Middleton’s Tardy Policy: The Second Phase

Rajeshwari Rawal

In response to increased tardiness and absenteeism among the student body, the Middleton High School (MHS) administration doubled down on their efforts to more accurately report tardies and actively aid students in becoming successful citizens. 

The second phase of the tardy policy was announced to students in the Dec. 19, 2022, Monday Memo. (Rajeshwari Rawal )

Included in the Dec. 19, 2022 Monday Memo, the administration announced a change to the tardy policy, which now includes tracking tardies for all blocks, as opposed to previous tracking in the first block of the day and the block after lunch. The tracking system made the change when more students were noted late to or absent in many classes throughout the day; the frequency of tardiness, as well as increased hallway loitering, prompted the administration to review their method of managing tardiness. The Dean team partnered with Student Services, the principals and teachers to introduce a policy that better fit MHS’s needs.

“We saw that a lot of students that were [late to their first class and third class of the day] were also late to other classes during the day,” said Erik Johnson, Dean of Students. These students were also having frequent issues with missing assignments dropping grades, leading the administration team to decide they “need to be tracking tardies more than just before school and after lunch.” 

The management policy is as follows:

0-2 tardies for the week: No action is taken

3 tardies for the week: Email is sent home

4 tardies for the week: Families receive a phone call from a Dean of Students

5+ tardies for the week: Student spends a day in the Alternative Learning Environment under teacher supervision

Students who maintain zero tardies throughout the week are placed into a prize drawing with the chance to win rewards such as a gift card to places like Culver’s, Kwik Trip and more.

Johnson explained that the increased tracking of tardies is vital to making sure that the administration knows the location of every student in the building for safety purposes. MHS is no stranger to unsafe occurrences; incidents like the active threat in January 2022 demonstrate the need for student-administration cooperation. When students are tardy, their location is unknown to the administration. Knowing where everyone is in a building of over 2,000 students is a crucial component of safety. 

Another reason behind the revised policy is to prepare students for life in the classroom and beyond. Class attendance and timeliness are practices that will prepare students well for their future. 

“My main statement for students is that [this new policy] is not designed to be punitive, it’s designed to encourage behaviors that will help you be successful later on,” Johnson said. 

Johnson hopes that emphasizing punctuality will help students positively engage with their learning environment and better understand the expectations that come with employment or post-secondary education. 

The new tardy policy helps students to develop successful habits for their future. (Keira Marckel)

Administration has already noticed positive changes resulting from the new policy. Ninety-six percent  of students receive only three or fewer tardies per week. Additionally, students who have been put in the Alternative Learning Environment after five or more tardies have seen their grades increase, especially because the designated work time allowed them to complete their missing work. 

“It’s helping more students in our school succeed and turn their grades around which is really encouraging,” Johnson reflected. 

If students know they are going to be tardy for a class based on certain circumstances, it is important that they communicate with their teachers beforehand. Since teachers have different ways they count tardies, students should be aware of their teacher’s policies and make sure they understand the expectations for each class.  Johnson believes these values of responsibility and accountability extend outside of school as well. 

“If you can build the skill and habit of being on time to things, you’re going to hold jobs better, and be better people in the community,” Johnson said. “And that’s what I want Middleton to be known for. I want people in the community and people in the state of Wisconsin saying ‘That kid came from Middleton. They’re good stuff.’ That makes everyone’s diplomas worth more.”

Students can reference the second phase of the tardy policy in the Dec. 19 Monday Memo or in the information released during Semester 2’s Cardinal Kickoff. For more information and details, contact one of the MHS counselors.