By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: tardies
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Thursday, March 8, 2018

PBIS and Tardies

One of our customers told us about a surprise success. They had purchased Behavior Manager mainly because they had a big problem with tardies. They had started using our tardy station and enabling teachers to do one-click tardies when a student walked into class late. They had also implemented tardy rules so students were warned or automatically assigned consequences immediately.

A couple of weeks after starting to use the system, one administrator encountered another in the hall between classes. He asked, "Did the bell ring? I didn't hear it." The other admin answered, "No, not yet." The first asked, "Where is everybody?" The second answered, "They're in class."

The main benefit from Behavior Manager's tardy system is that it's easy and consistent. Students quickly learn that they aren't going to get away with tardies so they make it a priority to get to class.

Another benefit of equal importance is that the tardy system doesn't add any more lost instruction time than what the student has already lost by being late. It doesn't make sense to tell a student arriving late to class to march down to the office to get a tardy pass. That's just more lost instruction time. Rather, the teacher taps a link, the student is marked as tardy, the tardy rule fires based on the number of tardies recorded and assigns the student a consequence such as a warning or detention. But he doesn't miss additional instruction time.

Here's how we recommend you use Behavior Manager most effectively for reducing tardies.

  • Teach the school expectations for attendance and on-time and ready arrival.
  • Assign consequences consistently and automatically. Do not automatically apply serious consequences such as suspensions. They should be handled face-to-face.
  • If you're having tardy-to-school problems, talk with the parents. Stress the importance of on-time arrival at PTA meetings as well as individual meetings. Also stress that on-time student attendance is essential to student success.
  • If you're having a lot of late-to-class problems, look for systemic problems like crowded hallways, traffic jams or delays associated with lockers.
  • Try hallway sweeps where admins and planning period teachers walk the halls encouraging students to get to class on time or citing tardiness through their phone immediately in the hallway.
If taking these steps still leave you with too many tardies, it's time to gather some data. Why are these students late? Have students caught tardy fill out a form to learn more about the reasons. An example form is shown here.

Have the student indicate all reasons that they are tardy to class


    • Talking with Friends 
    • Trouble with peers 
    • Overslept 
    • Illness 
    • At locker/cafeteria 
    • Trouble at home 
    • Don’t sign in 
    • Off-campus lunch


    • Late leaving class
    • Don’t like class 
    • Class too difficult 


    • Day of week 
    • Transportation 
    • Parking 
    • Location of class 
    • Passing time too short 
    • Bathroom 
    • Bells/clocks 

Other: __________________________


Typically, the majority of your tardy problems will be effectively handled by setting expectations and having a system that's easy and consiistent for dealing with tardies that does not cause an ever greater loss of instruction time, i.e., Behavior Manager.

See our One-Click Tardy Station in action

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Keywords: tardies, Behavior Manager, PBIS

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