Attendance Policy

Statement of Overall Objectives

School attendance is both a right and a responsibility. The 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 school district recognizes that consistent school attendance, academic success and school completion have a positive correlation, the school district has developed, and, if necessary, will revise a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy to meet the following objectives:

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

Description of Strategies to Meet Objectives

The school district will:

  1. Create and maintain a positive school building culture by fostering a positive physical and psychological 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 bonding to the school, which in turn should lead to increased attendance.
  2. Maintain accurate recordkeeping via a Register of Attendance to record attendance, absence, tardiness or early departure of each student.
  3. Utilize student management system for tracking individual student attendance and individual and group trends in student attendance problems.
  4. Develop early intervention strategies to improve school attendance for all students.

Determination of Excused and Unexcused Absences, Tardiness and Early Departures

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

  1. Excused: An absence, tardiness or early departure 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, attendance at health clinics, approved college visits, approved cooperative work programs, military obligations or other such reasons as may be approved by the board of education.
  2. Unexcused: 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, hair cut, obtaining learner’s permit, road test, oversleeping).

A written excuse, signed by a parent/person in parental relation should be presented by the student when returning to school following each absence.

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.

Attendance shall be taken and recorded in accordance with the following:

  1. For students in kindergarten through grade four, such student’s presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance once per school day, provided that students are not dismissed from school grounds during a lunch period. For purposes of APPR and Teacher-Student Data Linkages (TSDL), classroom attendance for all students K through 12 must be recorded on a subject by subject basis for Teacher of Record Determinations.
  2. For students in grades 5 through 12 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 after the taking of attendance in each period of scheduled instruction.
  3. Any absence for a school day or portion thereof shall be recorded as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in this policy.
  4. In the event that a student at any instructional level from grades K through 12 arrives late for or departs early from scheduled instruction, such tardiness or early departure shall be recorded 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

The district believes that classroom participation is related to and affects a student’s performance and grasp of the subject matter and, as such, is properly reflected in a student’s final grade. For purposes of this policy, classroom participation means that a student is in class and prepared to work.

Consequently, for each marking period a certain percentage of a student’s final grade may be based on classroom participation as well as the student’s performance on homework, tests, papers, projects, etc. as determined by the building administrator and/or classroom teacher.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. Consistent with the importance of classroom participation, unexcused student absences, tardiness, and early departures may affect a student’s grade, including credit for classroom participation, for the marking period.

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

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 Minimum Attendance Standard/Intervention Strategies Prior to the Denial of Course Credit

In order to ensure that parents/persons in parental relation and students are informed of the district’s policy regarding minimum attendance and course credit, and the implementation of specific intervention strategies to be employed prior to the denial of course credit to the student for insufficient attendance, the following guidelines shall be followed:

  1. Copies of the district’s Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy will be available 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.
  2. 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 posted on the district website.
  3. At periodic intervals, letters will be sent to the parent/person in parental relation of the student’s absence, tardiness, or early departure and explain the relationship of the student’s attendance to his/her ability to receive course credit.
  4. 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 support services/personnel within the district, as well as the possible collaboration/referral to community support services and agencies, will be implemented prior to the denial of course credit for insufficient attendance by the student.

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

The building principal or designee 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.

In order to encourage student attendance, the District will develop and implement grade-appropriate/building-level strategies and programs.

Disciplinary Consequences

Unexcused absences, tardiness and early departures will result in disciplinary sanctions as described in the district’s Code of Conduct.

Appeal Process

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

Building Review of Attendance Records

The building principal and/or designee will work review 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.

Annual Review by the Board of Education

The board of education shall annually review average daily attendance records and if such records show a decline in student attendance, the board shall make any revisions to the policy and plan deemed necessary to improve student attendance.

Community Awareness

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

  1. Providing a plain language summary of the policy to parents or persons in parental relation to students at the beginning of each school year and promoting the understanding of such a policy to students and their parents/persons in parental relation;
  2. Providing each teacher, at the beginning of the school year or upon employment, with a copy of the policy; and
  3. Providing copies of the policy to any other member of the community upon request.

Education Law Sections 3024, 3025, 3202, 3205, 3206, 3210, 3211 and 3213

8 NYCRR Sections 104.1, 109.2 and 175.6

Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education Policy 7110