Tater Tots and Tardies: Early Check-in Policy a Success

Dima Aboukasm, Social Media Editor

Tardies and absences have decreased in number and attendance has improved since the implementation of a new tardy policy on November 5, 2018, according to Dean of Students Trish Cox. One of the policy’s main roles was to help reduce the increasing number of students arriving late to both morning meetings and advisory and it has been successful in achieving this.

With the new policy, two tardies or one absence in the same week will result in one week of early check-in. More than two tardies or one absence will result in two full weeks of early check-in. Early check-in means that students have to check in with Cox at her office between 7:30 and 7:45 AM every day for one full week.

As it was stated in the email notifying students of

Students checking in with their advisors at assembly. If a student is late to assembly twice in one week, they will have to have early check-in.
Photo by Dima Aboukasm

the new policy, the policy was changed because MacDuffie wants “the consequence to be prescriptive rather than punitive.”

The overarching goal of the policy was to help students form new, productive habits such as waking up earlier and being better prepared for the school day.

“The whole point of it is to help them develop a pattern so that they can be ready for school,” Cox said.

The previous consequence of having too many tardies or absences, after-school detention, was changed to early check-in because detention was not aiding in reducing tardiness or absences.

“Putting kids in detention was not stopping anybody from coming to school late and missing assembly or advisory because that’s an easy consequence; it is in the afternoon so students don’t have to get up earlier,” Cox said.

According to Cox, one of the most positive trends she has noticed since the policy’s implementation is that there have been very little “repeat offenders”, meaning that students have changed their behaviors and after having to do early check-in once, they have not had any more problematic tardies or absences.

As for students’ reactions to the new policy, there has been a mix of varying opinions which were collected in an anonymous student survey.

Many students feel that early check-in is fair and a better alternative to having detention after school. They would rather have to come early to school for a shorter period of time in the morning, rather than have to wait after school for up to two hours, as they would in detention.

“I think it [early check-in] is a good way to try to get people to not be tardy and if you have to do it or a week, it will make you a lot less likely to do it again,” sophomore Lily Griffin said.

On the other hand, many day students expressed their concern of having to alter not only their morning routine to arrive to school a half hour early, but also, that of their parents and siblings.

“This would definitely disrupt my morning schedule because my parents would have trouble getting me to school that early in the morning. It would be putting an extra burden on my parents in the morning,” sophomore Madi Hernandez said.

Additionally, there are concerns among students that they will be penalized for an unavoidable tardy such as getting stuck in traffic or bad roads due to weather.

“I  worry that those who are marked tardy are not tardy because of any failings of their own, but rather because of certain life situations which they are unable to avoid,” junior John Parish said.

Many students also believe that the policy should be changed from a maximum of two tardies before having to go to early check-in to three or four tardies. This is because many students feel that making a mistake once or twice should be okay and is not problematic until the tardies or absences becomes repetitive, or habitual.

Another common worry among students is getting enough sleep. Many students struggle to get their recommended eight to nine hours of sleep and early check-in only makes it harder.

Cox recognizes these worries and concerns among the student body, however, her job has been to find a solution to students’ tardiness and absences and the new policy has shown positive results.

“I don’t think students like the idea of early check-in, which I can completely understand, however, I do think that once they go through it, it’s a good deterrent,” Cox said.

In regards to addressing some of the issues many students have with the policy, Cox stated that some changes to the policy may be made in the future, however, probably not until the next school year.

“There’s always room for change and figuring out how it [the policy] could work better for all students…That’s something that I am aware of and know that we might have to deal with at a certain point,” Cox said.