Changes in second quarter attendance procedure

Students are asked to check themselves in  on Infinite Campus which is a directive from the Minnesota Department of Education

Evan Dushek

Students are asked to check themselves in on Infinite Campus which is a directive from the Minnesota Department of Education

Evan Dushek, Writer

On Monday, Nov. 9, assistant principal Ms. Holly Jeska shed some light on the recent change in attendance procedures at  Owatonna High School. This new procedure requires online students who are off-site to check in daily sometime during their school day (8:00a.m.-2:40p.m.) using the Infinite Campus Attendance System. 

These decisions were directed from the State of Minnesota.  Ms. Hollie Jeska said, “Sept. 23 MBE(Minnesota Board of Education) came out with some new guidance for schools on how they were required to take attendance to ensure that online students were checking in every single day.”  OHS then adopted the change for the second quarter.

This new attendance procedure is believed to benefit students, forcing students into their campus daily will remind them that work needs to be completed on days they are online and help prevent distance learners from falling behind. Ms.Jeska said, “The main benefit would be for the students that don’t normally log into their student portals or that maybe aren’t engaging every day, this will help remind them that they need to engage in school every single day and need to do some of their work outside of school. It will also increase the overall use of the portal.” With that being said, there are concerns surrounding the change of attendance procedure, students seemed to be doing well in the previous procedures, getting their work done and doing it well. 

From a student’s responsibility standpoint, Ms. Jeska said, “Just make sure that your checking in every day, check in to your schoology, check in to your campus, I think that hardest thing to do is get behind and with this tool it will help students check in every day and will be able to complete things each day rather than getting behind and having to turn in 10 assignments in one day.” Ultimately, this change will provide a way for staff to track if students are logging in and getting work done throughout online days and a way for students to be reminded that there is work to be done on every school day regardless of if you are in or out of OHS. 

Students seem to have a completely different standpoint on the new attendance system. OHS junior Landen Johnson said, “It does not fulfill its purpose of making sure students are actually keeping up with their work.” He believes students will and can avoid doing work just as easily with this new addition. Although forcing students into their campus it is not ensuring work is being completed throughout the day. OHS senior Nolan Burmeister agreed. He said, “I think it’s kind of unnecessary because if you are doing your work and your teacher can see it then you should be counted present. On the flip side, it makes it easier for students because they can click the “I’m here” button then just not do school for the rest of the day.”  Additionally, he stated it is very manageable and doesn’t really affect his daily routine.

The main benefit would be for the students that don’t normally log into their student portals or that maybe aren’t engaging every day, this will help remind them that they need to engage in school every single day and need to do some of their work outside of school. It will also increase the overall use of the portal.”

— Ms. Hollie Jeska

 This was a change for teachers too.  Social Studies teacher Mr. Pat Churchill thinks it adds a student action step in this process he said, “ I am fine with it.  It makes sure that kids are checking in on Infinite Campus.  It is a little time consuming, emailing kids who haven’t checked in yet to make sure they do takes up a little bit more of my time.  But it’s good to make sure kids are engaging in their learning.  Especially since we are going distance here for a little bit.” This new attendance procedure is designed to keep students from slacking off when they are off-site and is believed by most to do so. It will force students to login to their campus and whether or not they do their work, it is sure to increase the chances. These procedures will continue until students are in the building full time.