• Attendance  Overview of Attendance Guidelines & Procedures
     
    The board requires that school age students enrolled in district schools attend school regularly, in accordance with state laws. The educational program offered by the district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for students to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress.
     
    The interaction of students with one another in the classroom and their participation in planned learning activities under the supervision of school personnel are vital to the learning process.
     
    As outlined in 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.
     

    This section outlines the procedures and guidelines to address student attendance as established by the board in accordance with this policy. 

    Guidelines

    Students are expected to report to school each day on time and to report to all classes and study halls on time. Parents/Guardians are expected to direct students to report to school even when they may be tardy.

    Students must bring in a written excuse, signed by the parent/guardian, for each absence or each incident of tardiness. Excuses shall be given to the elementary homeroom/classroom teacher or secondary attendance office.

    The district may require the parent/guardian to verify the student's illness by a written statement from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts.

    Students are required to be in attendance at a minimum of one-half of the scheduled school day, with a valid excuse for late arrival/early dismissal, in order to participate in after school athletic, curricular, extracurricular activities or special events.

    Parents/Guardians will be notified by school authorities via a letter sent by first class mail if a student’s absenteeism and/or tardiness in a single school year has developed a pattern of concern. The district will seek to assist parents/guardians and students in resolving the chronic attendance pattern through interventions that may include ongoing communication, development of School Attendance Improvement Plan (SAIP), and/or referral to appropriate school-based or community-based personnel. The law also provides for referral to the district magistrate for assistance with the resolution of chronic attendance problems.


    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. 

    A student shall not be permitted to leave the building with an adult unless the building principal or his/her designee is certain of the person's identity and his/her right to remove the student.

    Family Educational Trips

    Upon receipt of a written request from the parents/guardians, students may be excused from school attendance to participate in a tour or trip not sponsored by the district and at the expense of the parent/guardian when such a trip is determined by the Superintendent or designee to serve an educational purpose. Student participants shall be subject to direction and supervision by an adult acceptable to the Superintendent or designee and the parents/guardians of the student concerned.

    Trips will be considered for approval if the Superintendent or designee determines that such a trip will be of educational significance to the student. Educational significance shall be defined to mean consistent with district goals. In order for the Superintendent or designee to make such a determination, the parent/guardian shall provide a written request for excusal on a form provided by the district, which shall indicate the days to be missed, the destination of the trip, and the reason why the trip could not be taken on days when school is not in session. The Board may limit the number and duration of tours or trips for which excused absences may be granted to a student during the school term.

    Compulsory School Attendance Requirements

    All students of compulsory school age who reside in the district shall be subject to the compulsory school attendance requirements.

    A student shall be considered in attendance if present at any place where school is in session by authority of the Board; the student is receiving approved tutorial instruction, or health or therapeutic services; the student is engaged in an approved and properly supervised independent study, work-study or career education program; or the student is receiving approved homebound instruction. 

    The following students shall be excused from the requirements of attendance at district schools, upon request and with the required approval:

    1. On certification by a physician or submission of other satisfactory evidence and on approval of the Department of Education, children who are unable to attend school or apply themselves to study for mental, physical or other reasons that preclude regular attendance.
    2. Students enrolled in nonpublic or private schools in which the subjects and activities prescribed by law are taught.

    3. Students attending college who are also enrolled part-time in district schools.
       
    4. Students attending a home education program or private tutoring in accordance with law.
       
    5. Students fifteen (15) or sixteen (16) years of age whose enrollment in private trade or business schools has been approved.
       
    6. Students fifteen (15) years of age, and fourteen (14) years of age who have completed the highest elementary grade, engaged in farm work or private domestic service under duly issued permits.
       
    7. Students sixteen (16) years of age regularly employed during the school session and holding a lawfully issued employment certificate.

    Excused/Lawful Absence

    For purposes of this policy, the following conditions or situations constitute reasonable cause for absence from school:

    1. Illness, including if a student is dismissed by designated district staff during school hours for health-related reasons.
       
    2. Obtaining professional health care or therapy service rendered by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts in any state, commonwealth or territory.
       
    3. Quarantine.
       
    4. Family emergency.
       
    5. Recovery from accident.
       
    6. Required court attendance.
       
    7. Death in family.
       
    8. School-sponsored educational tours and trips
       
    9. Participation in a project sponsored by a statewide or countywide 4-H, FFA or combined 4-H and FFA group, upon prior written request.
       
    10. Observance of a religious holiday observed by bona fide religious group, upon prior written parental request.
       
    11. Nonschool-sponsored educational tours or trips, if the following conditions are met:

      • The parent/guardian submits a written request for excusal prior to the absence.
      • 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 parents/guardians and the Superintendent.
         

    12. College or postsecondary institution visit, with prior approval.

    The district may limit the number and duration of nonschool-sponsored educational tours or trips for which excused absences may be granted to a student during the school term.

    Temporary Excusals:

    The following students may be temporarily excused from the requirements of attendance at district schools:

    • Students receiving tutorial instruction in a field not offered in the district's curricula from a properly qualified tutor approved by the Superintendent, when the excusal does not interfere with the student's regular program of studies.
       
    • Students participating in a religious instruction program, if the following conditions are met:
       
      • The parent/guardian submits a written request for excusal. The request shall identify and describe the instruction, and the dates and hours of instruction.
         
      • The student shall not miss more than 36 hours per school year in order to attend classes for religious instruction.
         
      • Following each absence, the parent/guardian shall submit a statement attesting that the student attended the instruction, and the dates and hours of attendance. 
         
    • School age children unable to attend school upon recommendation of the school physician and a psychiatrist or school psychologist, or both, and with approval of the Secretary of Education.

    Parental Notice of Absence: Absences shall be treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence, to be submitted within 3 days of the absence.

    A maximum of 10 days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification shall be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond 10 cumulative days shall require an excuse from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts.

    Unexcused/Unlawful Absence

    For purposes of this policy, absences which do not meet the criteria indicated above shall be considered an unexcused/unlawful absence. 

    An out-of-school suspension may not be considered an unexcused absence. 

    Parental Notification: District staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relation upon each incident of unexcused absence.

    Enforcement of Compulsory Attendance Requirements

    Student is Truant: When a student has been absent for three (3) 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 ten (10) school days of the student's third unexcused absence.

    The notice shall:

    1. Be in the mode and language of communication preferred by the person in parental relation;
       
    2. Include a description of the consequences if the student becomes habitually truant; and
       
    3. When transmitted to a person who is not the biological or adoptive parent, also be provided to the child's biological or adoptive parent, if the parent's mailing address is on file with the school and the parent is not precluded from receiving the information by court order.

    The notice may include the offer of a School Attendance Improvement Conference. 

    If the student incurs additional unexcused absences after issuance of the notice and a School Attendance Improvement Conference was not previously held, district staff shall offer a School Attendance Improvement Conference.

     

    School Attendance Improvement Conference: District staff shall notify the person in parental relation in writing and by telephone of the date and time of the 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. 

    The following individuals shall be invited to the School Attendance Improvement Conference:

    1. The student.
       
    2. The student's person in parental relation.
       
    3. Other individuals identified by the person in parental relation who may be a resource.
       
    4. Appropriate school personnel.
       
    5. Recommended service providers.

    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 Plan 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 fifteen (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 agency.
         
    2. 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 fifteen (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.

    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 out-of-school suspension, disciplinary reassignment or transfer for truant behavior.