Town Square

PUSD board discusses 'significant' attendance drop on first day of school

Original post made on Aug 31, 2020

Remote learning started recently at Pleasanton Unified School District but a large number of students were missing from online classes the first day of school, staff reported at the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 30, 2020, 4:49 PM


Posted by LanceM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2020 at 10:49 am

LanceM is a registered user.

The writing isn't very clear to me. Were 600 students actually absent? Is it some combination of absentee and less students (article says 400 less students)? How many students are normally (or last year) absent the first day? I don't see how you compare and say there are less kids in attendance this year than last year without knowing how many students were enrolled each year but I don't see the numbers. How many had technical issues? How many teachers made errors on attendance due to new policies? And somehow PUSD goes through the entire enrollment process yet students that didn't enroll are still in classes (they were in PUSD last year).

"A total of 14,500 secondary students logged on Aug. 11" - aren't there about 14,500 students in the district? How did we get 14,500 secondary students?

Posted by Pton quilter
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 31, 2020 at 5:52 pm

Pton quilter is a registered user.

The guidelines for attendance coming from the state require the teacher check a person is logged in at the beginning and end of class in order to correctly calculate the number of minutes the person is in attendance (which drives how the school district gets paid). In many cases a child may log in at the beginning of class, then walk away from their computer and not participate in class, many times forgetting to log off when the class is over. This is considered to be an absence, since the whole idea of being in class relies on class participation in the discussion and answering questions during the time frame.

Between this type of situation and technical issues (such as inability to log in, slow response time, signing in via phone without a picture and failing to talk while in class. or the teacher being unable to do this tracking as in PE where they are away from their computers), the attendance folks are showing higher than average absences. Each absence has to be tracked down for each class and be determined if it is in truth an absence or some other problem. The school district is still establishing the final practical guidelines on what an online attendance is and is not.

I know this because I have a friend who is an attendance secretary and is currently slammed with issues trying to work this out with her school. Throw into this mix the usual personality issues when dealing with multiple people doing something completely unknown and you can see that problems are erupting like crazy. Eventually there will be a set of practical processes to follow, but the teachers are not there yet.

Good point to ponder: the schools are being open about the issues and situations causing difficulties, so down the road we can expect this number to dramatically fall as everyone becomes adept at online teaching.

Posted by Jake Water
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 31, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Jake Water is a registered user.

Let’s get the kids back into the classroom immediately and perhaps the schools can salvage this train wreck going forward. I know first hand this is a bad idea and the teachers are not prepared for it, nor are the parents. Both students and their families are going to suffer the outcome of an unnecessary order. The students are the victim of a political strategy to address the election. Stop pretending this was a good idea.

Posted by Jeremy Walsh
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2020 at 8:16 am

Jeremy Walsh is a registered user.

Thank you for your questions, LanceM. We've updated our article after further examination. The previous version incorrectly conflated enrollment and attendance data from the PUSD board's discussion. District staff said enrollment on the first day of school was about 400 students fewer than one year before. We regret the error.