DC schools plan changes to attendance and graduation requirements

WASHINGTON — Chronic absenteeism might not automatically prevent a student from getting promoted or graduating under a series of new rules proposed by the D.C. Public Schools.

The proposed changes would remove a rule that said 10 unexcused absences in a quarter would automatically lead to a failing grade.

An investigation by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education found that some schools were still graduating students who had excessive absences.

“When we first learned that our policies were not being followed, we put a process in place to get to the bottom of what happened and fix what wasn’t working,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in a news release. “The proposed changes reflect the feedback of students, staff and families and will allow us to better support our school communities.”

Some of the other proposed changes include:

  • More flexibility with school schedules that allow individual schools the opportunity to build school days that meet the needs of its students and school community
  • A system of “early-warning” notifications to help students get back on chance
  • A streamlined grade appeals process
  • Teachers to provide clearer guidance on make up work policies

“Creating clear standards all students must meet to graduate and holding all stakeholders accountable is key to ensuring our students graduate prepared for college, career, and life,” said DCPS Interim Chancellor Dr. Amanda Alexander in a news release.

The impact of the changes will be studied for the next four months before anything is made permanent.

The school system is also asking for the public’s feedback on the proposed changes. People can submit feed back on the school system’s website or attend two community forums on July 19 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.


Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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