Harbor View PFO Members Discuss Truancy, Fitness; OC Register Data Rattles Principal and Parents

posted: February 13th, 2013 01:50 pm | 5Comments

An Orange County Register report that ranked Harbor View Elementary School as No. 83 in the county — down from No. 34 last year — revealed a school-wide truancy problem, Principal Todd Schmidt told parents today at a Parent Faculty Organization meeting.

“In Olympics terms, that is off the podium,” he said. “There is no medal.”

The Jan. 31 report in the Register examined schools’ academic performance and school environment, ranked the schools and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. Last year, Harbor View earned a silver medal.

Harbor View’s academic performance was rated 58 this year compared to 19 last year, and the environment slipped to 253 this year from 155 last year. API test scores were unchanged in 2011 and 2012, the years used in the report.

One factor that contributed to the school’s environment rating included truancy, which counts unexcused absences and tardies of more than 30 minutes, Schmidt said. The truancy rate this year was 51.2 percent, the same as last year. Another factor was fitness, based on state standards for fifth graders. Last year, the school had 33.3 percent of students passing, and this year the number was 33 percent. Diversity also was measured.

“This can be a frustrating thing to see,” Schmidt said of the Register report. “We’re a very high-performing school.”

Schmidt told parents that he was open to suggestions on improving the school, and he emphasized that truancy was a major concern. Many students’ unexcused absences are because of family vacations, he said. He added that so far this year, 235 students of 470 had missed six or more days of school.

“If you add that up, you have 1,500 school days,” he said. “That right there is eight school years.”

In the first 100 days of school, he said, 2,600 tardies were recorded. Just 170 students had never been tardy.

“When I saw the number, I gasped,” Schmidt said. “That number really kind of shocked me.”

Students who miss school fall behind in classwork, he said. Teachers working on March report cards have said they are noticing a dip in grades, he added.

“That’s because the kids haven’t been there,” he said.

Some teachers have already discussed truancy with their classes, and Schmidt asked for parents’ input. Parents suggested an email blast describing the problem, as well as asking parents to sign a note that states they understand the truancy policies. Other parents suggested positive reinforcement or rewards for students who are not late or absent.

Of the five elementary schools that feed into Corona del Mar High School, Lincoln was ranked highest at No. 30, up from 69 last year, receiving a silver medal. Newport Coast was ranked 52 this year, up from 54 last year, and received a bronze medal. Andersen was 57 this year, up from 83 last year, receiving a bronze medal both years. Eastbluff slipped to 256 this year from 129 year and earned no medal.

The truancy rate at Lincoln was 31.6 percent. Newport Coast’s was 25.5 percent, Andersen was 20.5 percent and Eastbluff was 23.1 percent.

The fitness rates for the schools were 66 percent for Lincoln, 22 percent for Newport Coast, 55 percent for Andersen and 56 percent for Eastbluff.

Parent Michael Webb said Harbor View families may need to be convinced that skipping school is having negative results on students and the school.

“You have to work wtih parents to convince them there is a problem,” he said.

“Our job as parents is to put forth responsible citizens,” said parent Jacqualine Cernich.

To see the Register’s data on Harbor View, click here. To see last year’s report, click here.

For Lincoln, click here. For Andersen, click here. For Eastbluff, click here. For Newport Coast, click here.


5 Responses to “Harbor View PFO Members Discuss Truancy, Fitness; OC Register Data Rattles Principal and Parents”

Comments

JJ

February 13th, 2013

High Truancy Rate: This is a wake up call for parents. Parents have responsibility and duty to send the kids to school home on time, and quit making excuses to take the kids out of school. Let the teachers teach. Teachers are not baby sitters, come and go as your wish. How are we going to expect Harbor View getting better without working with teachers together (or without students). When you taking "a vocational leave" or "snow day", yes, it's fun, but think again, what kind of the example we are setting for our kids. If the parents does not care, will your child care? will your teachers care? I guess it's a "no" , not until this report shows up. Take Responsibility! Lots to learn, to be a good student, to be a good teacher, to be a good Principal & to be a Great Parent. Good Luck, Harbor View.

Sandra

February 13th, 2013

Tardies... no excuse really, but I am not opposed to kids missing a day here and there for family vacations or much needed down time. We should all take time out of our life for living once in a while. I think the uproar is that the district does not receive money for truant days.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

February 13th, 2013

Reply to

Sandra

February 13, 2013

Tardies... no excuse really, but I am not opposed to kids missing a day here and there for family vacations or much needed down time. We should all take time out of our life for living once in a while. I think the uproar is that the district does not receive money for truant days.

Principal Schmidt indicated today that our district doesn't get paid by the day per kid, so that's not it.

Nik

February 14th, 2013

I believe the principal said that the Tardies do not factor into the ranking, only the Truancies. Nevertheless, I believe being late to anything shows disrespect and teaches children very bad habits which are are not sustainable once they reach High School or the workplace.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

February 14th, 2013

Reply to

Nik

February 14, 2013

I believe the principal said that the Tardies do not factor into the ranking, only the Truancies. Nevertheless, I believe being late to anything shows disrespect and teaches children very bad habits which are are not sustainable once they reach High School or the workplace.

Tardies of more than 30 minutes count, I believe he said.


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