STOCKTON, Calif. — As the final bell rings, reminding students to switch classes at Stockton's Lincoln High School, the classroom doors are locked. Meanwhile, campus supervisors and administrators outside of the classrooms take to the sidewalks and hallways rounding up students who are late to class.
The new operation called a "tardy sweep" by school administrators, is part of increased tardy policy enforcement by the school after they say students racked in more than 18,000 tardies in just the fall semester of the 2021-2022 school year.
"Students returning from distance learning were struggling to get to class on time," Lincoln Unified School District said in a statement to ABC10. "We recently initiated the Tardy Sweep program at Lincoln High School to address a back-to-school problem of students showing up late for their classes."
According to data from the school district, 1,990 of the 2,987 students enrolled at Lincoln High School recorded at least one tardy during the fall semester, which ran between Aug. 5 and Dec. 17.
Collectively, around 67% of students enrolled in the school contributed to a total of 18,731 tardies reported during the first five months of the school year- a concerning number according to school district officials and teachers.
The most popular classes students arrived to late were first and second periods, according to the school district.
"Many students were tardy multiple periods per day," the school district's statement said. "Lincoln High Administration met with the following educational partners to seek insight into the issue and possible solutions: students, staff, parents and district leadership."
In consultation with the high school's community and leadership, administrators created and rolled out their tardy sweep program.
During a tardy sweep, which teachers are informed of in advance through a staff bulletin, teachers are asked to lock classroom doors at the final bell as students transition from class to class.
After the classroom doors are locked during a tardy sweep, campus supervisors and administrators escort students showing up to class late, to the school's lecture hall.
According to the school district, in the lecture hall, students are counseled on the importance of being on time to class, issued detention and sent to class as a notification is sent to their parents.
"Through our Tardy Sweep program, we aim to remind our students of the long-term benefits that will come from maximizing their learning time at Lincoln High School," the statement said. "This program was designed to be an informative and productive way to improve the educational environment for all students and staff on campus."
Since the program went into effect in January, the school district says it has recorded 4,263 tardies as of Mar.11. While the tardy sweep program has already resulted in a drop in tardies so far in the spring semester, school district officials say the operation is only part of the solution.
"In addition to enforcing our attendance policies, we also aim to make class time interesting and engaging so our students will not want to miss their instruction," the statement said. "We remind our teachers and staff to develop positive relationships with our students, and to prioritize students’ mental health."
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