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Consequences for students who miss concerts

I'm a high school choir director interested in hearing how other directors handle student absences from required events. Ours include concerts at school, some after school or evening rehearsals, some off-campus events-from 2 for the beginning group to maybe 5 for the top choir. Reasons for missing range from conflicts with athletics, college visits, parents who make out-of-town plans, illness, and emergencies like car trouble, last-minute lack of transportation.  School policy is "academics take precedence over athletics" but every parent is convinced  that his/'her situation should be the exception. Absences are not epidemic, but I feel hard-pressed to give a zero to a track star hoping for a scholarship because she was to participate in the Penn Relays. All ideas welcome!
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on May 26, 2013 9:12am
Welcome to high school...! Our campus has a conflict policy on book stating exactly how students handle conflicts between atheletic and acdamemic events. Since we put this in place a year ago I haven't had any issues with atheletic events. Other things, like major family events (weddings, etc) are another issue. I have a conflict policy that states that students must apply to have their conflict approved 30 days before the concert or they forfeit the grade, and since performances amount to exams, the grades associated with them are hefty. (Last minute things, like illness or a death in the family I handle on a case by case basis.) If the student has a conflict approved then they are allowed to do a makeup assignment. 
There will always be conflicts and kids who on occasion don't show up for a concert, the thing that will save your sanity in the long run is to have an iron clad policy in place that is in your syllabus, that your administration is supportive of, and the kids' parents have to sign. When I have a student that misses something or a parent who emails as the last minute to say their kid can't attend for some reason I just zap them back a scanned copy of the contract they signed, a link to the policy on our website and CC the vice principal. It usually solves the problem quite quickly.
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