The Bruin Voice

Admin team rolls out new tardy policy

Gabriella Backus, Editor-In-Chief

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How did the new tardy policy originate? Who came up with it and how was it agreed upon?
How it started is everyone felt there was need for change because tardy seemed to be a thing we want student to do better at. Also, absence was another issue, but mainly tardy. Particularly high schools, see the same thing. It’s a good idea to form a community of whoever wants to participate; we formed a committee, and I spearheaded it; students, teachers; we had a few meetings to ask what tardy policy would fit BC in particular. We want to ask students involved what students value, and what would motivate them to come in time and what would we take away to make them want to come in time? Within those couple meetings that’s how we came up with the policy. Students came up with the social probation part (rajan nathaniel) he talked to a lot of students for his input. I know it’s something new, and with that in mind we wanna make sure we are sticking by what we say so students know we mean business.
How long did it take for it to pass?
Second semester of last year, we met around five times. We had opened it up to anyone who was interested; those who were emailed me and showed up. We had a good team to develop the policy. I think the policy fits Bear Creek. Still looking at the logistics of it. Mr. Romero who runs in-school, is a person we’ve designated to do lunch detention if people don’t show up for after school, which will start next week. I think in order for us to have students take it seriously we have to do what we say we are going to do.
We brought it to our leadership team, presented it, an everyone had a chance to look at it. Everybody knows of it. For the most part, everyone knows about it and they play a role because one of the things is to call home. I know it’ll take time out of their schedule, it’s a concern. I hope that attendance will improve, that’s my worry, that it doesn’t improve. But i think if we have everything in place, in terms of consequences, we need to follow up with that. Aside from that, if students are improving, we ought to think of something to encourage to do the same, some award system of something. Tier 1: has different groups meeting to have different things for kids, TBIS.
I hear that every once in a while, the tardy policy changes, but nothing really drastic has changed. We’ll know once it rolls out but I think it’s looking in a positive direction right now. The students are asking questions which means they’re concerns.
How has it been working?
We haven’t enforced it 100%. It’s just a matter of enforcing it. It’s going to start this coming week, as far as attention.
If this policy fails, what will be put in place to change it?
We will make adjustments as needed. Since it’s something new, we will make adjustments in how we run it. I don’t think we are going to deviate from the policy. In terms of how we run detentions and things like that, we can change.
How does it plan to stop truancy (i.e. students just skipping first period and getting an absence)
We know that’s one of the flaws. If students are skipping periods, it’s considered truancy. This would be an absence issue. One of the Tiers, is taking care of that end. It’s separate and aside from those in the tardy policy. (Harrell) This policy is fairly new, so you probably wannaask me a few weeks into it. I’mg lad to see there’s a big awareness about the new policy, it means they’re paying attention to it. I think it’s ging to come down to whether we mean it or not.

To was tasked to these discipline tasks by Harrelll. We knew we want to change the tardy policy so I tasked him with forming a committtee an leading that effort.
We had some key members in the committee, self-selected teachers, and we had Ms. Deeter, who is a champoin of our PDIS movement; our work towards teaching students explicitly about behavior. Of any school policy, tardy policies are weird. I feel tha schools go about building polcies with punishment in mind, and anytime you do that, you miss the mark because we need to think about what we re trying to teach you as students. Just as much as I teach you math and biology, I need to teach you how to operate within the world. The general approach was to slow down the tardy guiottine. The old policy was to get one tardy, one hour of detention. For me, that triggered a justice sense; that’s kind of harsh. And it ended up being something we couldn’t manage. Now, your tardy consequence is atyour fort tardy. Up to that point, I encourage teachers to build relationships. I looked at what my most successfull teachers are doing; they talked to their students. I think we assume that everyone who is tardy (has some bad reason). I do thik there must be consequences. If I’m late to work constantly… it is a realisitc thing for me to teach kids. Then, after afterschool detention (and we shortened it), then you get a lunch detention the next day. We’re going to take some of our time. By that point, you’ve got six of seven tardies, which is a minority of students. We looked at the data of tardies; most people have 1 to 2. 5 or more is about 50-100 kids on campus. We wanted to make sure it fit the needs of the majority of students.
After 6-7 is the students will be referred to tier 2 team; they will be on social probation. The intention of doing this was to really start to engage students and teachers. If you’re participating in things, we want you to know your attendence matters. I don’t imagine that many kidss are going to get tothat level. Once yo uget to that point, it becomesa conversation involving teachers, coaches.. I don’t want to turn kids away from that stuff. The intention of the program is not to kick kids out of things or ruin everyones fun but to hold people accountable and to know that their attendence matters. We have 2200 students and 1100 participated in Int. Rally, but I’m sure a lot of them had tardies. If it doesn’t change behavior, we will go back and evaluate it. I think it’s a good start.
What is being done by the Tier ½ group to fix truancies?
PBIS: positive behavior interventio nand support is a nationally recognized support program. It divides approaches to behavior in 3 tiers
Tier 1: what every single kid should experience. Bruin Way; everyone has access to that; school rules. Used to be led by Ms. Deeter
Blount, Miller, To, Anderson
Trying to start Tier 2: 20% of student population that do not respond positively to tier 1, not going to class on time, refered out, not engaged; focus in your supports, discussing specific students and their behavior but with a focus on support, not nailing them. Now Deeter is in charge of that. The Tier 2 group meets every week. Started last year but didn’t take off, no school has done it around here to implement PBIS to level and depth.
Deeter, Hummel, Romero, Perez.
How does this new tardy policy affect you?
Do you feel any difference?

Last school year, students wracked up tardies relentlessly with little to no repercussions, posing a major problem for the school administration. This year, a new policy spearheaded by Asst. Principal Dennis To has been instituted to lessen the most notable discrepancies within the tardy system.
At the beginning of the school year, a paper handed out to students explained the new policy in simple terms. The policy was also explained in most Link Crew presentations during the first day Bruin Bonanza and is in the 2018-2019 Bear Creek introductory booklet. However, the Bear Creek website has not yet been updated to feature the new policy and only shows the old tardy policy.
The policy states that a first tardy will result in a verbal warning; real consequences do not appear until the third tardy, upon which teachers will call home to the student’s parents or guardians. At four tardies, the student receives 30 minutes of after school detention. By six tardies, the student will be subject to social probation, which bans involvement in student activities, and after school detention.
There are intentionally only consequences after multiple tardies occur, as opposed to the previous tardy rules, which gave one hour of detention for each tardy; consequences only changed if students missed detention. Principal Hillary Harrell says the change in the new policy, in which consequences appear only after stocking multiple tardies, is beneficial for the masses.
“We looked at the data of tardies; most people have one to two,” Harrell said. “Those with five or more are only about 50-100 kids on campus. We wanted to make sure [the policy] fit the needs of the majority of students.”
The new policy’s consequences work to benefit those who would previously have been punished for tardies that were out of their control, like a traffic jam or family members running late.
“Some, like me freshman year, had no control over being on time my first period,” junior Michael Bambico said.
The policy was developed during a few committee meetings during the second semester of last year. It is a part of the first Tier of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) system, a national program that has recently been adopted at Bear Creek to ensure a more just and supportive discipline system. The committee has met approximately five times and is open to volunteer involvement.
Tier One of the PBIS system has set into motion multiple policies meant to improve campus morale and reward good behavior. The “Bruin Way” is an acronym of “Bruin” posted in all classrooms that encourages students to Be prepared, Respect others, Understand diversity, Interact positively, and Never give up. To reward students for following the Bruin Way, teachers hand out “Bruin Bucks,” a school-wide currency which can be traded in at the new Student Store, located in the quad, for Bear Creek merchandise, such as fanny-packs, pencils, and shirts.
The school receives Attendance Incentive money from the Lodi Unified School District (LUSD), allocated schools with high rates of attendance, as monitored through the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) through the state of California. Bear Creek currently receives $1500 per year for an attendance rate of 97% — one percent above the state average. Harrell decided to give the money to PBIS Tier One, citing her belief that students who do well should be directly and positively impacted by the District’s reward system.
To make the behavioral policies as effective as possible, Conflict Mediation teacher Lisa Deeter collected information from her Conflict Mediation students about what merchandise students would be motivated to improve their behavior to buy.
The same process occurred for the tardy policy: former student representative Rajan Nathaniel asked students what would persuade them to arrive to school on time and what could be taken away with enough of a value to make students want to avoid tardiness. As a result, social probation was added to the list of consequences.
The policy was activated August 20, three weeks after the start of school.
Harrell, who assigned Asst. Principal To to work in Tier One, said the policy’s goal is to teach students realistic, and not overly harsh, consequences.
“I feel that schools go about building policies with punishment in mind, and anytime you do that, you miss the mark because we need to think about what we’re trying to teach… students,” Harrell said. “Just as much as I teach you math and biology, I need to teach you how to operate within the world. The intention of the program is not to kick kids out of things or ruin everyone’s fun but to hold people accountable and to know that their attendance matters.”
One of the biggest concerns about the new policy is that it does not stop the truancy issue that arose last year; students, unwilling to face the consequences of tardiness, skip periods entirely, most notably first period. Some students wracked up 50+ absences in first period to avoid a more severe policy for being late.
“If I’m late already more than once, I’d be scared to show up late, so I’d probably just skip that period and go to the next one,” senior Elijah Lee said.
To claims truancy is the concern of another committee.
“We know that’s one of the flaws,” To said. “This would be an absence issue. One of the Tiers is taking care of that end. It’s separate and aside from those in the tardy policy.”
Despite the issue of truancies, To is satisfied with current policy rollout.
“I hear that every once in a while, the tardy policy changes, but nothing really drastic [had improved],” To said. “We’ll know once it rolls out, but I think it’s looking in a positive direction right now. The students are asking questions, which means they’re concerned.”
Art teacher Shan Swoverland agrees that the policy is stronger than its predecessor.
“I think that will be powerful, because kids do not want to be pulled away from their friends during lunch,” Swoverland said. “Once a few kids serve that, and word gets out that, for real, your lunch is being pulled from you.”
To believes the policy will fit Bear Creek suitably as long as everyone involved works together to enforce it.
“We brought it to our leadership team, presented it, and everyone had a chance to look at it,” To said. “For the most part, everyone knows about it and they [the teachers] play a role because one of the big things is calling home. I know it’ll take time out of their schedule, it’s a concern. I hope that attendance will improve. That’s my worry, that it doesn’t improve. I think in order for us to have students take it seriously we have to do what we say we are going to do.”
“It is a little bit more work on teachers to call home,” Swoverland said. “We were so used to [the old policy] that someone else would deal with the tardies, but it’s giving our office ladies a break from the mounds of paperwork. We’re already indebted with a lot of work as it is, but if it is something that will exist, we need to do our part. All teachers need to be on board for that.”
The new PBIS policies are designed in the hopes of changing the overarching campus culture for the better.
“In order to create a system that is fair, admin and those on the Tier One team need to point out good student behavior on a daily basis,” Harrell said. “If you only recognize students on the quarter or semester, it can be less impactful.”
Administrators say they will continue to work on the new policy and make adjustments as needed.

So far, so good. I haven’t had that many tardies; only a couple kids that are on their second already. Initially, I see good things from it. It is a little bit more work on teachers to call home, but we were so used to [the old policy] that soeone else would deal with the tardies, but it’s giving out office ladies a break from the mounds of paperowkr. We’re alread yindebted with a lot of work as it is, but if it is something that will exist, we need to do our part. All teachers need to be on board for that. We haveto hve rsponsibility. It’s different in the sense that, if they continue on the path of tardies and do not share the responsibility of sharing their detention, they will eventually hae lunch detention. I think that will be powerful, because kids do not want to be pulled away from their friends during lunch. Once a few kids serve that, and words get out, that forreal your lunch is being pulled from you… I think it’s a great idea. It just goes along with accountability; if we are going to have accountability for everything, all activities, it needs to be consistent. And it is laid out that way; if someone from Art Club is not able to go on a field trip because of their tardies, the same thing needs to be done for participation.

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About the Writer
Gabriella Backus, Editor-in-Chief, Retired Online-Editor-In-Chief, Staff Writer

I'm interested in any type of art, so my hobby is creating art.  I'm the president of Red Cross and Art Club.  I've been in journalism for three years;...

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The Voice shall not be silenced!
Admin team rolls out new tardy policy