Student attendance: the decrease during first semester

Taylor Kuelthau, In-depth Editor

After reflecting back on the first semester, it has been announced that the student attendance has decreased. Now that second semester has begun, administrators have been focusing on informing students on the importance of being present in their classes.  In hopes that this will encourage more students to come to school, emails have been sent out to the community regarding the recent attendance issue.

Though the second semester didn’t begin until Jan. 4, an email regarding school attendance was sent out Jan. 1, 2023 from Kelly Zuerner, Associate Principal for Staff and Students.  This email consisted of two things: an explanation of how attendance is essential and a list of how to correctly deal with excused and unexcused absences.

I have noticed that the second semester has been quieter in terms of being called out.  We do see trends such as more students being called out around holiday breaks, and most recently when we had MLK day off,” Administrative Assistant Jenn Murdock said, who works in the attendance office.

In many cases, the number of student absences can be caused by the term “senioritis.”  This term typically refers to seniors getting tired of coming to school and completing their homework because they have already applied to the colleges that they are interested in.

“Since I’ve already gotten into the college I want to go to, I’m less motivated to continue doing my work at my full potential this year,” senior Maddie Maci said.

The decline in student attendance has been caused by the same people rather than a large majority.  The same individuals are seen missing school, arriving late, or leaving early.  Furthermore, most absences throughout the week occur during first period.

“As administrators, we try to focus on the ones whose grades are getting hurt by their absences.  The Deans focus on the students who have D’s and F’s from being absent,” Zuerner said. 

Though the deans are the ones who pay the most attention to who is falling behind from missing school, counselors are also worried that being absent from class will continue to have an adverse effect on the students that they see.  

I am concerned to see that students are not necessarily attending school regularly because I believe in the benefits of engaging in a predictable routine,” School Counselor Nicole Gibson said.  “When students aren’t at school, it’s easy to just sort of “check out.”

With the new block schedule this year, it’s more common for students to leave during their off periods and then return back when they have a class.  However, some students will leave during their off periods and remain home for the rest of the school day.

“Being with friends, talking with teachers, and participating in activities throughout the day is a buffer to some of the negative and addictive qualities of technology and social media in particular,” Gibson said.

After acknowledging and sending out an email to the school community about the importance of attendance, the administration staff is hopeful for a positive outcome in student attendance this semester. 

“Even though it’s becoming hard to be at school because I’m anxious for summer and college, I still believe it’s important to go to my classes so I can stay on track all the way until graduation,” senior Nora Curran said.