Attendance

  • Board of Education Policy-Attendance #5200
     
    A student must be present in school a minimum of four (4) hours of instructional time to be given credit for a day’s attendance.
     
    Student attendance must be the concern of all staff members and parents/guardians. Student attendance is not only the function of the attendance office and the assistant principal, but also the function of parents who value the instructional time given to their children and teachers who establish the expectations and learning standards that necessitate regular attendance by students. It requires the continued vigilance of both parents and teachers. While rules and regulations often appear to be punitive in nature, parents and teaching staff
    members should make every effort to compliment regular attendance and to reward it accordingly.
     
    A. Definitions
     
    NJDOE Regulations N.J.S.A 18:A 36-14 through 16 requires all daily absences except the following to be reported as unexcused for school accountability measures only
     
    1. Religious observance as recognized on the annual list of religious holidays
    2. Take Your Child to Work Day
    3. College Visitation (three visits annually in 11th and 12th grade) 
    Additional "excused" class absences as noted below are taken into consideration if a student reaches credit withdrawal in a class. If a student exceeds the maximum number of absences in any class, the student is placed in withdrawal of credit status. A review of the reasons for this student's absences will be carried out. At that time, the student may not be penalized for excused absences if supporting documentation is provided by the student. Students should retain all documentation to substantiate their absences; documentation will be needed in order to discharge any absence. 
     
    1. Regular attendance - is defined as being present for all classes and activities on his/her individually approved instructional program except as enumerated below.
     
    2. Absence from school - is defined as non-attendance in regular classes and assigned locations for the entire school day. Absence from school is either excused or unexcused.
     
    3. Excused absence - is defined as an absence due to the reasons below:
     
    • An absence will be excused for a student’s illness (a physician’s note must be provided upon return or within 48 hours).
     
    • An absence will be excused if a student has a death in his/her immediate family.
     
    • An absence will be excused for school-sponsored educational opportunities.
     
    • An absence will be excused for religious observances, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:36-14 through 16.
     
    • An absence will be excused if a student is required to attend court or other judicious appointments.
     
    • An absence will be excused for a reason not listed above, but deemed excused by the building principal, upon written request by the student’s parent or legal guardian to the building principal or designee stating the reason for the absence and requesting permission for the absence to be excused.
     
    4. Unexcused Absences (that do not count towards truancy) - is generally defined as any reason not listed in number three above. Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, vacations, working, oversleeping, issues associated with private transportation, personal prom preparations, etc.
     
    5. Truancy - is defined as an absence from all or a part of the school day without the knowledge of the pupil’s parent or legal guardian. It generally takes the form of an unexcused/unexplained absence for the whole school day and is recorded as a “cut” in all missed classes.
     
    6. Cutting - is defined as unexcused or unexplained absence from school, class(es), or assigned location(s). It generally takes the form of selectively missing one or more assigned class(es) or assigned location(s) while being present for the school day. Seniors who cut school may jeopardize their privilege to participate in the graduation ceremony. Juniors who cut school may jeopardize their senior parking privilege.
     
    7. Tardy to class or school - is defined as not being in an assigned seat or at an assigned location by the time the bell or signal ceases.
     
    8. Withdrawal of Credit - is defined as a loss of credit due to excessive absences (excused or unexcused) or cutting.
     
     
    B. Rules and Regulations
     
    The primary responsibility of the attendance office is to keep accurate records of school enrollment in accordance with the law. Students report to the attendance office when they are late to school or when a parent or guardian is waiting to sign them out prior to regular dismissal.
     
    1. Absences from School
    Parents are required to notify the attendance office of a student’s absence. If your child will be absent, you MUST call the attendance office by 7:30 AM (early schools) or 8:25 AM (late schools) on the day of the absence.
     
    • All students must bring a written note to the attendance office within 48 hours of the return to school. However, this DOES NOT exclude the fact that a physician’s note or other types of verification may be required by the high school administration. All notes will be dated and placed in the student’s file in the attendance office. If a note is not received within 48 hours by the attendance office, the absence will be considered unexcused and will result in disciplinary action for failure to follow proper procedure or the student may be considered truant from school.
     
    2. Tardiness to School
    Students who are tardy to school must report to the attendance office to sign in and obtain a pass to class. Attending school but failing to report to the attendance office, will result in disciplinary action.
     
    • Students who arrive late for 1st period will be marked absent for that particular class if more than half of the period is missed.
     
    • A tardy (dentist, doctor, court, driver’s license, etc.) for which a note is submitted to the attendance office prior to or upon arrival to school, may not result in disciplinary action. The note must indicate the day of the appointment and the doctor’s/dentist’s telephone number on their professional stationary so it can be verified.
     
    The following are not excused reasons for being tardy: needed at home, overslept, car trouble, personal business, or appointments that cannot be verified. Some reasons may be excused by the administration on an individual basis.
     
    Excessive tardiness may result in a parental conference and/or disciplinary action.
     
     
    3. Early Dismissal
     
    Students who may need to be excused from school early or for part of the day must have a valid and verifiable reason.
    A written note from a parent/guardian must be presented to the attendance office prior to 1st period. The note must include a phone number where the parent/guardian can be reached for verification. The note must also include the time, reason, and person who is picking up the student. The person picking up the student must be listed on the students’ emergency card as an emergency contact. A pass will be given to the student for the designated time of dismissal. The student must be signed out at the attendance office by the parent/guardian or designated emergency contact. Telephone calls will not be accepted for early dismissal. Students granted permission to leave early will have their names and time of departure listed on the absence list. Permission to leave school will be granted only for those reasons defined as excused by Board of Education policy.
     
    Students are not permitted to leave school early for reasons of work, needed at home to run parental errands, personal business, or appointments that cannot be verified. We request that doctor/dentist appointments
    be scheduled after school hours. In the event of an emergency, the student will be paged. Call ahead (if possible) so that staff can contact the student and have him/her ready and waiting when the parent/guardian arrives at school.
     
    4. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that any missed work is completed in accordance with each of his/her teacher’s requirements.
     
    5. Students who are absent from school, sign out early, or who do not meet the minimum four (4) hour instructional time requirement, are not eligible to participate in any practice, game, meet, special program, evening activity event, or program scheduled for that day without the prior approval of the school administration. Extenuating circumstances may include family emergencies, funerals, religious obligations, a driver’s test, etc.
     
    6. Students attending the prom must report to school on time and be marked present on the day of the prom, the day preceding the day of the prom and the school day following the prom. Seniors absent from school on these days (without a valid doctor’s note) jeopardize their privilege to participate in the graduation ceremony and juniors may
    jeopardize their senior parking privileges. 
     
    7. Course credit WILL be withdrawn if a student’s total number of absences (excused and unexcused/unexplained) is excessive. Excessive is defined as exceeding five (5) days for a quarter year course, nine (9) days for a semester course, fourteen (14) days for a three-quarter year course, and eighteen (18) days for a full-year course. Those students in Credit Withdrawal may also be subject to the loss of student privileges (i.e. Senior Trip).
     
    8. Students may be subject to disciplinary action by the school administration for excessive cutting. Course credit will be withdrawn if a student’s total number of cutting incidents exceeds one (1) in a quarter year course, two (2) in a semester course, or three (3) in a full-year and/or three-quarter year course.

    9. For each unexcused/unexplained absence, students may be subject to disciplinary action by the school administration which may include the denial of a pupil’s participation in co-curricular activities and/or athletic competition. In addition, course credit may also be withdrawn if a student’s total number of absences is excessive.
     
    10. In order to remain on the roll at the school, a student must continue to attend a full schedule of classes even when excessive absences have denied that student credit in one or more courses. In the event a student has lost credit in a course and is also carrying a failing average, the grade of ‘‘E” will take precedence over the “WAT.” If the absences
    are excessive and are excused, an incomplete may be recorded until all work is completed.
     
    C. Attendance Records
     
    1. Each classroom teacher, in the normal course of maintaining attendance records on each student will notify verbally any pupil when he/she has reached one (1) absence in a quarter year course, two (2) absences in a semester course, three (3) absences in a three quarter year course, and four (4) absences in a full-year course.
     
    2. Notification of absences at specific intervals will also be provided through the Parent Portal. Letters will be posted and available for review by the parent/guardian.
     
    3. In addition to official notification, teachers are encouraged to directly inform parents via conferences, progress reports, notes, and/or telephone calls when absences may effect a student’s grades or credit withdrawal status.
     
    4. All staff members shall maintain accurate attendance records for each student assigned to their classes. Students not in class for any reason are to be marked absent with the reason noted. Examples: Field Trip-F, Guidance Appointment-G, Main Office-MO, and Nurse w/time-NT. Students who are “cutting” or “in class but on the absentee list” should be reported to the main office.
     
    5. Teachers and coaches who have students participating in school sponsored field trips/activities, must submit a list of students to the school’s office prior to the trip/activity for distribution to all staff members in advance in accordance with building directives.
     
    D. Credit Appeal
     
    1. Course credit will be withdrawn if a student’s total number of absences (excused and unexcused/unexplained) is “excessive.” Once credit has been withdrawn and the student has been notified, the student and/or the parent may appeal for credit reinstatement. The successive order of the individual(s) or group(s)s that an appeal should be
    submitted to is listed below:
     
    • Attendance Review Committee
    • Principal
     
    2. An Attendance Review Committee will be established in each high school by the building principal. The members of such committee shall serve at his/her discretion. If the Attendance Review Committee denies reinstatement of credit, the student and/or the parent may appeal to the building principal.
     
    E. Tardiness to Class
     
    All students are expected to be on time to every class or have a legitimate pass from a teacher, administrator, or staff member. If a student is late for class, he/she must report to the assigned class without a pass. Students are not to report to the office for a late pass. Teachers will admit students who are late and impose discipline on an individual basis. Students must seek and receive permission from the teacher of the scheduled class prior to missing all or any portion of the instructional time. Students who solicit passes from other teachers, counselors, or staff members without prior approval, may find those passes unacceptable to the scheduled teacher. Excessive tardiness to class will result in disciplinary action by the school administration. Students will be marked absent from any class, if more than half of the period is missed.
     
    F. Class Trips/Educational Excursions
     
    Students that participate in school sponsored trips must submit a permission slip signed by a parent/guardian prior to the trip. All school rules/regulations remain in effect while participating in a school sponsored activity or trip. Students must follow the directions of chaperones and staff members and appropriate behavior is required. Students participating on a class trip must make suitable prior arrangements for transportation from school to home if the scheduled return is after school hours. Students with excessive absences in certain classes are advised that attending field trips may result in a loss of credit in those classes. NOTE: Neither the Board of Education nor the school sponsors or endorses ski trips.
     
    G. Hall Passes
     
    Students must obtain a hall pass from their teacher to be in the halls while classes are in session. Students in the hall without a hall pass may be assigned a detention. Students MUST carry their hall pass with them at all times and present it to staff when requested.
     
    H. Leaving School Grounds
     
    Upon arrival to school grounds, students are not permitted to leave the school building/school grounds without the permission of the administration. Students may only leave the building if they are picked up by a parent/guardian or an adult designated by the parent/guardian. Students must then sign out in the attendance office. Leaving the school building or school grounds without the permission of the administration will be considered a serious offense and will result in disciplinary action.
     
    I. Traveling Students (Vocational, Co-op, and Senior Leave)
     
    All students must sign in and out of school through the attendance office each day. Students returning from or departing to another school between class periods must show their school ID at the school’s security desk and report directly to their assigned location. Students may not be in the hallways between classes. Failure to comply and follow proper procedures shall result in disciplinary action. Students who are transported directly from their homes to vocational school in the morning are asked to also call transportation at 732-431-8368 if they will be absent from school.