Tardy sweeps and detentions for tardies, as well as more frequent prizes for perfect attendance are all coming into play this quarter, and will likely be here to stay.
In past years, tardy sweeps involved an announcement over the loudspeaker, the locking of classroom doors and grouping of tardy students in one area to receive detention slips. The administrators, however, have decided to implement a new method this year that utilizes Infinite Campus.
“It’s more of an interruption because they were already late but now they’re at least five minutes later because they had to get their pass,” Schooler said. “Basically we’re just using the data online so if a teacher marks you tardy, we’re not going to call you out right then, but you’ll get an email [for detention] later if it’s a selected period. It’s still random, and we’re doing it periodically, so it’s not every tardy every day because we just can’t do that many,” Schooler said.
According to Schooler, the system is “not perfect” and provides a large amount of work by hand for the attendance office.
“The biggest challenge is that we haven’t yet figured out how to run an Infinite Campus report that makes it easy and quick. We thought that we were going to be able to run some really easy reports and send emails to students, but that wasn’t the case at all,” Schooler said. “We’re working right now with our IT department to see what they can do. If they can [figure out a solution], we can do more frequent tardy sweeps, so instead of once or twice a week it might be once a day because we can get the data that much faster.”
Another problem is caused by the greater amount of work taken on by the attendance office, which is an extension of the time it takes for students to receive their detention.
“It’s not as immediate, so by the time the detention email gets to the student it has been a day or two, so we’re trying to be clear about what days and times we’re talking about. It’s definitely not as perfect as getting slips out to students and hosting the detention.” Schooler said.
So far, there have been two tardy sweeps during third and fourth period, each of which resulted in 20-30 detentions.
“That’s actually a really small number when you think about the almost 3,000 students that we have on campus, and ideally, we will see it get lower,” Schooler said.
Senior Sasha Feuerstein was caught in the first tardy sweep after getting marked tardy for helping her upset friend. She then received a detention slip for it a week later.
According to Feuerstein, during the detention, all of the students in it had to fill out a
“I thought it was pretty dumb. The actual detention did nothing,” Feuerstein said. “The questions were all serious things on how we’re going to improve ourselves and why we’re such bad students, even though everyone in there probably had perfect attendance except for that one day.”
In addition to receiving the detention for the tardy, the attendance office called Feuerstein’s mother, according to Feuerstein.
“They do all this stuff that is just not needed for good students,” Feuerstein said. “I don’t have perfect attendance, but I have good attendance, so just the fact that you have a tardy is enough.”
Feuerstein believes that being caught in tardy sweeps “hurts people more than it helps,” because it is usually just a one-time occurrence for the tardy student.
“I don’t think that they need to have tardy sweeps. I just don’t think they do any good. I know a lot of people complain about them and being in it is just so pointless.” Feuerstein said.
The Ed Council, the attendance office and the administrative team, introduced all of these new measures after considering the number of tardies and how it became what Schooler describes as “a bit of a lackadaisical feel”, or laziness, among a lot of the students.
“Teachers had expressed some concern over the fact that students were just becoming less interested about being on time, so we were just looking for something that is both an incentive and a consequence,” Schooler said. “There were a lot of students that were just hanging out until the music played, kind of walking through the quad as the bell rang, and they were still 10-15 feet from class.”
Schooler hopes that students will try to get to class more often because they don’t want to be caught in a tardy sweep and get a detention.
“The goal isn’t to ruin students’ days with one lunch detention. It’s just to make sure there’s some accountability,” Schooler said. “If being late is worth 25 minutes of your lunch, then that’s your decision. But if you’re just walking slowly because you don’t really care to be on time or not, then hopefully realizing that you would end up sacrificing 25 minutes just so that you can walk slow to class is not worth it.”
Schooler believes that having consequences for tardies is similar to the benefit of having police on the freeway when she is driving.
“Just knowing that sometimes there’s going to be the risk of accountability helps deter you from making decisions that you might not otherwise want to make. For tardy sweeps, if you know you’re going to end up with a detention hopefully it will make you think twice,” Schooler said.
In the past, there have been rewards for perfect attendance given out to students at the end of the year. The rewards will still stay, but there will be additional small, weekly prizes, such as gift cards distributed to students with perfect attendance for that week.
“We don’t get every single kid in a tardy sweep because we only do them periodically, and we won’t give every kid a gift card because we have a limited number. The idea is to look for the students who are doing the right thing and give them a certificate when we can,” Schooler said.
According to Schooler, if they can get the system up and running smoothly, this new method of tardy sweeps, or at least something similar, will be implemented permanently.
“We just started it this quarter, so we’re trying to figure it out and make it work well so that next year we can run things like this consistently,” Schooler said. “We’ll make changes that need to be made, then run something for the whole year that is both accountable and fun.”