The Why Archive: Attendance


Josh Hone, Co-Editor

Day after Day, we sit in this old building. We grind and grind and grind away doing busy work. Random Facts are pounded into our brain while the important stuff slips away. Everything is pain and misery disguised as the drudgery of equations, essays, electives, and other things that probably don’t start with the letter E. However, if we have done our best, and we have A’s, then we should earn a break, right? 

Wrong. We don’t earn a break. We’re still required to be here the same amount of time as students who are barely passing, and even they might barely be passing because they weren’t at school. How is that fair? How could this travesty keep occurring? How could this be happening to us? We put in the work, and yet we don-

Whoa. First off, chill. I didn’t write that to be read in that aggressive of a tone. Second, I happen to have an answer for you. This was a fairly intimidating topic, mainly because I wasn’t just interviewing teachers, but the counselors, the dean of students, one of the principals, and even the Assistant superintendent (although the last option was conducted over email). Each one of these articles was helpful in its own right, so thank you Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Eldridge, Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Lance, and Mr. Wilson. Now then, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Why Archive!

On the 22nd of September, I talked a little about why we have a geometry class. That article can be found here. However, the next topic, the one that will be published on the 20th, is still not decided. If you’d like to offer a suggestion for topics, you can email me at [email protected], post a comment on the bottom of this page, stop me in the halls, talk to Mrs. Gerardi in room 511, or smoke signals (please make sure that your smoke signals are in standard woodsmoke, otherwise my translation service has a hard time picking out what you’re trying to say). Anyway, that little message out of the way, let’s dive into the Archive and figure out why attendance matters if you have good grades.

Short Answer: The government says so.

Now, don’t you go clicking off this page just because you think that I’ve already handed you the answer. There’s more to this topic than can be covered in a single 4 word sentence. Ultimately, it comes down to two parts: Accreditation and Funding. 

Accreditation is a really fancy way of saying “The piece of paper you give students at the end of four years actually means something”. It means that your diploma actually counts as a diploma. That you didn’t just waste 4 years of your life. If BHS wasn’t accredited, then all you’d get at the end of four years was a neat looking paper that basically means the same as that piece of scratch paper from your math homework: Zilch. 

In order for a school to be accredited, they have to have students present for 90% of the time. That’s why you don’t receive credit if you miss more than 5 days of school. Fun fact from Mrs. Eldridge: Driving Privileges are also tied to your attendance. “There are attendance requirements for having your license. It can be either revoked, (or) suspended, or you might not receive your license if you have attendance issues with the school”.  Basically, because both the school system and drivers licenses are run by the state, someone decided to connect them. So if you don’t comply with the attendance policy, you will lose your ability to drive legally.

The second main reason that we need to have attendance is because state funding is attached to it. Like Mr. Wilson said: “The state legislature under Idaho Code 33 is responsible for funding of Idaho Schools. This year the legislature appropriated $8,376 per student. When we take 100 students and multiply by $8,376, the district would receive $837,600 if those students had 100% attendance ($8,376 x 100 = $837,600). Until recently, the state has funded us using what is called average daily attendance (ADA). That means if the district had 93% ADA we would receive $778,968 ($837,600 x .93 = $778,968) a loss of $58,632 for every 100 students in the district. Over the past couple of years, the State Board of Education has adjusted funding based on enrollment instead of ADA because of issues caused by the pandemic. We are hopeful the legislature will make this a permanent change in the upcoming session.” 

Basically, for the 1319 students, there’s about 11 million dollars that the school could potentially get. But if we have 300 of those students gone, then they only get about 8 million dollars. That’s a pretty significant amount of money that can go to improving life at the school.

However, there are more than just the logical reasons. We have four years before we’re adults with responsibilities beyond just the next essay. Like Mr. Wilson said, “High school is not just about grades and getting a diploma. Those are important and many colleges and careers require a high school diploma. High school should be about being a part of something bigger than yourself. Each class shares the highs and lows of what occurs during a school year. They go through and share the high points of cheering one another on during assemblies and performances as well as the low points of a pandemic or losing a classmate. That is why it is important to ‘show up’ and be a part of that bigger picture”.

Showing up to high school is a lot more than just the draining slog of busy work. It’s about making the most of the last years of your childhood. It’s about making those memories that you can look back on and say “I was such a stupid teenager.” or “those were the good old days.” The memories you make here will never be able to be replaced. 

I’d like to close this with another quote from Mr. Wilson:

“Show up to school. Show up to laugh and cry with friends. Show up to participate in activities. Show up to learn the things you want and need. Show up for the concerts and performances.  Show up to try new things. Show up to participate and enjoy high school”.