their studies. In the past, students made up work on their own time.
If students reach six absences from any class in a single quarter, he said they’ll now receive a maximum grade of 60 on their report card unless all absences over the fifth one are made up after school.
For example, Mr. Skuggevik said if a student has missed six days of school, he or she must separately make up each of their math, science, English, and social studies classes. The district provides extra help in those subjects after school Monday through Thursday.
Elective course makeups will be at the discretion of the teacher, he said.
“It’s not just get your work in,” Mr. Skuggevik said. “It’s coming to school; work with a teacher and ensure that we’ve got you where you need to be.”
Students will be banned from all after-school activities, sports, field trips and leaving school grounds for lunch until they make up their absences, he said. Students that miss a lot of school due to an illness are exempt from the new rule because they’ll receive home tutoring, Mr. Skuggevik said.
He said his plan was inspired by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Every Student Present program, which is a new public awareness campaign to help schools promote attendance.
Mr. Skuggevik said the first step in his plan is to meet with parents whose children had more than 20 absences last year. He said although his plan isn’t an official school policy, he will move forward with it this school year in order to deter excessive absences.
“When you have two or three of those a month, you very quickly get up to 18 [absences] in a year,” Mr. Skuggevik said. “When you get to that level, statistics are showing that it becomes very difficult to catch up.”