Attendance Policy

5100 STUDENT ATTENDANCE

The Board of Education recognizes that regular school attendance is a major component of academic success. Through implementation of this policy, the Board expects to minimize the number of unexcused absences, tardiness, and early departures (referred to in this policy as “ATEDs”), encourage full attendance by all students, maintain an adequate attendance recordkeeping system, identify patterns of student ATEDs and develop effective intervention strategies to improve school attendance.

Notice

To be successful in this endeavor, it is imperative that all members of the school community are aware of this policy, its purpose, procedures and the consequences of non-compliance. To ensure that students, parents, teachers and administrators are notified of and understand this policy, the following procedures will be implemented.

  • A plain-language summary of this attendance policy will be included in student handbooks and will be reviewed with students at the start of the school year.
  • Parents will receive a plain language summary of this policy by mail at the start of the school year.  Parents will be asked to sign and return a statement indicating that they have read and understand the policy.
  • When a student is absent, tardy, or leaves early from class or school without excuse, designated staff member(s) will notify the student’s parent(s) by phone and mail of the specific ATED, remind them of the attendance policy, and review ATED intervention procedures with them.
  • A back-to-school event will be held at the beginning of each school year to emphasize that every day of attendance counts, explain this policy, and stress the parent’s responsibility for their ensuring their children’s attendance.
  • School newsletters and publications will include periodic reminders of the components of this policy.
  • The district will provide a copy of the attendance policy and any amendments thereto to faculty and staff.  New staff will receive a copy upon their employment.
  • All faculty and staff will meet at the beginning of each school year to review the attendance policy to clarify individual roles in its implementation.
  • Copies of this policy will also be made available to any community member, upon request.
  • The district will share this policy with local Child Protective Services (CPS) to ensure a common understanding of excused and unexcused ATED’s and to work toward identifying and addressing cases of educational neglect.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

Excused ATEDs are defined as absences, tardiness, and early departures from class or school due to personal illness, illness or death in the family, impassable roads or weather, religious observance, quarantine, required court appearances, attendance at health clinics, approved college visits, approved cooperative work programs, military obligations, or such other reasons as may be approved by the appropriate building administrator (including, but not limited to, absences due to circumstances related to homelessness).

All other ATEDs are considered unexcused absences.

All ATEDs must be accounted for.  It is the parent’s responsibility to notify the school office within 24 hours of the ATED and to provide a written excuse upon the student’s return to school.  For homeless students, the homeless liaison will assist the student in providing or obtaining documentation if needed.  Parent/guardian signatures for homeless unaccompanied youth are addressed in policy 5151 and regulation 5151-R.

General Procedures/Data Collection

  • Attendance will be taken during each class period.
  • At the conclusion of each class period or school day, all attendance information will be compiled and provided to the designated staff member(s) responsible for attendance.
  • The nature of an ATED will be coded on a student’s record.
  • Student ATED data will be available to and must be reviewed by the designated school personnel in an expeditious manner.
  • Where additional information is received that requires corrections to be made to a student’s attendance records, such correction will be made immediately.  Notice of such a change will be sent to appropriate school personnel subject to applicable confidentiality rules.
  • Attendance data will be analyzed periodically to identify patterns or trends in student absences.  If patterns emerge, district resources will be targeted to understand and eliminate barriers to attendance.
  • Where consistent with other school practices, teachers and staff will detain students in the hallways who are absent from a class period without excuse and refer the students to the Building Principal.
  • Continuous monitoring will be conducted to identify students who are absent, tardy, or leave class or school early.  A student will be considered chronically absent if they miss ten percent or more of the school year.  Satisfactory attendance is missing five percent or less of school over the course of the year.  If a pattern of ATED’s for an individual student is identified a designated staff person(s) will follow-up in accordance with this policy.

Online/Distance/Remote Learning

Students learning remotely will need to show daily school participation, which is to be recorded by teachers and reported under the provisions of this policy.  Such participation will vary depending on the type of remote learning taking place.  This can include (select as appropriate: documented participation in online or virtual classes, completion of assignments, documentation of daily school activities and learning, or correspondence via online platform, email, and telephone). Teachers are also expected to pay particular attention to the educational progress of students learning remotely, and initiate appropriate interventions with the student and their family if a student does not show adequate engagement or growth.

Attendance Incentives

The district will design and implement systems to acknowledge a student’s efforts to maintain or improve school attendance. For example:

  • In elementary grades, weekly certificates or other small rewards (including fun activities) recognizing perfect or improved attendance (not counting absences due to illness/injury).
  • In elementary grades, monthly lottery drawings to award prizes for weekly perfect or improved attendance (not counting absences due to illness/injury).  Three prizes will be awarded each month at each grade level. Names of students with perfect or improved weekly attendance (not counting absences due to illness/injury) will be placed in the drawing by grade and three names will be drawn for the award of prizes each month, subject to parental consent and applicable confidentiality rules.
  • In elementary grades, an attendance honor roll will be maintained and published  weekly identifying those students with perfect attendance  as well as those students whose attendance has improved significantly (not counting absences due to illness/injury), subject to parental consent and applicable confidentiality rules.
  • At the building and classroom levels, Building Principals and teachers are encouraged to schedule special events (quizzes, game days, debates, etc.) for days of chronically high absenteeism, like Mondays and Fridays.
  • At the classroom levels, teachers are encouraged to assign special responsibilities (distribute and collect materials, lead groups, assist the teacher, etc.) to students who may need extra motivation to come to school.
  • At all grade levels, improving the school climate through student surveys in order to provide a safe, supportive school environment and engage students in school.
  • Engaging students and families, determine whether systemic barriers to attendance exist for students, and develop solutions to remove those barriers.

Consequences of Excessive ATEDs

A designated staff member(s) will contact the student’s parents and the student’s guidance counselor in the event that a student’s record reveals excessive ATED’s, excused and/or unexcused. Excessive ATED’s is defined as: Ten percent (10%) Such staff member(s) will remind parents of the attendance policy, explain the ramifications of excessive ATEDs, stress the importance of class attendance and discuss appropriate intervention strategies to correct the situation.  Students identified as chronically absent will be considered for a mentor program.

Unexcused ATEDs may result in disciplinary action consistent with the district’s code of conduct.  Those penalties may include, for example, detention or denial of the privilege of participating in or attending extracurricular events.  However, absences related to homelessness will not result in negative consequences where the district determines that it would be in the best interests of the student in retaining the student in school.

In addition, the designated staff member will contact local Child Protective Services (CPS) if they suspect that the child is being educationally neglected.  The designated staff member will provide CPS with the information necessary to initiate a report.  If other staff members suspect education neglect, they must follow the procedures outlined in Board policy and regulation 5460, Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting, and advise the the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

School Procedures:

Tardiness to school

  • At the Mackenzie Elementary School tardiness is defined as arrival at school after 8:25 AM.
  • At the JSHS tardiness is defined as arriving after the first bell at 7:30 AM.

Procedure for both schools:

  • Each student will be permitted 5 tardy arrivals.  After the 5th tardy a letter will be sent home.
  • After the 8th tardy or absence, a subsequent letter will be sent home.
  • After the 12th tardy or absence, a letter will be sent home and a meeting with the school principal will be requested.
  • Tardiness in excess of 12 incidents may result in a Superintendent’s Hearing and/or a report being filed with the New York State Offices of Children and Family Services.

Absences

  • After the 5th unexcused absence a letter will be sent home.
  • After the 8th unexcused absence the student will serve a lunch detention and a letter will be sent home.
  • At the 12th unexcused absence the student will have a conference with his/her counselor and parents regarding these absences.
  • Unexcused absences in excess of 13 would result in a Superintendent’s Hearing and/or a report being filed with the New York State Offices of Children and Family Services.

Additional Procedures for the Mackenzie Elementary School grades Pre K through Kindergarten:

Absences

  • After the 5th unexcused absence a letter will be sent home.
  • After the 8th unexcused absence a letter will be sent home and the principal will contact the parent or guardian by telephone.
  • After the 12th unexcused absence a letter will be sent home and the parents will be required to meet with the principal.
  • Unexcused absences in of 13 incidents may result in a Superintendent’s Hearing.

Tardiness

  • Each student will be permitted 5 tardy arrivals.  After the 5th tardy a letter will be sent home.
  • After the 8th tardy the student a letter will be sent home and the principal will contact the parent or guardian by telephone.
  • After the 12th tardy a letter will be sent home and the parents will be required to meet with the principal.
  • Tardiness in excess of 12 incidents may result in a Superintendent’s Hearing.

Additional procedures for the Eldred Junior-Senior High School:

Tardiness to school:

  • Student Drivers who are tardy to school will have their driving privileges suspended as follows:
  • 8 tardy to school - Driving privileges suspended for 1 week
  • 11 tardy to school - Driving privileges suspended for 1 month
  • 14 + tardy - Driving privileges lost for rest of school year.
  • Students involved in extracurricular activities must be in school by 7:45 a.m. in order to participate that day unless the tardy is excused.

Tardiness to class:

  • Students who arrive to class after the bell are considered tardy. 
  • Students who are 15 minutes or more late for a class will be marked absent for that class.
  • ·•Consequences for being tardy are at the discretion of the teacher and will be clearly communicated to students and parents.

Make up work:

  • Makeup work will be provided to the student on their return to school unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • The student is responsible for requesting make-up work or accessing it through the district website.
  • Upon the student’s return to school, the student will be allowed one day for every day they were out up to a total of four calendar days for make-up work.  If a student is absent on a Friday and returns to school on a Monday they will have until Wednesday to submit the makeup work.
  • Assignments that are turned in during the required time frame will receive full credit for all submitted assignments and no credit for missing assignments. 
  • Assignments missed due to school sponsored activities should, whenever possible, be completed prior to the absence.
  • Previously assigned projects and/or assessments must be turned in or taken on the day of the student’s return to school.  If extenuating circumstances exist, the teacher may grant additional make-up time.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with his/her teachers for make-up tests and any other assignments upon returning to class. 

Vocational Education/BOCES

Students attendance BOCES Vocational education programs must not exceed (9) nine days of unexcused absences in a school year.

Students who exceed (9) nine days of unexcused absences in a school year will be discontinued from the BOCES program and re-scheduled for in-district classes.

Attendance/Grade Policy

The Board of Education recognizes an important relationship between class attendance and student performance.  Consequently, each marking period a student’s final grade may be based on classroom participation as well as student performance on homework, tests, papers, projects, etc.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes.  Consistent with the importance of classroom participation, unexcused ATEDs will affect a student’s class participation grade for the marking period.

At the high school level, any student with more than nine unexcused ATEDs for one-half year or 18 unexcused ATEDs for a full year will not receive credit for that course. However, students with properly excused ATEDs may make up the work for each ATED, and those ATEDs will not count toward the minimum attendance standard.

To ensure that parents and students are aware of the implications of this minimum attendance requirement, the teacher or other designated staff member(s) will advise the student and contact the parent(s) by telephone and mail at appropriate intervals prior to the student reaching nine or 18 unexcused ATEDs.

In implementing the policy set forth above, students who are unable to attend school or a class on a given day due to their participation in a school-sponsored activity (i.e., music lessons, field trips), may arrange with their teachers to make up any work missed. This also applies to any student who is absent, tardy or leaves early from school or a class due to illness or any other excused reason.

All students with an excused ATED are expected upon their return to consult with their teachers regarding missed work.

Only those students with excused ATEDs will be given the opportunity to make up a test or other missed work and/or turn in a late assignment for inclusion in their final grade.  Make-up opportunities must be completed by a date specified by the student’s teacher for the class in question.

Annual Review

The Board will annually review building-level student attendance records and, if such records show a decline in student attendance, the Board will revise this comprehensive attendance policy and make any revisions to the plan it deems necessary to improve student attendance.

Cross ref:        

4710, Grading Systems

5151, Homeless Children

5300, Code of Conduct

5460, Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting

Ref:    

42 USC §11432(g)(1)(I) (McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act)

Education Law §§1709; 3024; 3025; 3202; 3205-3213; 3225

8 NYCRR §§104.1; 175.6

Social Service Law §34-a

Adoption date: August 27, 2020

Eldred Central School District

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