In an effort to deter chronic tardiness, Sequoyah recently implemented a program at the high school that gives students with numerous tardies community service time. Under this program, any student who is tardy to either Morning Meeting or to class five times will receive a mandatory 30 minutes of after-school community service.
To make the system manageable, the program is automated: as soon as five tardies are entered into a student’s Family Portal by their teachers, they are administered 30 minutes of community service. Community service hours may stack up, meaning that for every five tardies, another 30 minutes are added.
The high school’s administrative team worked to implement this program after noticing an increasing percentage of students were receiving excessive unexcused tardies, most frequently to Morning Meeting. High School Director Marc Alongi explained the philosophy behind the program, saying: “the harm is that chronic tardiness is disruptive and takes away from the community. It’s disruptive to have people coming late, it’s disruptive to not have participation.” He believes “there needs to be a way in which people give back.” The simplest way to do so, he believes, is for those individuals to give their time back.
According to Alongi, at least a dozen students have been assigned varying types of community service for tardies. For example, students have helped Administrative Assistant Debbie Deems with office work, custodians Stanley Brooks and Manny Evans with organizing classrooms and tidying up the campus, and K-12 Technology Support Specialist Jose Soto with running inventory of school resources, conducting general software maintenance, and uploading Sequoyah School video content. Although the administration does not have any immediate plans to expand this program to other types of infractions, Alongi mentioned that it would be in the interest of Steering Committee or the Community Norms Committee to be able to recommend community service as a means of punishment for other infractions.
When it comes to the completion of assigned community service, Alongi says that while there are a few exceptions, the majority of students have met their obligations. As of now, it seems that the program has, according to Alongi, “definitely” been a deterrent for tardies, noting that “the numbers are way down.”