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General Science and Teaching

Tardies are an issue …

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Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

at my middle school. Our campus is set up where students have to pass from class to class outside. Obviously when it’s cold, students tend to move to classes more quickly, but for the most part, there is a regular contingent that is tardy to class. We are talking anywhere from a few minutes to up to 10 minutes. We are a PBIS school, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. I am not a real fan, but then I don’t have tardy issues in my own classroom. I set up the expectation students are set and ready to go at the warning bell and deal with students individually if they are late. The problem is other teachers are not as good at classroom management and discipline, so their kids are hanging out in the halls, banging on doors, yelling, screeching as only a middle school girl can do, and generally causing disruptions. We have staff standing by their doors reminding students they need to get to class or they will be tardy, but many of our chronic abusers just give you that “expletive deleted” look and continue to ignore you. When students don’t get into class on time, they have no idea what we are doing for the day, so they become disruptive in class as well. This is a no win situation for those students that are ready and willing to learn. I am hoping some of you might have some insights from your practices that I can share that may be useful to them. For any administrators amongst us, what has worked in your schools? I am especially interested in what you do with the habitual offender.

Susanne Hokkanen Susanne Hokkanen 79520 Points

I also have very strict tardy policies, and I will write tardy detentions, as needed to reinforce my policy of being on time for class. I use all of the strategies listed within this thread - I issue detentions, and I have a five minute bellwork assignment (If you are not done with the bell work - and it a great deal of work to complete it all - within the first five minutes, no points for bellwork for that day.) I also use a PBIS bingo board to instantly recognize a whole class - on occasions - for being on time, in their seat and working - each student can write their name on a bingo square. I have also found that I cannot make others better teachers or better classroom managers. Mandating clear hallways is really a matter for administration. I have been known to call the office to complain about students in the hallway after classes start, and I document each time I call just in case something does happen. There are liability issues with allowing students to "be late" and to not be in their designated areas at the correct times. Good luck! I know how frustrating it can be at times.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

Our school went away from the "sweep" policy, which was if a student is late they basically lose the right to be in class that day and go to ISS for that period. Now we have After School Detention...if a student is late to class (and the teacher can define what is tardy) we are required to assign them ASD. My tardies dropped essentially 100% after students realized that I would give them ASD for being late.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Chris, I like the sound of what your school is doing!! I can see how that would definitely work.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

As much as I like the idea of expecting "payback" at the end of the day, most of our kids are bussed. Have you gotten backlash from parents who now have to pick up their kids after school. I went to a policy of a lunchtime detention, which limits the social interaction during lunch. It tends to irritate the students, but is much less of a burden for the parents whose kids are forced to miss the bus. Of course, if your lunch periods are staggered, this may not be a very workable alternative.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

I"m guessing that ASD doesn't fit under "PBIS". But I had a lot of kids that would just skip class because they'd rather go sit in sweep then come to class. However, they come to class now, because they don't want to be stuck at school for an hour after school.

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Thanks for all the great ideas! Like Jennifer stated, it can be a bit of a hassle for parents when students are not able to take the bus home. I think that opening the lines of communication with the parents and ensuring that they understand why their student is in after school detention can help garner the support from home that you need to make the ASD successful. Another option may be to suspend all non-academic activities (sports, student gov't, etc) for habitual offenders. Sandy, you said that some of the other teachers don't have good classroom management and therefore have an extensive problem with tardy students. Has your administration addressed this? It might be a great topic for a teacher workshop. Maureen

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Maureen, the administration has addressed it with the individual teachers. Unfortunately, we have several teachers, new and old, that just don’t care if a student is late. They just ignore the behavior and more or less expect the students to get caught up on what they missed. The irritating part is, they don’t really understand how their lack of caring affects all of us. Students then think it’s okay to be tardy everywhere. With the beginning of the school year, administration did address the topic again with staff. As with all things, it will be okay for a while, but then they will go back to old habits. There are some new interventions in place this year that should help out. One is the sweep, but we won’t know the specifics until next Tuesday. They promised it would be “different than what was done before.” I am hopeful.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Ahhh This is even a problem at the college level albeit that we can implement measured that are not possible in K12. This issue has become more acute as we are now required to keep our doors locked and closed during class as part of security measured passed after a number of high profile incidents on college campuses. To me locking students out is not really a solution. I tend to give short one or two question "starters" that are worth a few points. If you are not there sorry you lost your chance. It works.

Azo O Ashley Osborn 4725 Points

My middle school and high school had students transitioning outside as well, and in addition, we too had a policy in my school that we called a "hall sweep." The hall sweep would happen just about every week and the students would never know when it would happen. Most of the time, we would have a "hall sweep" before 1st period or right after lunch due to students lingering the most in the hall during these times. Because our school was rather large with about 1,500 students, there would be at least 1-2 teachers/coaches/administrators at each hall and would take all the students and assign them for before or after school detention. What I believed helped even more, was the teachers would have their doors already locked so that students wouldn't be able to "sneak" into class and avoid the "hall sweep." Maybe talk to your administrators about something like this, it was very helpful for my school.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

I thought I should follow up since my last post. I can hardly believe it, but the tardies have been significantly reduced. Our principal came into the year with a plan all students tardy would be immediately “swept” to the front office where they were dealt with immediately. The first tardy you got a warning, 2 -3, lunch detention, 4 – 5 after school detention, 6 – 7, Saturday school, 9 – 9, I don’t recall what, then 10 and above, you got the attention of administration. At the top level there were administrator calls and conferences with parents, in school suspension where you get the opportunity to recapture your lost learning for part of the day and the other part, learning social skills, making good choices etc. I am pleasantly surprised at how well this working. Hats off to our administrators who are out in the hall, every passing period helping us keep kids moving. As teachers, we are at our doors every passing period, and on our plan period, we stay out a few extra minutes and anyone hanging in the halls after the bell are “swept” to the front office to receive their tardy consequences. I had to chuckle the other day when I was at the end of my hallway, a 7th grader was trying to hustle to class and didn’t make it very far. He stopped in the hallway, gave a heavy sigh, turned around and swept himself to the office. I had to shake my head in disbelief, but this new method is working. Students are in their seats ready to work. That’s a first step in the right direction. I forgot to share, we have over 600, 7th and 8th graders on our campus.

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