Attendance Guidelines & Procedures

  • Attendance Overview

    The board recognizes that attendance is an important factor in educational success, and supports a comprehensive approach to identify and address attendance issues.

    As outlined in PR School Board Policy 204, attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in district schools during the days and hours that school is in session, except that a principal or teacher may excuse a student for temporary absences when receiving satisfactory evidence of mental, physical, or other urgent reasons that may reasonably cause the student's absence. Urgent reasons shall be strictly construed and do not permit irregular attendance.

     

    Definition of Legal Absences

    The Board considers the following conditions reasonable cause for absence from school:

    • Illness, including if a student is dismissed by designated district staff during school hours for health-related reasons.
    • Obtaining professional health care or therapy service rendered by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts in any state, commonwealth or territory
    • Quarantine
    • Family Emergency Recovery from accident Required court attendance Death in family
    • Participation in a project sponsored by a statewide or countywide 4-H, FFA or combined 4-H and FFA group, upon prior written request
    • Observance of a religious holiday observed by bona fide religious group, upon prior written parental request Non-school sponsored family educational trips
    • For non-school sponsored trips the following conditions must be met:
      • The person in parental relation submits the required documentation for excusal prior to the absence, within the appropriate timeframe.
      • The student's participation has been approved by the Superintendent or designee.
      • The adult directing and supervising the tour or trip is acceptable to the person in parental relation and the Superintendent.
    • College or postsecondary institution visit, with prior approval

    The school district may limit the number and duration of non-school sponsored education tours, trips, or postsecondary visits for which excused absences may be granted to a student during a school year.
    The following reasons for absence do not count towards the student’s 10  person in parental relation excused absences:

    • Medical excuse provided by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, or school nurse Death in family
    • Observance of a religious holiday observed by bona fide religious group, upon prior written parental request

    Definitions

    • Compulsory school age shall mean the period of a student's life from the time the student's person in parental relation elects to have the student child enter school, and which shall be no later than six years of age until the child reaches 18 years of age. The term does not include a child who holds a certificate of graduation from a regularly accredited, licensed, registered, or approved high school. 
    • Habitually truant shall mean six or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to compulsory school attendance.
    • Truant shall mean having incurred three or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to compulsory school attendance.
    • Person in parental relation shall mean a:
      • Custodial biological or adoptive parent
      • Noncustodial biological or adoptive parent
      • Guardian of the person of a child
      • Person with whom a child lives and who is acting in a parental role of a

    This definition shall not include any county agency or person acting as an agent of the county agency in the jurisdiction of a dependent child as defined by law.

    School-based or community-based attendance improvement program shall mean a program designed to improve school attendance by seeking to identify and address the underlying reasons for a child's absences. The term may include an educational assignment in an alternative education program, provided the program does not include a program for disruptive youth established pursuant to Article XIX-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code.

    Licensed practitioner of the healing arts—An individual licensed by the Commonwealth to practice the healing arts, which for the purposes of this article shall be limited to medicine, surgery, dentistry, osteopathy, podiatry, and chiropractic.

    Full-Day and Partial Day Absence

    Absences shall be treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence to be submitted within three days of the absence. A maximum of 10 days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification may be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond 10 cumulative days may require an excuse from a licensed practitioner of healing arts.

    A partial day absence will be defined as a tardy or early dismissal during the academic day. Tardy is defined as arriving at school after the defined daily start time for each building. Early dismissal is defined as leaving school any time after school begins. After 10 cumulative partial day absences, parents will be notified via a letter sent first class mail. After 13 partial day absences, a meeting with parents may take place to address the attendance concerns.

    Submission of Requests and Excuses for Student Absences

    Parental relations may access the district's website for attendance information. Daily and extended absence request/excuse forms are available on the web site. All attendance related forms should be submitted to the student’s homeroom teacher or attendance office located in the main office of each building.

     

    Absence Reference Table

    The following table will be referenced for absences, tardies, and early dismissals: 

     

    Reason

    Counts towards 10 parental absences:

    Counts towards 10-

    13 partial day parental absences:

    Parent Excused Absence

    Yes

    Yes

    Medical Excused Absence

    No

    No

    Non-School Sponsored Family Educational
    Trip/College Visits

    Yes

    N/A

    School-Sponsored Educational Trip/Tour – School established

    No

    N/A

    Athletic Event – School Established

    No

    No

    Funeral /Visitation

    No

    No

    Out of School Suspension (OSS)

    No

    N/A

    In-School Suspension (ISS)

    No

    N/A

    Religious Excuse

    No

    No

    Court Appointment

    No

    No

    Unexcused Absence

    Yes

    Yes

    School Nurse Recommendation

    No

    No

    Family Educational Trips

    There is a direct correlation between consistent school attendance and academic success. Families are encouraged to plan trips around the approved school calendar. The district discourages trips during the first two weeks of school, the last two weeks of school, and during any state assessment testing windows. Family educational trips/tours that are not approved will count as unexcused absences. Requests for family educational trips/tours should be accompanied by the Student Application for Family Educational Tour or Trip Form which is to be completed by the parent/guardian and submitted to the attendance/main office no later than two (2) weeks before the scheduled trip. Family educational tours/trips, including college visits, will count toward the student’s ten (10) permissible parental excused absences.

    Administrative Discretion

    Administrative discretion should be used when approving trips for students based on educational value and timing. Consideration shall be given to the length of the tour or trip, the number of requests made during the school year, attendance/academic reports, and whether the educational tour or trip is likely to advance the educational growth of the student. discretion should be used on a case-by-case basis. 

    Take Your Child to Work Day

    Take Your Child to Work Day will be counted as an excused absence and will count towards the 10 parental excused absences each academic year. It is recommended that students with 10 parental excused absences not participate in Take Your Child to Workday.

    Students are responsible for obtaining any schoolwork they will miss. All schoolwork must be completed in accordance with the teacher’s directions. When your child returns to school, he or she must bring in an excuse, which must be received within three days. As a reminder, this absence will count towards the student’s 10 permissible parental excused absences. If a student has reached the 10 parental excused absences, this absence will be recorded as unexcused.

    Enforcement of Compulsory Attendance Requirements

    Student is Truant:
     
    When a student has been absent for three days during the current school year without a lawful excuse, district staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student within 10 school days of the student's third unexcused absence.  The notice may include the offer of a School Attendance Improvement Conference.

    The purpose of the School Attendance Improvement Conference is to examine the student's absences and reasons for the absences in an effort to improve attendance with or without additional services.

    Neither the student nor the person in parental relation shall be required to participate, and the School  Attendance Improvement Conference shall occur even if the person in parental relation declines to participate or fails to attend the scheduled conference. 

    The outcome of the School Attendance Improvement Conference shall be documented in a written School Attendance Improvement Plan. The pPlan shall be retained in the student's file. A copy of the plan shall be provided to the person in parental relation, the student, and appropriate district staff. 

    The district may not take further legal action to address unexcused absences until after the date of the scheduled School Attendance Improvement Conference has passed.

    Student is Habitually Truant:

    When a student under 15 years of age is habitually truant, district staff:

    1. Shall refer the student to:
      1. A school-based or community-based attendance improvement program; or
      2. The local children and youth
    1. May file a citation in the office of the appropriate judge against the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student.

    When a student 15 years of age or older is habitually truant, district staff shall:

    1. Refer the student to a school-based or community-based attendance improvement program; or
    2. File a citation in the office of the appropriate judge against the student or the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student.

    District staff may refer a student who is fifteen (15) years of age or older to the local children and youth agency, if the student continues to incur additional unexcused absences after being referred to a school-based or community-based attendance improvement program, or if the student refuses to participate in such program.

    Regardless of age, when district staff refer a habitually truant student to the local children and youth agency or file a citation with the appropriate judge, district staff shall provide verification that the school held a School Attendance Improvement Conference.

    Filing a Citation:

    A citation shall be filed in the office of the appropriate judge whose jurisdiction includes the school in which the student is or should be enrolled.

    • Richland, Hance, and Eden Hall Elementary Schools report to Magisterial District: 05-3-04
    • Wexford Elementary School, Pine-Richland High, and Middle Schools report to Magisterial District: 05-2-12

    Additional citations for subsequent violations of the compulsory school attendance requirements may only be filed against a student or person in parental relation in accordance with the specific provisions of the law.

    Special Needs and Accommodations

    If a truant or habitually truant student may qualify as a student with a disability and require special education services or accommodations, the Director of Special Education shall be notified and shall take action to address the student’s needs in accordance with applicable law, regulations, and Board policy.

    For students with disabilities who are truant or habitually truant, the appropriate team shall be notified and shall address the student’s needs in accordance with applicable law, regulations, and Board policy.

    Discipline

    The district shall not expel or impose an out-of-school suspension, disciplinary reassignment, or transfer for truant behavior.

    Make-Up Work:

    Students shall be granted the opportunity to make up work missed as a result of excused absences. However, the responsibility for making up the work lies entirely with the student. Students will be provided the time period equal to the number of days of absences to complete and submit assignments/assessments. If additional time is needed, it is the responsibility of the student to work with his/her teacher(s) to develop a plan for completing and submitting missed assignments/assessments. Assignments not received may be recorded as a failing (F) grade.

    For each day of absence from class judged as unexcused/illegal by the school administration, the student may receive a failing (F) grade for the daily work in that class. Students who have not been granted an excused absence may not be permitted to make up any written work or take any tests or examinations missed during such absences.

    Parents/Guardians shall be notified of unexcused/illegal school-day or class absences.