JE

ATTENDANCE

Students must be in school every day of the school year in accordance with the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island 16-19-1 and/or 16-19-6. Students must attend scheduled classes every time they meet unless students are excused for the reasons recognized by the school district.

School districts are required by law and regulations to monitor student daily attendance. Detailed student attendance reports are provided to the Rhode Island Department of Education and are used for individual student review, as well as district and state comparisons across organizations and jurisdictions.

Regular and punctual attendance is essential to the overall academic, personal and social development of students. Classroom activities are purposeful and essential to the learning process. The daily exchange between and among students and teachers is essential to student learning. Parents, students and school personnel must work together to help students take advantage of their educational opportunities.

Parental influence is critical to supporting regular school attendance. It is a joint responsibility of the parents/guardians of students and the teachers/administrators of the Smithfield Public Schools to convey to students the importance of regular and punctual school attendance. The Smithfield Public Schools actively monitors student compliance with the district attendance policy.


School District Responsibility

It shall be the responsibility of the school district to establish regulations governing tardiness, early dismissal from school, excused absences, unexcused absences and truancy including but not limited to:

1. Reporting procedures;

2. Recording, tracking and investigating attendance and attendance issues;

3. Reporting of student attendance information to state and federal authorities in accordance with state and federal law, mandates and school department regulations;

4. Establishing a system of criteria, consequences and referral for investigating and addressing excessive absences, truancy, tardiness and dismissals and the failure to notify the school of the reason for the absence/tardiness/dismissal;

5. Establishing guidelines (by school) that provide reasonable opportunity for the student to make up work.


Parents/Guardians and the Student Responsibility

The responsibility to follow the law and regulations referenced above lies with the parents/guardians and students. Parents/guardians and students are ultimately responsible for regular and punctual school attendance.

It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to:

1. Abide by the law and mandates governing attendance;

2. Stress the importance of regular and punctual school attendance with their child;

3. Provide the school with accurate and current daytime telephone numbers where they can be reached;

4. Call the school on the day of their child’s absence to provide a clearly-stated reason for the absence;

5. Provide a written explanation for their child’s absence, signed by the parent/guardian, on the day of their child’s return to school;

6. Make every effort to schedule personal appointments for their child outside of school hours;

7. Plan family vacations when school is not in session;

8. Arrange for make-up work in a timely manner;

9. In cases of long-term illness, notify the school (school nurse and principal) as soon as possible so that provisions may be made for appropriate instruction.

Note: In the event that parents/guardians do not call the school on the day of their child’s absence and provide a written explanation for their child’s absence on the day of their child’s return to school, an unexcused absence may be recorded.

Excused Absences

An excused absence occurs when a student is not present at school or at a school-endorsed activity, but is temporarily excused from attendance because he/she:

· Is ill and attendance in school would endanger his/her health or the health of others

· Has a medical or dental appointment that cannot be scheduled outside of school hours (a doctor’s note is required)

· Has a health emergency within the immediate family

· Has a death in the immediate family

· Is participating in a religious observance of his/her faith

· Is participating in a verified legal court obligation

· Is participating in a college visit (prior approval required)

· Is participating in a military appointment (prior approval required)

If a child is absent for five (5) or more consecutive days due to illness, a doctor’s note and a visit to the school nurse are required upon the student’s return.

In order for a child to be excused from school for any of the reasons listed above, a parent/guardian must:

1. Call the school on the day of their child’s absence to provide a clearly-stated reason for the absence;

2. Provide a written explanation for their child’s absence, signed by the parent/ guardian, on the day of their child’s return to school.

Note: In the event that parents/guardians do not call the school on the day of their child’s absence and provide a written explanation for their child’s absence on the day of their child’s return to school, an unexcused absence may be recorded.


Unexcused Absences/ Truancy

Special circumstances may allow school personnel to distinguish between students who rarely have an unexcused absence and students who have a persistent or chronic pattern of unexcused absences. Truancy is not a single event, but is a pattern of incidents of unexcused absence from school. An unexcused absence occurs when a student is not present at school or at a school-endorsed activity, without acceptable cause including:

· Absence from school without a parent’s/guardian’s knowledge, permission and/or required notification and documentation [Required notification and documentation includes the parent/guardian calling the school on the day of the child’s absence and providing a written explanation for their child’s absence on the day of their child’s return to school.]

· Any student leaving school grounds without a school administrator’s permission

Per Smithfield Public Schools Attendance Policy #3210, once a student accumulates ten (10) unexcused absences, the district may file a truancy petition in Family Court against the parent or student to require appropriate attendance.

VII. Procedures to Report Absences

· Phone Call Required

Parents/Guardians are required to call the school on the day of their child’s absence provide office personnel with a clearly-stated reason for their child’s absence. The phone call must be followed with a note from the parent/guardian on the day of their child’s return to school.

· Documentation Requested for Absentees

A written note for any absence must be provided by the parent/guardian on the day of their child’s return to school and include the following information:

þ The child’s name

þ The date(s) the child was out of school

þ A clearly stated reason for the absence

þ A parent/guardian signature

þ A doctor’s note is required after 5 or more days of consecutive absence.

Note: E-Mail is not an acceptable method of reporting a child’s absence.

Attendance Investigation

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated five (5) or more excused and/or unexcused absences in any given grading term will be notified in writing of this occurrence by the building principal/assistant principal.

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated seven (7) or more excused and/or unexcused absences in any given grading term will be notified in writing that if the child accumulates ten (10) excused or unexcused absences over the course of the school year, the parent/guardian and child will be required to meet with the building principal/assistant principal to develop a clear plan of action to address absenteeism. Furthermore, the Smithfield Public Schools may determine to file a petition of truancy in the Rhode Island Family Courts.

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated ten (10) excused and/or unexcused absences over the course of the school year will be notified in writing of this occurrence by the building principal/assistant principal. This situation will be investigated by the building principal/assistant principal. Elements of this investigation will be documented and dated and may include:

· Review of the student’s attendance record

· Phone call to parent/guardian

· Parent/guardian conference

· Referral to Superintendent or his/her designee

· Referral to the district’s Attendance Officer

The results of such investigation may be included in the filing of a petition of truancy in the Rhode Island Family Courts.


Tardiness to School and Early Dismissal from School

Tardiness and early dismissals disrupt the learning process. Students who are tardy and/or dismissed early miss important instruction and information.

Tardiness to School

Students are considered tardy when they arrive after the documented official start time of school. Parents/guardians must provide a written, clearly stated reason for tardiness.

Early Dismissal from School

Early dismissal occurs when a student leaves before the documented official end of the school day. Parents/guardians must provide a written, clearly stated reason for the early dismissal.

Tardy/ Early Dismissal Investigation

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated five (5) instances of tardiness and/or early dismissal in any given grading term will be notified in writing of this occurrence by the building principal/assistant principal.

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated seven (7) instances of tardiness and/or early dismissal in any given grading term will be notified in writing that the child has accumulated tardies/early dismissals equal to an unexcused absence, which will be recorded in child’s attendance records. The parent/guardian and child will be required to meet with the building principal/assistant principal to develop a clear plan of action to address tardiness/early dismissals. Furthermore, the Smithfield Public Schools may determine to file a petition of truancy in the Rhode Island Family Courts.

The parent/guardian of any child who has accumulated ten (10) instances of tardiness or early dismissal will be notified in writing of this occurrence and may be investigated by the building principal/assistant principal. Elements of this investigation may include:

· Review of the child’ tardy/early dismissal/attendance records

· Phone call to parent/guardian

· Parent/guardian conference

· Referral to Superintendent or his/her designee

· Referral to the district’s Attendance Officer

The results of such investigation may be included in the filing of a petition of truancy in the Rhode Island Family Courts.

References

RI Gen. Laws § 16-19-1 & § 16-19-6

National Forum on Education Statistics. (2009). Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data (NFES 2009

ADOPTED: February 28, 2005

REVISED: August 17, 2009; September 17, 2012; March 11, 2013; September 16, 2013