Medford Board of Education discusses changing attendance policy

In other news, the district agreed to let Girl Scouts use its facilities for various dates throughout the school year.

The Medford Board of Education last Monday night discussed changing its position on attendance policy to combat chronic absenteeism.

According to Tom Olson, the school district’s administrative director of programming and planning, the federal government has seen chronic absenteeism at schools become “a growing problem.” The state’s definition of chronic absenteeism is 18 missed days of school.

Olson said all schools must have three “performance indicators,” and two of them must be tests and the percentage of students taking the tests, which must be over 95 percent. For its third performance indicator, Olson said the district will revise its attendance policy to combat chronic absenteeism, however, Olson and the district have yet to determine what the specific revisions will be.

Currently, the school’s policy, according to Olson, is students and parents will have a letter sent to their residence once the student has been absent five to seven days, depending on the school. Students will get subsequent letters after absences of 10–14 days, 15–20 days and 23–25 days. Schools may also organize meetings with parents and students to discuss a student’s consistent absences from school.

If the school feels it is necessary, a student could feasibly fail to be promoted to the next grade level on the basis of too many absences. Parents can also be taken to court for their child’s consistent absences from school, officials said.

“This is a year to kind of look at our policies and procedures and come up with ways to improve attendance and provide families with resources and strategies to help them with that,” Olson said in a phone interview after the meeting.

In other news:

The following individuals are to be hired by the district to serve in extra-pay positions pursuant to the 2015–2018 agreement between the Medford Education Association and the Board of Education:

• Brenda Fryland to serve as Cranberry Pines’ Harry Potter Club supervisor

• Sarah Keane to serve as the Allen School’s Fourth Grade Art Night supervisor

• Brittany Woll McIlhenney to serve as Cranberry Pines’ Arts & Crafts Club supervisor for first and third grades

• Tim Morea to serve as Memorial Middle School’s assistant wrestling coach

• Chuck Schwartz to serve as Memorial Middle School’s head wrestling coach

• April Zilai to serve as Memorial Middle School’s Ceramics Club supervisor

The use of the school district’s facilities have been approved for the following organizations:

• Girl Scout Troop №20118 has been approved to use Cranberry Pines School Art Room for troop meetings on Oct. 6, Nov. 3, Dec. 1, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, March 2, April 13, May 4 and June 1 from 2:55–4:30 p.m.

• Girl Scout Troop №21024 has been approved to use Cranberry Pines School Art Room for troop meetings on Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov.13, Dec. 18, Jan. 22, Feb. 26, March 19, April 23 and May 21 from 6:30–7:45 p.m.

• Girl Scout Troop №24259 has been approved to use Cranberry Pines School Art Room for troop meetings on Sept. 28, Oct.19, Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 18, Feb. 22, March 22, April 19 and May 24 from 6–7:30 p.m.