Start On Time!

Leyla Kusmider, Reporter

West Anchorage High School’s tardy policy was instituted district wide after 36,000 tardies were reported in West High alone. The policy is called the Start On Time Initiative. It is very straightforward and helps to encourage students to get to class on time.

The policy states that one tardy equals one detention. Students have two lunch periods two serve it. If it is not served within two lunch periods, a work detail will be issued.  

Four years ago, the previous policy was very progressive. Only after a certain amount of tardies was a referral turned into the office, then a decision for detention would be made.

Stanley Engel,better known as Charlie, a security guard at West says “The policy is on par with all the other schools in the Anchorage School District.” He also stated that only about 10 percent of students in the school still struggle to get to class on time, while the other 90 percent have no problem being on time.

As far as the new policy’s effectiveness, Jennifer Ehrheart, West’s staff service and special programs principal says proudly that West’s tardies have decreased dramatically since the new policy has been applied.

Ehrheart noticed the tardy problem when she came to West. She feels that being tardy to class can negatively affect a student’s academic success, noting that when a student walks in late, “It throws the class off kilter.” This not only affects the student that is late, but also the class as a whole.

Both Ehrheart and Engel have realized how vital good attendance is throughout school and in general adult life. Both of them, along with most staff in West all encourage students to pursue as much motivation as possible just to show up to class.

As adults, Engel and Ehrheart have valued the application of good attendance in all of the past workplaces. Ehrheart even remembers having to fire employees at a past job just for being late constantly and hope ASD students can see how poor attendance affects not only school life, but everyday life too.

When asked how he felt about the strict tardy policy, West student Adrian Laymen said, “it’s dumb.” For Laymen, along with other west students, the cause of this tardy policy may be unclear. When asked how he thinks tardies can affect a student’s academic success, Laymen said students may miss something important in class.

As far as the new policy goes, there should now be a good understanding of how the tardy policy has positively affected West’s students and how it works.

The risk of being tardy and its negative effects are very important and should not be irrelevant to any student.