Hall sweeps cause attendance improvements

An administrator announces over the intercom, ‘students, you need to be in class, there will be a hall sweep.’ This procedure began in March in an attempt to combat widespread attendance issues.
The hall sweeps are random, so whenever the bell rings teachers have to lock their doors. Anyone still in the halls must go to their nearest administrator to get a hall pass.
“Students have been tardy over 13,000 times this school year in three quarters,” principal Jeff Litz said.
In addition to tardiness, Litz said the school wants to maximize student learning in preparation for the upcoming IB and SOL testing season.
“It’s important that students are in class on time, getting as much instruction as they can in preparation for those exams,” Litz said.
While Litz said the sweeps may not fully stop tardiness, he said he thinks they will help curb it in the long term.
“I don’t know if [the sweeps] will ever be 100 percent effective,” Litz said. “As penalties rise for kids continuing to be tardy, I think in the long run [they] will be a deterrent. There are a lot of FCPS schools that do these and have found them to be effective.”
Math teacher Courtney Yatteau said she has seen students who are frequently late to class arrive earlier.
“I definitely have seen students getting here closer to the bell,” Yatteau said.
Litz said teachers have expressed their gratitude for this new procedure and said he thinks tardy students can frustrate them.
“Teachers have actually sent me thank you emails,” Litz said. “When they have a student that’s continuously late to class, sometimes [they] take that personally.”
Despite their efficiency, sophomore Nicholas Foster said the hall sweeps end up making students even later to their classes.
“It’s an okay system,” Foster said. “It makes us late to class because we have to stop and get passes. I just feel seven minutes is enough time to get to class.”