07 Oct

A Message from the Deans: Working Together to Manage Absences

After the early days of school and overnight trips in two grades, classes are really up and running in the middle school.  We hope that your children are enjoying their program –and we don’t want them to miss out on a moment of it!  Regular attendance is crucially important to education, and engagement in shared experiences such as assemblies helps to build and maintain community at school.  We at school, do recognize however, that some absences are unavoidable.

The process of planning, managing and catching up after unavoidable absences is more smoothly accomplished when we all work together effectively.  Our first objective in creating attendance records and procedures is to ensure students’ safety by keeping track of your children when they are on campus.  Our second objective is to try to reduce the burden that playing catch-up after planned absences places on both students and teachers.  In middle school we also want to help students learn how to take increasingly independent responsibility for effectively managing their learning and catch-up workload in the case of absence.

Procedures we hope parents will follow to help us help meet these objectives are detailed on pages 14-18 of the Middle School Handbook.  In a nutshell, the procedures are:

  1. Please call or e-mail MS attendance by 9 AM on the day of an unanticipated absence or tardiness to let us know your child will be absent for the day, arriving late, or leaving early.
  2. Students need to physically sign in and out at the attendance desk when arriving after 8:25 or when leaving early (before 3:20.)
  3. Please notify your class dean AND MS Attendance of any planned, full-day absence a week in advance so that we can work together to help your child manage.  It is also helpful to call ahead about planned part-day absences, although in such cases we generally expect students to discover and catch up on any missed work that same day by using the various forms of electronic communication with teachers.
  4. We discourage absences that extend vacations and long weekends because these are often wrap-up or kick-off days that are hard to make up, and students often miss culminating experiences that cannot be recreated.  Such absences are “absences without extensions” and require some special planning.

Please call your dean with any questions about the attendance policy or a planned absence.  Thank you for your help!