Open Forum

Attendance policy

  • 1.  Attendance policy

    Posted 02-03-2020 11:28

    Hello all!

    I was just wondering if anyone had an attendance policy they would like to share. I know we all try to teach responsibility, but I have been having a problem with kids being absent. Sickness is fine, but more often than not it's "My mom scheduled an appointment for such and such." My rehearsals are 3 days a week, 3 hours a day. I purposely schedule them so they can do other things on the off days. I have told them that and the parents that. However, on their audition sheets, they put "no known conflicts" or something similar. Plus, if they are absent, even for a reason like sickness, they don't email me until either 5 minutes before rehearsal or not at all. I have tried to set up plans in place, but there's nothing that I have liked. I don't do understudies or double casting because I am not a fan of that, honestly.
    I would love to see what any of you all do, and how it's handled by your parents, etc. I have a limited window between casting and rehearsals, and I typically have about 40 kids in my program.

    Karen Wiebe
    Drama Director
    Burlington KY

  • 2.  RE: Attendance policy

    Posted 02-03-2020 13:07
    We have battled the same problem and started doing interviews as part of the application process.  Students fill out applications for Student Leadership, Acting and Crews and these include a conflict calendar.  I actually print out a calendar and put all potential workdays and ask students to highlight days they have conflicts with, later I come back with a production calendar with all work scheduled - often taking their conflicts into consideration to minimize absences as much as possible.  Everything is signed by student and parents. Then the Sponsors meet with every student individually to go over their application and conflicts.
    This process is without a doubt time consuming and a lot of work up front - we usually have 50 students per production (give or take) and interviews take about 2-5 minutes each, but it's huge in terms of the educational part of educational theatre.  We schedule 3 sessions as part of our audition process.  It has been a game changer for me - I have the one on one opportunity to talk to each student who wants to be involved, I get issues ironed out up front (for the most part), and have an opportunity to have private conversations with every kiddo.  I see you haven't marked any conflicts, so I can count on you to schedule around these show days and be present at all of them, right?  Why do I think you are ready for leadership?  What do I think you need to work on to gain a stage role?  What do I think you need to practice to become a designer?  Why I can't put you on the team yet.
    It hasn't eliminated the absences altogether, but it has given me the structure to address them more consistently when they happen.  ...yesterday was not a scheduled absence for you and I didn't get an email, what happened?   And then work out from there.

    Amy Learn
    Ballwin MO

  • 3.  RE: Attendance policy

    Posted 02-04-2020 06:39
    We have the same problem because we are a small catholic school and they're over involved.

    I set up a conflict calendar that they fill out on google docs. We have a 24 hour policy-if it's on there 24 hours or less you have to communicate it to me or my assistant director and we deem if it's reasonable (usually it is just wanna scare them a bit)

    Sickness- I dont have all of them in class so I use this example: one student emailed me at 544 am to tell me she was sick and not coming to school. If she can do it so can all of you.

    Finally, we have a 3 strikes you're out. 3 tardies is one strike. Unexcused, late responses, or no shows are strikes. Just had to let a person go yesterday.

    Overall, it's hard, but if you want your show to succeed you gotta weed out those people who arent dedicated.

    Kelly Bourget
    Schererville IN

  • 4.  RE: Attendance policy

    Posted 02-04-2020 13:27
    On going problem with varying degrees of success in mitigating it. Different solutions provide different results in different years. When I had a larger percentage who were considering theatre as a career path, the "3 strikes and you're out rule" was effective.
    We also do contracts and have a parent meeting at the beginning of each production. What I've found is that the parents are sometimes to blame for the students' absences because they will schedule a Dr's/Therapist/family outing and won't necessarily let the student's know until later. I stress to the parents that any conflict should be noted as soon as they know so we can plan accordingly. During notes, the SM usually mentions it. They have seen me remove students for attendance issues so they know that I'm serious about it. That's probably the biggest factor there.
    I also let them know that the repercussions go beyond one show:  if I've had a problem with your attendance in the past, you will find yourself with a smaller role or no role later on.
    This year, attendance has been more of an issue than last year so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, either.

    Roger Winn
    Theatre Director
    Golden CO