State compulsory attendance laws generally require all children between the ages of six and 19 to attend school each day that school is in session. A student who is younger than six and has ever been enrolled in the first grade is required to attend school. Once a parent enrolls a child in kindergarten or pre-kindergarten, the child is required to attend school that school year.
A student who voluntarily remains enrolled after the age of 19 is required to attend school. A student who is at least 19 years old and under the age of 21 will be required to attend school until the end of the school year.
If a 19-year-old student has more than five unexcused absences in a semester, we may revoke his or her enrollment for the rest of the school year, but will not take such action on a day when the student is physically present at school. We will issue a warning notice to the student after the third unexcused absence that enrollment may be revoked for the remainder of the school year if the student has more than five unexcused absences in a semester.
If we revoke enrollment, the student will be treated as an unauthorized person and may be arrested for trespassing if he or she comes on school property.
Regular attendance is critical to your child’s success in school. It is also critical to the school district’s success because it is a factor in the district and campus rating under the state accountability system and is a significant factor in the amount of state financial aid the district is entitled to receive.
School officials aggressively enforce the state compulsory attendance laws. If your child, age 12 or older, is absent three or more days or partial days during a four-week period, but has not had absences that would require a referral to truancy court, we will implement truancy prevention measures in hope of minimizing the need to refer your child to truancy court. If your child age 12 or older is absent from school on 10 or more days or partial days within a six-month period in the same school year, you will be referred for prosecution for contributing to truancy and your child will be referred to truancy court, unless the truancy is a result of your child’s pregnancy, assignment to a state foster program, homelessness, or being the principal income earner for your family.
You will be notified when your child has three unexcused absences within a four-week period or less to advise you that you must monitor your child’s attendance, to inform you that you may be prosecuted, and to request a conference to discuss the absences. Every day that a child is out of school in violation of compulsory attendance laws is a separate offense. You may be assessed a fine for each offense and may also be ordered to participate in a class designed to help you make sure your child attends school as required.
Of course, there are times that children are sick or have other legitimate reasons for being absent from school. Regardless of the age of your child, if she or he is sick and will not be at school that day, you should call the school office to let them know of the absence. Whenever a child is absent from school for any reason, she or he should bring a note signed by you explaining the reason for the child’s absence within three days of the day she or he returns to school. The principal or someone acting for the principal will make the final decision whether an absence is classified as excused or unexcused. A doctor’s note may be required if excessive parent excuse notes are submitted.
If the child does not bring a signed note, the absence will be classified as unexcused. Students ordinarily will not be permitted to make up missed work for credit if the absence is unexcused.
Although students who are married are legally adults, this fact does not mean that they are not legally required to attend school until they are age 19. We will work aggressively with local authorities to make sure that all students who are within compulsory attendance requirements come to school.
Doctor and Dental Appointments: Absences for appointments with doctors, dentists, orthodontists, physical therapists, and other health care professionals will be classified as excused absences if the student returns to school on the same day as the appointment and presents a note from the health care provider stating the time of the appointment and the time the student left the doctor’s office. If the appointment is at the end of the school day and the student has been at school all day up to that time, the absence will be excused if the student brings a note from the health care provider the following day. These excused absences include those for a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to attend appointments with health care practitioners to receive a generally recognized service for persons with that diagnosis, such as applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. This provision also applies to excuse the absences of students who are parents and are absent to take the student’s child for a medical appointment.
Religious Holidays: Absences for religious holy days, including up to two days of travel time if necessary, will be classified as excused absences.
Court Appearances: Absences for required court appearances will be classified as excused absences upon presentation to the campus attendance official of a copy of the document requiring the student’s appearance in court.
Foster Care Activities: Absences for court-required activities attendant to the student’s being in foster care will be classified as excused absences upon presentation to the campus attendance official of a copy of the document requiring the student’s attendance at the activities, provided it is not practicable to schedule the activity outside of school hours. Absences are also excused if they are required under a foster care service plan.
Sounding “Taps” at a Veteran’s Funeral: Absences by students in grades 6-12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a veteran’s funeral with military honors may be excused upon verification that the student provided the service noted.
Citizenship/Naturalization Activities: Absences for appearing at a government office to complete citizenship application paperwork and for taking part in a United States naturalization oath ceremony will be excused upon verification of the student’s participation.
Military Deployment: No more than five absences in a school year for visiting with a student’s parent, stepparent, or legal guardian who is on active duty and who is called to duty for, on leave from, or immediately returned from a continuous deployment of at least four months away from the person’s regular residence will be excused. The absences must occur not earlier than 60 days before the date of deployment or 30 days after the date of return from deployment.
Election Clerk Activities: Students who are serving as election clerks or early voting clerks may receive a maximum of two excused absences in a school year for such activities.
ATTENDANCE AND CREDIT
Separate and apart from the compulsory attendance requirements, students in all grade levels K-12 must attend school a certain amount of time in order to get credit or a final grade for a class. State law generally requires students to be “in attendance” for at least 90 percent of the days or minutes a class is taught during a semester or year. All absences from class, excused or unexcused, are counted in determining whether a student has met attendance requirements for credit or a final grade.
Students who are in attendance in a class at least 75% of the days or minutes but less than 90% are eligible to receive credit or a final grade if they complete a plan approved by the principal providing for the student to meet the instructional requirements for the class. Students who are under the jurisdiction of a court in a criminal or juvenile justice proceeding must also obtain the court’s consent before credit may be granted.
In the 2016-17 school year, we require students to be in a class for 68 days in the Fall Semester and 91 days in the Spring Semester to meet the 90% attendance for credit requirements. Each campus has an attendance committee that will review student attendance records. If the committee decides that extenuating circumstances prevented a student from meeting the minimum attendance for credit standard or fulfilling the principal’s plan for meeting instructional requirements, the committee can award credit or tell the student what additional work, additional time, or both time and work must be completed in order for the student to get credit for the grade level or course. We offer a Saturday school program as one way students can make up time and ordinarily will charge a fee for participating in that program. If your child needs this program, the principal will provide complete information about the times and cost before your child is assigned.
Saturday School will be offered on the following Saturdays from 8:00 – 12:00. There is a fee of $25.00 per student per Saturday.
You will be notified when your child is in danger of losing credit because of absences and will have the chance to meet with the attendance committee to discuss your child’s situation.
When the tardy bell rings, students should be in their seats. Students not in their seat should be counted tardy.