A case study of secondary school leaders' perceptions of attendance policies and procedures used to increase attendance
Nationwide, pressures from outside influences such as politicians and educational policy makers are placing schools in precarious situations to make drastic changes in attendance policies to meet state accountability standards. The researcher used interviews and a focus group with school leaders, and archival data to find common themes which were then viewed through the conceptual underpinning of accountability. This case study adds to the field of education a deeper understanding of school leaders' perspectives on the impact attendance accountability standards have on the overall effectiveness of school improvement. The findings suggest: the new proportional attendance policy is detrimental to a school leaders' ability to focus on other school improvement practices while creating negative unintended consequences for schools and students; incentives and punitive consequences have short-term success while decaying school-family relationships; and district-wide and community awareness programs seemed to have the greatest impact on long term attendance improvement. Based on these findings, the following three practices should be implemented by districts: Systematic monitoring of attendance data, the use of low cost incentives and simple rewards, and the implementation of district-wide engagement and education of family and community awareness programs.
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