By: James Kim
On Mar. 14, Mrs. Politte sent out an email with the copy of the exam and attendance procedure for the IB exams in May. Thereafter, three senior students, Suin Park, Jinni Kim, and Joel Navam, on behalf of the entire senior class, had a meeting with Ms. Brown and Mrs. Adams to appeal a change in the new attendance policy of the IB exam period.
Last year, the senior class had the privilege to choose to sign in and out of school during the IB exam period if they had completed the IB exam for a course. However, this year all seniors are required to attend classes at school during the IB exam period up until May 24, regardless of whether they have an exam or not.
Gabriel Eum expressed his concerns about the new change, “I was hoping to study at home more freely instead of going to school during the exam period. I feel like I’m sacrificing time for traveling to school instead of studying and relaxing at home.”
To voice their opinions on the issue, Joel Navam surveyed the senior students about their thoughts and requested a meeting with Ms. Brown.
The survey showed 78 percent of senior students were against the new attendance policy and 29 percent of students thought the new policy would be beneficial.
An anonymous student commented, “The new policy seems somewhat coercive, but I think it will help the students who can’t concentrate outside of school. It is an important part of the year when some kind of monitor is needed. After all, it is to help us, the students.”
In the meeting, Ms. Brown explained a few reasons why the new decision was implemented. She emphasized that there is a problem if students do not meet the required number of days in order to receive academic credits. Students are required to attend 180 days from Aug. 7 to Jun. 6. Out of 76 senior students, over 35 of those students have missed 40 or more classes/days over the course of the year.
The other reason given was during the February IB mock exams, the system put in place to allow for dismissals of senior students demonstrated a lack of adherence to that structure. It was difficult to keep track of students which is the school’s responsibility. Ms. Brown witnessed a student attempting to sneak out through the gate and pass the guards. Others were caught engaging in activities that were not academically focused or violated school policy.
On Apr. 11 2013, the senior class had an assembly about the final decision made for the attendance policy of the IB exam period.
In the assembly, Ms. Brown stated some concessions to the original policy. “All students are required to come to school everyday and will only be excused from classes to take an IB exam, but IB teachers will not teach any extra material after the exam has been given.”
Ms. Brown warned, “If a student has missed more than 10 percent of the class, they will have to take an online course to complete the credit.” Thus implying students will not walk during the graduation ceremony if they miss more than 10 percent of their classes.
As the senior class was able to discuss the issue with Ms. Brown and Mrs. Adams, several students appreciated the school’s respect for the students.
After the assembly, Sam Lee commented, “I was actually surprised that the school was willing to have a meeting with the students to discuss the issue. In some schools, the students’ voices and opinions aren’t well represented and respected in the school community.”
“I’m very proud of the students in the way they handled the situation. Very diplomatic. The survey that was taken was a wonderful way to get the voice of the class. It shows a unity of the class. They all came together for a cause that affected them all and identified representatives to lobby for what they felt. They did a very good job on understanding our perspective and being able to discuss and compromise,” noted Ms. Brown.
Following the IB exams, seniors will finish their long journey on May 24 with school-sponsored planned activities and celebrate their graduation on May 30.