School Officials Focus on Low Attendance
45 percent of seniors miss more than 18 days of school a year
ANCHORAGE - There are many excuses students give for not getting to class.
“You just see people falling asleep in class, so eventually some students kind of figure, well, why be here if we are just falling asleep?" said sophomore Deborah Komkov.
Even the state fair gets in the way.
“They just take a mental health day and go visit the fair and have fun with it,” said sophomore Michael Levine.
But other times, it's more serious.
“Sometimes it's issues at home, like parents can't exactly do anything, or they aren't there so they have to take care of their siblings" said Levine.
For some students, part-time jobs can often take priority.
“A lot of students are trying to get jobs for their resumes and for college and it's really difficult when they are trying to stuff your schedule and your trying to save money to pay for your tuition,” said senior Greisen Sharrard.
Anchorage's new superintendent, Jim Browder, says the attendance rate across all grades is too low.
Dr. Browder says he's not implementing a new attendance policy, but wants parents to be more aware of the importance of getting their children to school.
“Only 74 percent of our students attend 90 percent of the time, so what we want to do is increase that 74 percent to 90 percent," said Dr. Browder.
As students get older, the attendance rate drops: Only 55 percent of Anchorage seniors are making it to the required number of school days. That means 45 percent miss more than 18 days of school each year.
“They call it ‘senioritis,’ you know you're kind of getting out of school, and you don't have as many classes,” said senior Greisen Sharrard.
“A lot of time seniors only have 2 or three classes and early arrival and they won't show up because they don't need the credits," he said.
The Anchorage School District has launched a video campaign aimed at parents to encourage them to talk to their children more about getting to class and establishing a daily routine.
Dr. Browder says school resource officers will work more closely with the parents to make sure there are fewer absences.