Attendance Problems: If the First Step is Showing Up, What’s Next?


Angelica Smith, Associate Editor

 Attendance has been a pivotal setback for students for various reasons due to the fact that attending school impacts your education, but the driving concern that seems to be on the rise is shared with distinct reasoning. The overall attendance rate is 70%, with seniors having the lowest rate being 59.6%. The topic of attendance often revolves around the current schedule, which is used at the two high schools in the Gresham-Barlow school district and has been an issue amongst students and staff for years.

  Many may argue that students are responsible for their own attendance, but others may also argue that the school district is responsible for the circumstances the students are placed under.

“School starts too early, it could improve by starting later,” sophomore Juan Valdez said.

It’s been suggested that starting school as early as is required by the school district is not beneficial to students.  However, there are other problems affecting student attendance too.

“To improve attendance I’d change the workload that teachers give to their students, some give an impossible amount without taking in the factor that they do in fact not only have their class but multiple(classes) We [students] know attendance sucks, but since no one is trying to help change it we just don’t care,” junior Alyssa Price said.

 The school has provided a couple of REAL lessons that revolve around attendance which many students choose to ignore or don’t take seriously because it seems the  administration isn’t taking into account the bigger picture: the many obstacles students face that contribute to their lack of attendance.

 here are many fundamental at play here that need to addressed:  homework, after-school activities, and many individual non-school issues that play a key role in student attendance.  However one of the main problems might be the current schedule featuring a very early start and seven classes. Consider the two schedule options the school district has to choose between: block or a traditional seven-period day schedule. Of course, there are many values and limitations that reside within each of these schedules but the bigger question that should be addressed is, which one will benefit the students more and get them to come to school on a more consistent basis?  

 “Taking into account that teens like to stay up late, the current schedule should remain the same with a few minor changes that accommodate the sleeping schedule at which this generation tends to rely on,” senior James Farnsworth said.

The schedule should be the district’s focus when considering attendance, and teens need a schedule that can accommodate their sleep habits. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence — meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm.” The current schedule does not allow most students to get the required eight hours of sleep to function normally.   Having seven classes a day also creates stress as the homework load can be strenuous. This stress can lead to more attendance, sleep and anxiety issues. To clarify, students don’t have perfect attendance because of the current schedule and they have tons of homework which is given every night from seven classes ultimately causing stress and anxiety.