Policy requires students’ attendance for 63 percent of school day
A new Senate bill stating that students must be present for at least 63 percent of their instructional day has been implemented for Mississippi schools for the 2013-2014 school year.
“Previously, if you were there at 8 a.m. you were considered present but it will not be like that any longer,” said Amory School District Superintendent Tony Cook.
According to Cook, some of the $166,000 in Mississippi Adequate Education Funding money lost was due to average daily attendance.
“Our emphasis is that we need students at school so they can achieve at the highest level possible. When students are not in school, they are missing important instructional time. Of lesser importance is the fact that attendance also influences school funding. Money is very important, but student achievement is our major concern,” said Cook.
Instructional time does not include lunch and time between classes which accounts for roughly 45 minutes a day. Based on a 330 minute instructional day, a student must be present 63 percent of the time, or 208 minutes of the day. The breakdown of time equates to more than four class periods, so basically a student can only miss two classes in a school day and still be considered present.
“Everyone needs to understand that students have to be present. You can’t just come and check them out without that student having the consequence of an absence. It’s really an individualized thing. It’s 63 percent of each students’ instructional time,” said Aberdeen School District Conservator Bob Strebeck.
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