The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

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  • November 29Blue Ridge Virginia Governor's School applications are due Fri. Dec. 8.
  • November 20Auditions for the spring play, Alice in Wonderland, start Dec. 4. See Mr. Edgerton or Ms. Coleman for more information.
  • November 20Seniors! Jostens will be at lunches on Tues. Dec. 5 as a make-up order day for graduation items.
  • November 20Allison Monfalcone received a "Best Actor" award and Kyle Landes received an Honorable Mention at the One Act Regionals Competition on Nov. 18.
The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Photo Courtesy of Maddi Owen
Student signs in at FCHS attendance office.

FCHS Promotes Attendance Awareness

Students and parents who may have considered school attendance optional the last few years may be in for a surprise this school year at FCHS. This has made many students, and even some staff, curious as to what provoked the attendance push.

For example, within the first week of school during the new Fluco WIN study hall time, teachers were encouraged to explain the new attendance policy and share how critical being present will be this school year. Students were informed that if they have too many unexplained absences or tardies, it could eventually result in a referral to social workers or even a juvenile and domestic relations court. This push for attendance is not unique to Fluvanna, but reflects a state-wide effort.

According to the Washington Post, “For the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, schools in Virginia will be graded on whether students are coming to school.” The April 23 article also notes that “In Virginia, chronically absent students are defined as those who miss 10 percent or more of the school year, which typically measures out to missing 18 or more days. During the pandemic, the state suspended using a school’s chronic absenteeism rate as a factor in measuring school performance.”

As a result, the Virginia Board of Education voted last spring to once again consider the percentage of chronic absenteeism in a school when determining whether that school should be accredited. According to NPR, chronic absenteeism has doubled nationwide since the pandemic, so schools like Fluvanna have been working to change that.

One way that FCHS has done this is by informing parents of the new policy, sending home flyers encouraging them to make sure their children are off to school on time. Parents have been encouraged to utilize the school bus system to help make sure students arrive on time, to set a regular bedtime schedule and morning routine, and to wake their children up early enough so they aren’t late to school.

Materials made available to local parents show how missing only 10 minutes per day can turn into 50 minutes of lost school time per week. Yet another example of the negative impact of missing even small amounts of school is that missing two to three days each month will add up to missing 10% of a school year, something that can mean the difference between being able to graduate or not.

“We as a school district have realized [chronic absenteeism] is a problem, and we want to do our best to solve this,” said Assistant Principal Chad White. “It’s a growing Issue every year. We want to be proactive before it gets worse,” he added.

Students who miss significant amounts of school time without cause may be considered truant and referred to juvenile courts. However, even students who have been missing even smaller amounts of school time with no effect in the last few years will see a difference in the new policy.

Consequences are as follows:

  • Missing 5 days of school – a letter and contact from the school
  • Missing 6 days of school – a letter and conference with school administration, school counseling, and a social worker
  • Missing 10 days of school – a letter and referral to the school social worker, followed by a review and referral to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

“I think that the new attendance effort is good for the most part, including that you can be excluded from the finals if you meet the new requirements with attendance, something which I wish started before this year. The only downside of the new push on the attendance would be that the same rules apply for the new Fluco WIN [study period]. But overall, I think the new push for attendance is good,” said senior Finley Eichler.

Keeping up with how many absences and tardies students have can be a little tricky, but Powerschool makes it easy for students to see. When going on to the PowerSchool app or website to see attendance updates, students should first go onto the main page titled “Dashboard.” Once there, they can scroll down under where their classes are to see a heading labeled “Attendance” where it shows the student’s tardies and absences.

For more information about the new attendance policy, contact FCHS Attendance Officer Leigh Haden in the Attendance Office.

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