Some city teachers failing at taking attendance

Mar 27, 2014

Distinguished Educator Judy Elliott informed the Buffalo School Board Wednesday night on attendance issues in city schools.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Buffalo Public School principals and teachers are going to be notified they have to take classroom attendance, once the memo completes its path through the City Hall bureaucracy.

It was part of a much longer report Wednesday night at the school board meeting from the state-appointed distinguished educator Judy Elliott.

Elliott told the board many teachers are not following the rules for taking attendance. That includes counting students in home room in elementary schools and home room and all classes in high school.

On a new computer system, it shows up immediately with red and green for each teacher and each period showing whether students have been counted or not.

She told the board some principals focus on it more than others.

"I don't think it's rocket science," said Associate Superintendent Will Keresztes.

"People have been taking attendance in schools for 150 years in public education. So, I think what we had was a situation where through the effort or really looking at the schools and what's going on, we discovered that some principals may not be giving it the attention that they need. We are now going to make sure that they do."

It was not clear why it's taking so long for the memo to be prepared and sent out. Elliott says some principals have their smart phones programmed to say if a class is being counted and a teacher can be reminded instantly.

Board Member Theresa Harris-Tigg says she doesn't understand the current approach to taking attendance. Prior to becoming a college professor, Harris-Tigg says she always took attendance during her time as a city English teacher.