New teachers, new classrooms, new attendance system.
For years District 9 has used the same attendance system. All students are considered present unless marked absent by school staff.
According to Pam Connelly, secretary of Millicoma Intermediate School, this isn’t always followed by teachers. They sometimes get distracted and simply forget to take the attendance.
“The attendance is reported to the state and it’s a focus district-wide,” Connelly said.
The new system defaulted to all students being marked absent, and teachers needing to mark the present students rather than the absent students.
Unfortunately, there was a malfunction with the new system on Sept. 2, the first day of school for students in grades K-8. Phone calls were sent home from the district office saying all students were absent.
Panicked parents filled secretaries’ phones with questions of where their children were.
“I didn’t do anything but answer phones all day,” Connelly said.
While speculations have risen about whether or not it was the administration failing to let teachers know about the situation, or it was simply a system malfunction, it was confirmed to be the computer’s error.
“It was a programmer malfunction,” Jennie Nelson, secretary of Blossom Gulch, said.
The district office has since decided to go back to the traditional attendance system, but making sure taking attendance is being emphasized as a priority for teachers in their buildings.