Important Information for Parents and Guardians
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Parents and Guardians,
As I am sure you are aware, your student's attendance is absolutely critical to your student's success in school, as absences from class may result in serious disruptions to a child's education. However, you also need to be aware of two important state laws--one dealing with compulsory attendance and the other with how attendance affects the award of a student’s final grade or course credit.
Please take some time to review this information below.
Overview of Attendance Law
It is critical that parents and guardians understand the following information and how it impacts a student's ability to earn course credit and be promoted to the next grade level.
Students earn course credits by meeting the course requirements AND attending classes 90% of the time, whether the absences are excused or unexcused. Your student may not earn course credit nor be promoted to the next grade level if they are not meeting the 90% rule. 10% of school days equals 18 days. You may not receive credit if you miss more than 18 days in a school year.
(A) EXCUSED- The first three absences per semester when the school receives notice from the parent of the absence. Any absences excused by a healthcare provider.
(U) UNEXCUSED- Any absence in which the school does not receive communication from the parent or any absence beyond three in a semester without excuse from a healthcare provider.
Activities that do not count against the 90% attendance law include, but are not limited to:
- (M) MEDICAL-Temporarily absent during the school day because of a documented appointment for the student, with a healthcare professional. The professional is licensed, certified or registered by an appropriate agency of the State of Texas. The student begins classes or returns to school the same day of the appointment.
- (E) EXTRACURRICULAR - University Interscholastic League (UIL) activity such as a band concert, FFA competition, or basketball game.
- (S) SCHOOL RELATED- School field trip
THREE or more UNEXCUSED absences in a four week period, will generate a Truancy Warning Letter. This letter is mailed home to the parent/guardian.
TEN UNEXCUSED absences within a six month period, truancy charges SHALL be filed. Filing with the court system for missing ten or more (unexcused) days; or parts of days, in a six month period is required by state law.
Compulsory Attendance Law
Prekindergarten and Kindergarten
Students enrolled in prekindergarten or kindergarten are required to attend school and are subject to the compulsory attendance requirements as long as they remain enrolled.
State law requires that a student who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached their 19th birthday, shall attend school, as well as any applicable accelerated instruction program, extended-year program, or tutorial session, unless the student is otherwise excused from attendance or legally exempt.
State law requires a student in kindergarten–grade 2 to attend any assigned accelerated reading instruction program. Parents will be notified in writing if their child is assigned to an accelerated reading instruction program based on a diagnostic reading instrument.
A student will be required to attend any assigned accelerated instruction program before or after school or during the summer if the student does not meet the passing standards on an applicable subject area state assessment.
Age 19 and Older
A student who voluntarily attends or enrolls after his or her 19th birthday is required to attend each school day until the end of the school year. If the student incurs more than five unexcused absences in a semester, the district may revoke the student’s enrollment. The student’s presence on school property thereafter would be unauthorized and may be considered trespassing.
All Grade Levels
State law allows exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirements for the following activities and events, as long as the student makes up all work:
· Religious holy days;
· Required court appearances;
· Activities related to obtaining U.S. citizenship;
· Documented health-care appointments for the student or a child of the student, including absences related to autism services, if the student returns to school on the same day of the appointment and brings a note from the health-care provider;
· Absences resulting from a serious or life-threatening illness or related treatment that makes a student’s attendance infeasible, with certification by a physician;
· For students in the conservatorship of the state:
· An activity required under a court-ordered service plan; or
· Any other court-ordered activity, provided it is not practicable to schedule the student’s participation in the activity outside of school hours.
For children of military families, absences of up to five days will be excused for a student to visit a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian going to, on leave from, or returning from certain deployments.
Secondary Grade Levels
The district will allow a student who is 15 years of age or older to be absent for one day to obtain a learner license and one day to obtain a driver’s license, provided that the board has authorized such excused absences under policy FEA(LOCAL). The student will be required to provide documentation of his or her visit to the driver’s license office for each absence and must make up any work missed.
The district will allow junior and senior students to be absent for up to two days per year to visit a college or university, provided:
· The board has authorized such excused absences under policy FEA(LOCAL);
· The principal has approved the student’s absence; and
· The student follows campus procedures to verify the visit and makes up any work missed.
The district will allow a student 17 years old or older to be absent for up to four days during the period the student is enrolled in high school to pursue enlistment in the U.S. armed services or Texas National Guard, provided the student verifies these activities to the district.
The district will allow a student to be absent for up to two days per school year to serve as:
· An early voting clerk, provided the district’s board has authorized this in policy FEA(LOCAL), the student notifies his or her teachers, and the student receives approval from the principal prior to the absences; or
· An election clerk, if the student makes up any work missed.
The district will allow a student in grades 6–12 to be absent for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.
Compulsory Attendance—Failure to Comply
All Grade Levels
School employees must investigate and report violations of the compulsory attendance law.
A student absent without permission from school, any class, any required special program, or any required tutorial will be considered in violation of the compulsory attendance law and subject to disciplinary action.
Students with Disabilities
If a student with a disability is experiencing attendance issues, the student’s ARD or Section 504 committee will determine whether the attendance issues warrant an evaluation, a reevaluation, and/or modifications to the student's individualized education program or Section 504 plan, as appropriate.
When a student ages 6–18 incurs three or more unexcused absences within a four-week period, the law requires the school to send notice to the parent.
The notice will:
· Remind the parent of his or her duty to monitor the student’s attendance and require the student to attend school;
· Request a conference between school administrators and the parent; and
· Inform the parent that the district will initiate truancy prevention measures, including a behavior improvement plan, school-based community service, referrals to counseling or other social services, or other appropriate measures.
A court of law may impose penalties against the parent if a school-aged student is deliberately not attending school. The district may file a complaint against the parent if the student incurs ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period in the same school year.
If a student age 12–18 incurs ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period in the same school year, the district, in most circumstances, will refer the student to truancy court.
Attendance for Credit or Final Grade (All Grade Levels)
To receive credit or a final grade in a class, a student must attend the class at least 90 percent of the days it is offered. A student who attends at least 75 percent but fewer than 90 percent of the days may receive credit or a final grade if he or she completes a plan, approved by the principal, that allows the student to fulfill the class’s instructional requirements. If a student is involved in a criminal or juvenile court proceeding, the judge presiding over the case must also approve the plan before the student receives credit or a final grade.
If a student attends fewer than 75 percent of the class days or does not complete the principal approved plan, then the attendance review committee will determine whether there are extenuating circumstances for the absences and how the student can regain credit or a final grade.
With the exception of absences due to serious or life-threatening illness or related treatment, all absences, excused or unexcused, may be held against a student’s attendance requirement. To determine whether there were extenuating circumstances for any absences, the principal or attendance committee will consider:
· Whether the student has mastered the essential knowledge and skills and maintained passing grades in the course or subject.
· Whether the student has completed makeup work satisfactorily. If the student completes makeup work, absences listed under Compulsory Attendance—Exemptions on page 26 (EISD Student Handbook) and absences for extracurricular activities will be considered extenuating circumstances. Whether the student or the student’s parent had any control over the absences.
· Any information presented by the student or parent to the committee about the absences.
The student or parent may appeal the committee’s decision to the board by following policy FNG(LOCAL).