Administrators Howling at New Policy

Being present and on time for school has never been more important than it is now. Previously, it was easy to replace an unexcused absence for an excused absence. It was easy for teachers to change a mistake in their attendance even weeks after the mistake was made. All of that is changing this school year with the implementation of the new Live Data policy.
The Live Data policy changes the way administration gets information, such as attendance and new enrollments to the main office. Previously, the information was sent out to the main office every 40 days, leaving time for mistakes to be corrected and changes to be made. This is why the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) opted to change the policy. Now, all the data goes out to the main office daily, around four in the afternoon. This is why teachers must be sure all of their attendance is complete by the end of the day and also why students now have to put in their ID numbers to get meals.
Aside from the stress that the policy puts on teachers to be absolutely correct in all of their data, the new policy creates another source of stress for teachers and administration. Having to input the data by a specific time can often interfere with teachers’ normal schedules, causing them to either fall behind or lose track of what they were working on. The deadlines are extremely inflexible.
On the other hand, having the daily input helps to make sure that all of the data that is submitted is correct. This prevents faculty from having to go back to check 40 days’ worth of information because they only have to check the information for that day.
The new policy applies to the entire state of New Mexico, and was introduced quite abruptly with little time for New Mexico teachers and administration to learn how it works. As this is its first year, it may or may not continue into other years based on its efficiency this year.
Though the Live Data policy makes keeping track of things easier at the main office, it is causing chaos for teachers and administration at Chaparral High School. According to Janet Sustaita, the sports data entry clerk at Chaparral High, though data can still be changed days after it is input, a record is kept that reflects poorly on the teachers and administration.
These reports are causing schools statewide to become even stricter about students and teachers having correct attendance. The state expects a 95 percent attendance rate for schools, and when it is shown in the report that there are a lot of absences and that students are having to make up hours, it reflects poorly on the school as a whole.
“It is really important for both students and teachers to be present,” said Sustaita, “It affects not only them, but it affects the whole school.”

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