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November 18, 2017
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Stillwater Central School District

Attendance Policy

 

Statement of overall objectives

School attendance is both a right and a responsibility. The Stillwater Central School District is an active
partner with students and parents in the task of ensuring that all students meet or exceed the New York State
Learning Standards. Because the district recognizes that consistent school attendance, academic
success and school completion have a positive correlation, the School District will develop, review and if
necessary, revise a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy to meet the following objectives:

  • To increase school completion for all students;
  • To raise student achievement and close gaps in student performance;
  • To identify attendance patterns in order to design attendance improvement efforts.
  • To know the whereabouts of every student for safety and other reasons;
  • To verify that individual students are complying with education laws relating to compulsory attendance;
  • To determine the district’s average daily attendance for state aid purposes.

 

Description of Strategies to meet objectives

The Stillwater Central School District will:

  • Create and maintain a positive school building culture by fostering a positive physical and social
    environment where the presence of strong adult role models encourages respectful and nurturing
    interactions between adults and students. This positive school culture is aimed at encouraging a high level
    of student connection to the school, which in turn should lead to increased attendance.
  • Develop a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy based upon the recommendations of a multifaceted
    District Policy Development Team that includes representation from the Board of Education,
    administrators, teachers, students, parents and the community. The District will hold at least one public
    hearing prior to the adoption of this collaboratively developed Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy.
  • Maintain accurate record keeping via a Register of Attendance to record attendance, absence, tardiness or
    early departure of each student.
  • Utilize computerized systems for tracking individual student attendance and individual and group trends in
    student attendance problems.
  • Develop early intervention strategies to improve school attendance for all students.
  • Strongly encourage families to plan their vacations on periods when school is not in session, thereby
    avoiding situations in which students miss extended periods of direct instruction.

 

Determination of excused and unexcused absences, tardiness and early departure

For purposes of clarification the following definitions will apply:
Early release– refers to a student who leaves the high school before the official end of school day.
Tardy– refers to any student who arrives to the high school after the official beginning of school day.

Based upon our district’s educational and community needs, values and priorities, the district has
determined that absences, tardiness and early departures will be considered excused or unexcused according
to the following standards.

Excused absence
1. An absence may be excused if due to personal illness, illness or death in the family, impassable roads due to
inclement weather, religious observance, quarantine, required court appearances, visits with a health care
provider, approved cooperative work programs or military obligations, approved educational opportunities
outside of the regular school day: such as college entrance exams, school sponsored field trips and preapproved
educational opportunities.) All college visits must be pre-approved by the administration prior to
the visit.
2. Tardiness or early departure may be excused if due to death in the family, impassable roads due to
inclement weather, religious observance, required court appearances, visits with a health care provider,
approved college visits, approved cooperative work programs, military obligations or other such reasons as
may be approved by the BOE. (refer to definitions for tardiness and early release)

Unexcused absence
An absence, tardiness or early departure is considered unexcused if the reason for the lack of attendance does
not fall into the above categories (e.g. family vacation, hunting, babysitting, haircut, obtaining learner’s
permit, road test, oversleeping, etc. - refer to definitions for tardiness and early release.

Legal Absences
An absence is recognized as legal if a parent/guardian calls the school by telephone or faxes in an excuse by
10 a.m. on the day of the absence. A parent must provide a written note for an absence. This note must be
submitted to the attendance office within three days of the student’s absence from school. Notes will not be
accepted after three days. When an absence occurs for three consecutive days due to illness, a physician’s
note will be required.

Students who demonstrate a pattern of absences in which sickness is reported by a parent may be required
to submit a doctor’s note to excuse an absence.

Illegal Absences
Lack of verification for any absence from school, via written note, telephone or fax would result in an illegal
absence.

Tardiness
Two unexcused tardies to school per semester, with a parent note will be accepted, including personal illness.
The third late, per semester and any tardiness to school thereafter, must be accompanied by a note from a
health care provider or lawyer/court official. After four unexcused lates, a referral will be generated to an
administrator. (refer to page 6 – disciplinary consequences)

Disciplinary consequences (per semester/half year)

  • 4 unexcused lates = early detention 2:20 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.
  • 5 unexcused lates = early detention 2:20 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.
  • 6 unexcused lates = late detention 2:20 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. (loss of parking privilege)
  • 7 unexcused lates = administrative judgement (detention, ALE, suspension pending a parent
    conference, etc.


Early Release
All requests for early release shall be accompanied by a written request by a parent/guardian. The written
request will be presented to the attendance office no later than 10:00 a.m. on the date of the requested early
release. The third early release, per semester and early releases thereafter must be accompanied by a note
from a health care provider or lawyer/court official. (refer to page 6 – disciplinary consequences)

Student Attendance Recordkeeping/Data Collection

The record of each student’s presence, absence, tardiness and early departure shall be kept in a register of
attendance in a manner consistent with Commissioner’s Regulations. An absence, tardiness or early
departure will be entered as “excused” or “unexcused” along with the District code for the reason.

  • a) For students in grades nine through twelve or in departmentalized schools at any grade level (i.e.,
    students pass individually to different classes throughout the day), each student’s presence or absence
    shall be recorded and reported after the taking of attendance in each period of scheduled instruction
    except that where students do not change classrooms for each period of scheduled instruction,
    attendance shall be taken in accordance with paragraph “a” above.
  • b) Any absence for a school day or portion thereof shall be recorded and reported as excused or unexcused
    in accordance with the standards articulated in this policy.
  • c) In the event that a student at any instructional level from grade nine through grade twelve arrives late
    for, or departs early from, scheduled instruction, such tardiness or early departure shall be recorded and
    reported as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in this policy.

A record shall be kept of each scheduled day of instruction during which the school is closed for all or part of
the day because of extraordinary circumstances including adverse weather conditions, impairment of heating
facilities, insufficiency of water supply, shortage of fuel, destruction of or damage to a school building, or such
other cause as may be found satisfactory to the Commissioner of Education.

Attendance records shall also indicate the date when a student withdraws from enrollment or is dropped from
enrollment in accordance with Education Law Section 3202(1-a).

At the conclusion of each class period or school day, all attendance information shall be compiled and
provided to the designated school personnel who are responsible for attendance. The nature of the absence,
tardiness or early departure shall be coded on a student’s record in accordance with the established
District/building procedures.

Student Attendance/Course Credit

Grading will not be used for disciplinary purposes, except that students who exceed 15 unexcused absences in
a full year course and 7 in a half year course. Students who do not satisfactorily make up assigned class work
in a timely fashion will not receive credit for the course and will not be able to take a local or state final
examination for the course. Students who are found guilty of academic misconduct as identified in the Code
of Conduct may have their grades modified by the classroom teacher to reflect cheating or plagiarism.
Students will be considered in attendance if the student is:

  • a) Physically present in the classroom or working under the direction of the classroom teacher during the
    class scheduled meeting time; or
  • b) Working pursuant to an approved independent study program; or
  • c) Receiving approved alternative instruction.

Students who are absent from class due to their participation in a school-sponsored activity are to arrange
with their teachers to make up any work missed in a timely manner as determined by the student’s teacher.
Attendance at school-sponsored events where instruction is substantially equivalent to the instruction which
was missed shall be counted as the equivalent of regular attendance in class.

Upon returning to school following a properly excused absence, tardiness or early departure, it shall be the
responsibility of the student to consult with his/her teacher(s) regarding arrangements to make up missed
work, assignments and/or tests in accordance with the time schedule specified by the teacher.

Notice of Attendance Concerns

  • a) Copies of the District’s Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy will be mailed to parents/persons in
    parental relation and provided to students at the beginning of each school year or at the time of
    enrollment in the District.
  • b) School newsletters and publications will include periodic reminders of the components of the District’s
    Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy. Copies of the Attendance Policy will also be included in
    parent/student handbooks.
  • c) At periodic intervals, a designated staff member(s) will notify, by telephone, the parent/person in
    parental relation of the student’s absence, tardiness, or early departure.
  • d) After five unexcused absences for a full year course, and three unexcused absences for a half year course,
    written notification, which stresses the importance of the attendance policy will be sent to the
    parent/person in parental relation.
  • e) A designated staff member will review the District’s Attendance Policy with students who have excessive
    and/or unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures. Further, appropriate
    student/parent/guardian support services/personnel within the District, as well as the possible
    collaboration/referral to community support services, including the filing of a Person In Need of
    Supervision (PINS) petition or notification to the Office of the District Attorney may be initiated.

 

Notice of Students who are Absent, Tardy or Depart Early Without Proper Excuse

A designated staff member shall notify by telephone the parent/person in parental relation to a student who
is absent, tardy or departs early without proper excuse.

If deemed necessary by appropriate school officials, or if requested by the parent/person in parental relation,
a school conference shall be scheduled between the parent/person in parental relation and appropriate staff
members in order to address the student’s attendance. The student may also be requested to attend this
conference in order to address appropriate intervention strategies that best meet the needs of the student.

Disciplinary Consequences

Unexcused absences, tardiness and early departures will result in disciplinary sanctions as described in the
District’s Code of Conduct. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, in-school suspension, detention
and denial of participation in interscholastic and extracurricular activities, and filing of a Person In Need of
Supervision (PINS) petition.

Intervention Strategy Process

In order to effectively intervene when an identified pattern of unexcused absences, tardiness or early
departures occurs, designated District personnel will identify reasons, discuss strategies, recommend
interventions, and implement changes to improve individual student attendance.

Appeal Process

A parent/person in parental relation may request a building level review of their child’s attendance record.

Building Review of Attendance Records

The building principal will work in conjunction with the building attendance clerk and other designated staff in
reviewing attendance records at the end of each term. This review is conducted to identify individual and
group attendance patterns and to initiate appropriate action to address the problem of unexcused absences,
tardiness and early departures.

Community Awareness

The Board of Education shall promote necessary community awareness of the district’s Comprehensive
Student Attendance Policy by:

  • a) Providing a plain language summary of the policy to parents or persons in parental relation to students at
    the beginning of the each school year and promoting the understanding of such a policy to students and
    their parents/persons in parental relation; and
  • b) Providing each teacher, at the beginning of the school year or upon employment, with a copy of the
    policy; and
  • c) Providing copies of the policy to any other member of the community upon request.
  • d) Provide a copy of the policy on the district website, www.scsd.org.

    Education Law Sections 3024, 3025, 3202, 3205,
    3206, 3210, 3211, and 3213
    8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
    (NYCRR) Sections 104.1, 109.2 and 175.6
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