Carlmont changes its asynchronous attendance policy


Rebecca Von Tersch

Rather than teachers logging attendance this semester, Canvas sends a report that helps attendance clerks code a student as absent or present in Infinite Campus. “You put that pressure on the district, and our attendance clerks, then you’re supporting the teachers and the students,” Patner said.

A new semester usually brings new routines, and this semester is introducing a new attendance procedure.

Rather than sticking with the same Wednesday routine as the first semester of this school year, Carlmont is implementing a new attendance policy.

Last semester on asynchronous Wednesdays, students would log into Canvas and do short check-in assignments for attendance. Teachers would then log attendance for the day based on whether the student turned in their work.

“[The procedure] was a district-level decision based on the fact that teachers have been struggling with taking attendance on Wednesdays,” said Gregg Patner, Carlmont’s vice-principal.

The new procedure requires students to perform activities within the website. This activity includes anything on the site, from submitting assignments and opening calendars to just logging in to the website.

“The District and their tech department were able to find a report in Canvas that tracks student activity. That report is downloaded and then given to the attendance clerks, who can code a student as absent or present [in Infinite Campus] based on their activity,” said Ralph Crame, Carlmont’s principal.

Students find that this new procedure is making their Wednesday routine easier. They have fewer assignments due because their teachers are no longer responsible for asynchronous attendance.

“I have a lot less work to do because a lot of my teachers would require me to submit a survey or something similar. But sometimes I don’t have any assignments to do, so I have to submit a future homework assignment,” Milad Brown, junior, said.

Although there is less work for students, there is an adjusted deadline. Students now have to submit assignments by 2:30 p.m., as if they were doing work during synchronous classes.

Students and teachers will not have to worry about attendance with the new procedure. (Rebecca Von Tersch)

“I feel less stressed every Wednesday, but I want teachers to make assignments due at 11:59 p.m. instead of at 2:30 p.m. If we aren’t taking attendance from assignments, I don’t see why not,” Lotus Tang, sophomore, said.

According to Patner, the system is designed to support teachers and measure how engaged students are before 2:30 p.m.

“If a student is not engaged, not coming to class and not doing their work, it will impact them. It’s on the school to support the students and encourage them to be successful and do their work. I don’t see this [procedure] negatively impacting students,” Partner said.

In fact, the new changes are likely to positively affect student attendance, as there is less room for error within the system. However, some students are concerned that glitches in the Canvas report will mark them absent.

“I wish there were a way I could check, like an indicator or something, just in case [the system] messes up, and you don’t know until your parents get the phone call,” said sophomore Aiden Abrari.

While this new routine may run into some future issues, the Carlmont administration is sure that the procedure will be effective and that any existing problems will be fixed quickly. According to Crame and Patner, the district expects to use this new procedure for the rest of distance learning.

“Any changes made in the middle of the year are always going to be clunky. And there will be some adjustments that have to be made,” Patner said. “I’m encouraged that this will be the system that will remain for the remainder of the year, or as long as we’re in distance learning.”

Carlmont administration is hopeful that this procedure will be an effective solution for the rest of the year.

“I think [the new procedure] avoids all of the confusion [from last semester], and it just cleans up the process. Teachers can focus on supporting students and the curriculum, and students can focus on learning rather than the attendance because what’s important during this time is the actual learning,” Crame said.