We are 'All-In' this Together at Mathews!
If your familiar with the iconic quote from the movie, Apollo 13, "Houston, we have a problem." Then you know it meant they had a significant concern. Today, we use that same expression, when we find ourselves at a crossroad with a problem that needs a solution. In the movie, you will also remember It was at that moment, when everyone at NASA came together to solve the 'problem' and to find a solution. At Mathews, we work together to find solutions.
The purpose of this newsletter:
- Help us all be on the same page.
- It is to clarify expectations of our school, our district, and our state regarding attendance.
- It is to thank those of you who strive to have your child at school on time, for the whole day, everyday.
- It is to help avoid Truancy Court.
- It is to help limit the number of students who do not meet the 90% Attendance Law.
Mostly though, it is to help teach our students the importance of an education; the commitment to learning by being at school on time focused on learning so they can become the best version of themselves. We make time for what matters. School matters, everyday.
At the same time, please understand that our children's health is first and foremost. If a child is ill, has a fever, is vomiting or has flu- like symptoms, we want your child to be at home resting and recovering. This also protects other children from being exposed and becoming ill as well. Flu is a serious concern for children. Practicing thorough hand washing and monitoring your child's symptoms is best for all our Mathews Mavs.
2 Attendance Laws in Texas
THE FIRST LAW
The law regarding truancy basically states that a parent of an elementary school student is responsible for their child being at school. Charges are to be filed when a student has missed 10 or more unexcused days or parts of days within a 6 month period. In regards to tardies or early pick-ups 3 events equals 1 unexcused day in the eyes of the court.
Excused or Unexcused?
All absences are unexcused unless the school receives a note within three days of the students return to school. Doctors notes are required when a student is out for 7 or more consecutive days. However, if your child is out for less than 7 days but does see a doctor, please provide us with a doctor's note. This protects your 'Parent Notes' for when your child is out ill; however, it was not an illness that warranted a doctor's visit; i.e. fever, vomiting, virus.
So Why Do Parents Call The School?
We ask parents to notify the school as early as possible when a child is out so that we know that the parents are aware that their child is not at school. What we never want is for a parent to think their child is at school when they aren't! When we take attendance at 7:45 a.m., we are checking to see that all of our students have made it to school safely. Your call regarding your child's absence not only confirms that you have your child with you as well as let us know if we have a health concern, (Chicken Pox, Strep, the flu, etc.) going around a grade level or classroom.
We can accept parent notes for illness in regards to 5 events per year. After that, (or before if there is a pattern of concern regarding absences) we will not be able to accept a parent note to excuse an absence, tardy, or early pick-up. As you can imagine, this happens rarely; but when it does, it is a concern. In situations such as these we will ask you to bring your child to school for our school nurse to determine if a child is well enough to attend school. (Often times this in regards to allergy related symptoms or little ones who stayed up too late and have a hard time getting started in the morning.)
What We Don't Want:
As parents there are times you will make decisions for your family regarding absences that are in conflict with school attendance laws; family vacations, etc. Legally, we are not allowed to excuse these absences.
Please own these decisions. You can't imagine how awkward it is for a child to share they were on a family vacation when the teacher asks if they are feeling better; or for a child to have to be dishonest to his teacher because his/her parents have told them not to tell. We want to teach our children to become honest and trustworthy individuals. We want them to see their parents in that same light.
As always, our last resort is taking a family to Truancy Court. In an effort to prevent this we will meet with parents to create an 'Intervention Plan' on how to address attendance concerns regarding excessive absences, tardies or too frequent early departures from school.
THE SECOND LAW
The 90% Law:
The 90% law is just that. Children who miss more than 18 school days during the year are in violation of this law regardless of whether or not these absences are considered excused or unexcused. (Please note, religious holidays are not included.) If a child misses more than 10% of the school year, an attendance committee must meet to determine if the student is properly prepared to move to the next grade level.
It is hard to imagine missing 18 days of school; however, it can happen and does.
A child gets ill with flu, or tonsils, or Strep. Couple that with family event, a wedding, a funeral, a graduation, 50th wedding anniversary, etc. and we find ourselves getting closer. However, when a family take an extended trip or an off-season vacation and then later have a family event or illness, the 90% law can go into play rather quickly.
Be ready to start learning when learning begins.
The adage, "To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late; and to be late is unacceptable" holds true- not only in the workforce for us as adults, but for our students coming to school to learn.
Access to School:
The school opens at 7:00 a.m. Children who arrive between 7:00 and 7:30 may either go to the cafeteria to eat breakfast or wait with grade level friends in the gym with adult supervision.
At 7:30 students are dismissed from the gym to go to their classrooms and prepare for the day. Students who arrive after 7:30 go directly to their classrooms.
Ideally, we ask parents to drop off their students by 7:30.
This allows your children time to get to their classroom, unpack, sharpen pencils, use the restroom if need be and get settled in their seat before we begin instruction at 7:45.
Just as we arrive a few minutes early to work in order to get ready for our work day, or arrive early to a movie to get snacks and watch previews, it is always more helpful for your child to have a few minutes to settle in rather than to walk in the door with just seconds to spare; or worse, walk into a classroom that has already begun in front of our peers.
Students need to be in school (in the building) by 7:45 a.m.
Any student that arrives in the building after 7:45 a.m. is issued a Tardy.
We encourage parents to plan in advance for inclement weather. Have backpacks packed and ready to go. Have jackets, gloves, hats, etc. at the door. Allow time for more cars in the carpool line and for driving slower due to wet roads. (Again, if you plan to drop off at 7:30 this should not pose a problem.)
At Mathews we support morning drop-off in the carpool line with Safety Patrol. During inclement weather we have 'All Hands on Deck' with staff to help the traffic flow during inclement weather. Typically, our line is completed prior to the 7:45 bell even in bad weather.
Daylight Savings Time:
Daylight Savings Time begins the first Sunday of Spring Break on March 8. We love the extra sunlight at the end of the day but know it is also a little bit harder to get up in the morning!
During summer break, If we have stayed up late to catch lightning bugs, kick a soccer ball, or ride our bikes with our friends in the neighborhood we typically just sleep in. However, during the school year that is not an option.
Fortunately, you will have a week to get use to Daylight Savings Time before we return to school on Monday, March 17.
Late arrivals count towards 'parts of days missed' in regards to truancy violations. If your child is late to school due to a doctor's appointment, please provide a note from the doctor to Mrs. Tipsword when your child arrives at school.
EARLY PICK-UPS FROM SCHOOL
Our Learning Ends at 2:45
We understand that on occasion there is a special event in a family, or a scheduled appointment that needs to be scheduled close to dismissal, or even sometimes during the school day.
We have and will continue to work with you on those occasions. However, those occasions should be the exception to the rule.
However, we ask that you schedule annual physical and dental cleanings after school or when school is not in season.
Camping trips and extra curricular activities should not interfere with your child's learning during the school day. We need your child here to learn. We need your child to value learning.
We make time for what matters. Learning matters. School matters.
Early pick-ups count towards 'parts of days missed' in regards to truancy violations. If your child is late to school due to a doctor's appointment, please provide a note from the doctor to Mrs. Tipsword when your child returns to school.
FAST CLICKS TO HELPFUL LINKS
Please click the button to review state laws regarding attendance including excused and unexcused absences as well as tardies. We want to welcome your child to school each morning on time for a great day of learning! Thank you for your support.
This will take you straight to our district's Student Parent Policy Guide.
2020-2021 PISD Academic Calendar
7:40 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. (Doors open at 7:00)
Next Year's Calendar - We will start 5 minutes earlier!
Bell schedules for all campuses are as follows:
- Early Childhood Schools: Beaty, Isaacs and Pearson
7:55 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Head Start
7:55 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Elementary Schools (grades pk/k–5)
7:40 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
- Middle Schools (grades 6-8)
8:25 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- High/Senior High Schools (grades 9-12)
9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
- Academy High School
9:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Health Sciences Academy and IB World School
9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Special Programs
Elementary (grades K–5): 7:40 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Middle (grades 6–8); 8:25 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Secondary (grades 9–12): 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m
Because We are a Team...
The QR pictured is the same as the one we have available in our office when you sign-out following your visit. You can use your QR Scanner on your phone and share your thoughts with us.
We are "All-In" Together!