Attendance won’t count for Selective Enrollment High Schools any more

September 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm 3 comments

Wow, second big news item in CPS recently!
A couple people have sent me the following announcement:

Revised Attendance Policies for GEAP Schools and Selective Enrollment High Schools!

In light of the H1N1 virus that affected the attendance of a significant number of students, a notification was issued during the 2008-2009 school year stating that application procedures for Selective Enrollment and GEAP schools would be revisited this year in order to consider the extenuating circumstances. As a result, it has been determined that, beginning with the upcoming application process for the 2010-2011 school year, attendance will not be included in the criteria for the selection of students for Selective Enrollment High Schools, Academic Centers, and International Gifted Programs (formerly International Baccalaureate Preparatory Programs).

The selection of students for these three school types was previously based on a 1,000-point scale. The revised process will utilize a 900-point scale, consisting of points for previous year’s standardized test scores in reading and math (300 points); final student grades in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies (300 points); and student performance on the admissions examination (300 points). A revised rubric illustrating the specific assignment of points will be developed and available within the coming weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Academic Enhancement at (773) 553-2060.

This is huge.  I never thought CPS would change this (nor did I think they were capable of making a policy change so quickly.)  In the past, attendance during a kid’s 7th grade year counted as 1/10th of their score for getting into the Selective Enrollment High Schools.  Of course you get the point, you want kids who are really committed to going to school to get those spots.  But I’ve seen the numbers – the kids who get in miss something like 1-2 days (on average) during that important year.  So one can conclude that a lot of sick kids are trudging to school in the middle of flu season.  It finally took a potentially deadly flu strain for parents to stand up and protest.
I really like that CPS responded.  I had just been ruminating about this obsessive focus on attendance that CPS has.  The goal for each school is 95% attendance, which means each kid can miss about 1 day per month during the year.  That is probably doable if your child doesn’t get seriously ill, but one bout with flu, lice, or pinkeye can knock out a week, easily.
Attendance is important for the schools because they get funding based on it, AND the principals get “graded” on it.  Our principal has REALLY stressed attendance repeatedly so far to the point that I will feel guilty if I let my son miss a day for a minor ailment.  Or add an extra day onto a school vacation.
So I get why CPS wants my kid there, but wouldn’t it be better for parents to err on the side of caution when it comes to sending a sick kid to school?  Then to top it off, the kid are sharing pencils (which they all bite or chew the erasers,) crayons, scissors, etc during the day which send those devious little germs hopping happily from child to child.
So all in all, I’m pleased that CPS got rid of this requirement for high school.  I can see eliminating kids from consideration who have excessive unexplained absenses, but really is a kid who missed only 1 day that much better than a kid who missed 4 days during a whole year?
10 points to Ron Huberman.
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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Y  |  September 28, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    There’s been movement in this over the past few years. I believe points used to be deducted for any absences, then it was changed to allow three absences before being penalized.

  • 2. CPS Mom  |  September 28, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I have blogged at district299 that it should be out of 900 points and not 1000. As the parent of a 5th grader for the acdemic centers (and 7th grade parents too) I was worried! I am so happy to hear this I can’t wait to tell evryone!!!!!!!!1

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