Pelham High School has new policy on unexcused absences

A new school system considers unexcused absences inexcusable.Students at Pelham High School who rack up too many unexcused absences could come up short of credits at graduation, regardless of their grades. Any student with more than ten unexcused absences, or more than six for a semester-course, will not receive credit for that course. The board of education approved the new attendance policy during a meeting Monday. Pelham High School{}principal, Jason Yohn knows this policy will likely upset some parents and students. But, he'll take that, over students not coming to school. We feel like it's important to come to school, to get the education that we're supposed to be providing for our kids.Yohn says it's time for students to be held accountable.{} "We need to value what's being done in our classrooms, and if we don't require our kids to be here and hold them accountable, then we're devaluing what our teachers are here trying to do for our kids."

Rick Rhoades is president of Pelham Board of Education. He believes students need to treat school like a job.

"One of the things that we want to teach people is that, to be where you're supposed to be, when you're supposed to be, and be ready to go. If you do that, then you've got a pretty good chance of being successful at what you do," says Rhoades."If you talk to employers and you ask them what are the traits that you look for in an employee, one of the first things that will come up are 'we want people that are going to be here' that we can count on."Students do have an opportunity to make up for lost time and work from unexcused absences. It's called "App Saturdays""Attendance policy program is what it stands for. We call it, 'there's an App for that," says Yohn.App Saturdays are specially designated times for students to complete missed assignments. The first App Saturday will be in October.{} "It's a 'good faith' effort to recover that absence and improve their grade in the process,"{}explains Yohn.Yohn comes to Pelham from a stint at Smiths Station High School in Lee County, where similar polices were in place. Attendance reports will be run weekly throughout the year.{}A warning will be issued if a student appears to be racking up too many unexcused absences. Yohn isn't budging.{} "We want to be great, we start that process today. And we'll lay that on the ground for our kids tomorrow. It will be a real eye opening experience for our kids tomorrow."Pelham High School students and parents are required to sign a code of conduct and attendance acknowledgment form stating that the student is required to attend school and that any absence must be explained.