“Seat time” at Timber Creek is a process to receive lost credit hours due to unexcused absences. Students are required to sit in a class for the needed amount of hours to make up their seat time. A student can only miss eight days of school a year due to only being able to miss nine first and fifth periods and four of each block schedule period.
“Students have to earn their 90 percent of attendance and credit hours, even if they have good grades and are passing, to graduate high school according to the state of Texas,” Shawn Elliott, Timber Creek Assistant Principal, commented.
Most students become upset when they realize they have seat time even when they have been in school for a majority of the year. Students then begin to find it acceptable to skip classes and miss days of school because they believe they can simply make up their absences through the seat time system causing it to be ineffective.
Students will be informed of their seat time by administration, and receive a “green sheet.” Teachers must sign this paper when students make up their seat time to verify it has been completed. It is a fairly laid back system, where some teachers will sign off without a student fulfilling their seat time, or some students will even skip their current classes to make up time from years prior. The primary reason for this is because hours made up during school count as double the amount owed. However, this practice resolves little issues for the student, and only adds to their truancy.
“It’s not gonna happen and it shouldn’t be allowed,” Donnie Bartlett, Timber Creek Principal, said.
This creates a vicious cycle of students missing material to sit into classes they aren’t supposed to be in. Students are only allowed to make up seat time during their lunch period and during off periods if applicable.
“Teachers shouldn’t allow students to make up seat time with them unless it’s a senior who has those class periods off and they aren’t interrupting class,” Bartlett commented.
Students completing their seat time don’t learn any material they missed but rather sit idly by. Students don’t learn new information when they miss class because they feel as if will confuse them if a teacher doesn’t teach it to them. Although, many teachers put what they do in class the day the students missed on Edmodo and/or Canvas. However, many students do not put in the effort to learn the missed information themselves, which leads to lower grades in their classes.
“The state ranks every school based on demographics. We are in the bottom 25% due to our attendance rate. The more students we have in attendance, the more we get paid to spend on technology and such,” Bartlett explained.
If Timber Creek earns more funds based on attendance, the funds can be used to buy new technology for the Career and Technical Education department and other classes. A solution for the seat time dilemma is to create an effective system by making it mandatory to sit in or volunteer in that missed class. Teachers could always use help grading, cleaning up their room or tutoring other students before/after school and sometimes during lunch. Having seat time being made up with the teacher whose class they missed, forces the students to see what they missed and learn something, which would help them greatly in their educational career and get them to graduate with their designated class.
“A happy school comes to school,” Bartlett said, “My goal is to have no student left behind.”
This story is an editorial written by a group of Talon Opinion Editors. It represents a researched and informed opinion collected through interviews, research, student observations and experiences. We invite other Timber Creek students to share their opinions in the comments section below. Please keep comments on topic (Seat Time) and refrain from personal attacks. All comments are moderated before they are posted.