San Jon superintendent presents new student attendance policy
August 19, 2020
The superintendent San Jon Municipal Schools last week presented a new policy for student attendance borne out of the coronavirus pandemic and a transition to online learning.
Superintendent Janet Gladu said the Attendance for Success Act and an accompanying supplemental policy were to be implemented during the 2021-2022 school year, but the New Mexico Public Education Department enacted it this year.
The act states school attendance data must be reported to the PED.
“Students are expected to attend in-person or remote instructional programs, as provided by their school, each day,” it states.
With hybrid models of in-person and online teaching, class attendance must be taken “when students are participating in in-person educational activities at school and during periods of remote only instruction” and documented.
With online learning, the PED acknowledges inequities of students’ time, computer equipment and support. Such students should have the opportunity to call in by phone, participate in asynchronous learning activity (such as a text, email, packet pickups, posting in online forums or completing online web forms) or provide other evidence of their engagement with classes.
School districts must allow for at least 10 days of excused medical absences and four days for pregnancy or parenting. Gladu acknowledged a student who contracts COVID-19 could easily miss 10 days of school or more, especially if the illness causes long-term health problems.
The PED has detailed four tiers of lost attendance and how to remedy them. Tier 4 is for students who have missed 20% or more of classes for any reason. Students who continue to have unexcused absences after written notification to their households shall be reported to law enforcement and the state Children, Youth and Families Department.
The San Jon school board during a previous meeting voted to delay the start of the school year from Aug. 10 to Sept. 8 to get more elementary children in in-person classes. In-person classes for middle school and high school are tentatively scheduled for late September and early October respectively. Gladu said the school calendar would add a few Fridays for instruction to make up for the lost time.
In other business:
• The board chose a winning design for the new decals for the district’s gymnasium floors. Gladu said the design would be unveiled at a later date to honor the designer.
• The board approved a $6,300 cut in its funding from the state for its transportation contract. The cut was part of spending reductions approved by the New Mexico Legislature during a summer special session.
• The board approved a second reading of a federally mandated Title IX nondiscrimination policy that goes into effect Aug. 14. The law affects not only faculty and staff, but student coursework and sports. “It’s federal law; we’ve got to play,” Gladu said. “It’s one of those we almost have to do.”
• The board approved the district’s annual propone contract with Tucumcari LP Gas.