Attendance - Students

I.          PURPOSE

 

The Union City Board of Education (“Board) authorizes the following policy recognizing that attendance is a critical component for academic achievement and success.  The Board seeks to reduce the amount of student absences in grades one (1) – twelve (12) by implementing a uniform policy promoting a joint effort among students, parents, teachers, and administrators.  The policy recognizes that school attendance is the responsibility of the student and parent/guardian, supported by the teachers and administration.  Therefore, the purpose of this policy is to encourage regular attendance and punctuality so that learning can take place.  Students are expected to be in school and on time when school is in session.

II.        DEFINITIONS 

 

Day in Session                        

 

For the purposes of school attendance, a “day in session” shall be a day on which the school is open and students are under the guidance and direction of a teacher or teachers engaged in the teaching process.  Days on which school is closed for such reasons as holidays, teachers’ institutes, and inclement weather shall not be considered as days in session.

 

School Day                  

 

A “school day” shall consist of not less than four hours.

 

Day of Attendance      

 

“A day of attendance” shall be one in which the student is present for a full day under the guidance and direction of a teacher while school is in session.             

 

Tardiness                    

 

Students arriving 5 minutes tardy (late) for school or a class/course will be marked late.  Arriving late disrupts the class and interferes with learning.  Each student is required to arrive promptly to school   

 

Cutting Class               

 

“Cutting class’ is when a student absence from class on a day when he/she is present in school and is not otherwise officially excused from attending class by the administration.  Therefore, the penalties for cutting class are severe and each cut will count as an “unexcused absence that count toward truancy.”  Additionally, if a student leaves the school premises at any time during school hours, an appropriate punishment will be determined and may include but is not limited to detention, community service, grade reduction, and loss of privileges, including extra curricular activities and field trips.

 

Unexcused Absences that Count Toward Truancy

 

An unexcused absence that counts toward truancy is a student’s absence from school for a full or portion of a day (cutting) for any reason that is not an excused absence or as defined below.

 

Excused Absences

 

3 prearranged college visits supported by a written letter from the parent and supporting documentation prior to each absence.

Observance of religious holiday pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:36-14 through 16 supported by a written letter from the parent prior to the student’s absence.

Bring Your Child to Work Day supported by a written letter from the parent prior to the student’s absence.

 

Unexcused Absences that Do Not Count Toward Truancy

 

Student illness supported by a written letter from the parent upon return to school  - After 3 days a student must return with a medical note.

Family emergency or death in the family supported by a written letter from the parent upon return to school.

Student suspension from school supported by documentation of a parental conference.

Legal matters including court appearances with a letter from a parent upon return to school – A student who attends Union City Court for excessive absenteeism must return to school after that court session.

 

Medical or dental treatment supported by a medical note upon the student’s return to school.

Other activities as approved by the school including, absences associated with an Individualized Education program pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, accommodation plans under 29 U.S.C. 794 and 705 (20), and individualized health are plans, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-2.3 (b)ix. 

 

An absence for a reason not listed above but deemed an unexcused absence that does not count toward truancy by the school principal.

 

III.       RESPONSIBILITES / EXPECTATIONS:

 

Every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between the ages of six (6) and sixteen (16) years shall cause such child to attend school.  Regular attendance must be during all days and hours that the schools are in session.

 

A.  Student’s Responsibility:  It is the student’s responsibility to:

 

a)    Attend all assigned classes and other instructional activities on time every day that school is in session.

 

b)   Be aware of and follow the correct procedures when absent from an assigned class or other instructional activity.

 

c)    Request any missed assignments due to an absence and complete assigned work in a timely manner.

 

B.  Parent of Guardian’s Responsibility:  It is the responsibility of the student’s parents or guardian to: 

 

a)   Insure the student is attending school.

 

b)   Inform the school in the event of a student absence.

 

c)    Be aware of and follow the correct procedures for reporting student absence; and work cooperatively with the school and the student to resolve any attendance issues that may arise.

 

The Union City Board of Education recognized that, while class attendance is the responsibility of the student and the parent or guardian, there is a shared responsibility with the school to ensure uniformity and compliance designed to prevent excessive absences.  This policy is intended to involve all parties in promoting regular school attendance.

 

C.  Teacher’s Responsibility:  It is the teacher’s responsibility to:

 

a)    Take daily attendance and to maintain accurate attendance records in each assigned class and other instructional activities.

 

b)   Be familiar with all procedures governing attendance and to apply these procedures uniformly in classroom assignments and for all assigned students.

 

c)    Provide any student who has been absent with any missed assignments upon request.

 

d)   Work cooperatively with the student’s parent or guardian and the student to resolve any attendance issues that may arise.

 

e)    Work cooperatively with the student’s parent or guardian when the student’s attendance record impacts academic performance.

 

D.  Administrator’s Responsibility:  It is the administrator’s responsibility to:

 

a)    Require students to attend all assigned classes and other instructional activities.

 

b)   Be familiar with statutes, policies and procedures governing attendance and apply them uniformly to all students.

 

c)    Insure that all teachers properly account for student attendance in a timely manner.

 

d)   Maintain accurate records on student attendance and prepare a list of the previous day’s absences stating the status of each student.

 

e)    Inform the student’s parent or guardian of the student’s attendance problems.

 

f)     Work collaboratively with the teaching staff to develop and implement uniform attendance procedures.

 

g)    If necessary, conduct an investigation to determine the cause of each unexcused absence, including contact with the student’s parents.

 

h)   Develop an action plan in consultation with the student’s parent designed to address patterns of unexcused absence.

 

i)     Proceed in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 9:6-1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11, if a potential missing or abused child situation is detected.

 

j)     Cooperate with the law enforcement and other authorities and agencies as appropriate.

 

IV.       ATTENDANCE RECORDING

 

1.         A record of the attendance of all students on roll in a school register shall be kept each day that school is in session and for each class a student attends by a teacher or other authorized person.  It shall be the duty of this person to keep the attendance records according to these rules and the specific instructions issued by the Commissioner of Education.

 

2.         No student shall be recorded as present unless the school is in session and the student so recorded is under the guidance and direction of a teacher in the teaching process.

 

3.         The Commissioner shall annually prescribe a list of religious holidays on which it shall be mandatory to excuse students for religious observance upon the written request signed by the parent or person standing in loco parentis.

 

4.         The mere presence of a student at roll call shall not be regarded as sufficient attendance for compliance with N.J.A.C. 6A:32-8.3.  In a school which is in session during both the forenoon and the afternoon, a student shall be present at least one hour during both the forenoon and the afternoon in order to be recorded as present for the full day.  In a school which is in session during either the forenoon or the afternoon, a student shall be present at least two hours in the session in order to be recorded as present for the full day.

 

5.         A student not present in school because of his/her participation in an approved school activity, such as a field trip, meeting, cooperative education assignment, or athletic competition will be considered to be in attendance.

 

V.  ENFORCEMENT

 

When a student has four (4) absences that count toward truancy the school administrators working with the teachers and parent must:

 

·      Make a reasonable attempt to notify the parents or legal guardian of each unexcused absence prior to the start of the following school day.  (Reasonable attempt includes sending an email or calling the parent to inform them of the unexcused absence.)

·      Conduct and investigation to determine the cause of each unexcused absence, including contact with the student’s parents.

·      Proceed in contact and cooperation with the parents and the appropriate enforcement agencies if a potential missing or abused child situation is detected

·      Cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities and agencies as appropriate.


When a student has seven (7) unexcused absences that count toward truancy, the subcommittee of the Intervention and Referral Services Team working with the teachers and parents will develop an action plan to address patterns of unexcused absences, if any, and to have the child return to school and maintain regular attendance.  Targeted interventions for achieving the desired outcomes may include, but are not limited to, any or all of the following:

 

·      Conduct assessments, or evaluations of the student’s academic, behavioral and health needs.

·      Assign adult and peer mentors.

·      Continue to consult with the parent and the involved agencies to support the student’s return to school.

·      Continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities and agencies, as appropriate.

 

When a student has ten (10) or more unexcused absences, that count toward truancy, the student is truant, pursuant to N.J.S.A 18A:38-27, the school administrators must: 

 

·      Make a mandatory referral to the court program required by the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts.

·      Make a reasonable attempt to notify the student’s parents of the mandatory referral;

·      Continue to consult with the parent and the involved agencies to support the student’s return to school.

·      Continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities and agencies, as appropriate.

 
In extreme cases of excessive absenteeism where all interventions have been exhausted, the Superintendent of Schools may require the student, parents, and school administrator to appear for a hearing before the Union City Board of Education.

 

Denial of Course/Class Credit

 

Grades 7 - 8

A student in grades seven (7) through eight (8) may be denied course/class credit when he/she has been absent from eighteen (18) or more of the course/class sessions for the school year, whatever the reason for absence, except for excused absences.  Exceptions of this rule may be made for students who have demonstrated to the teacher that through completion of make-up assignments that they have mastered the proficiency established for the course of study or at the discretion of the principal.

 

Grade 9 – 12

A student in grades nine (9) through twelve (12) may be dropped from a course or denied course/class credit when he/she has been absent from eighteen (18) or more of the course/class sessions for the school year, whatever the reason for absence, except for excused absences.  Exceptions of this rule may be made for students who have demonstrated to the teacher that through completion of make-up assignments that they have mastered the proficiency established for the course of study or at the discretion of the principal.

 

VI.       PROCEDURES AFTER AN ABSENCE:

 

 Notice to School of Student’s Absence:

 

·      The parent of emancipated student is requested to call the school office before the start of the student’s school day.

·      The parent of the student or an emancipated student who will attend the morning session, but will not attend the afternoon session should call or provide notice to the school office before the start of the afternoon session.

·      The parent or emancipated student who anticipates a future absence or anticipates that an absence will be prolonged should notify the school office to arrange make-up work.

 

Readmission to School after an Absence:

·      A student returning from an absence of any length of time must provide a written statement that is dated and signed by the parent or emancipated student listing the reason for the absence.

·      A note explaining a student’s absence for a non-communicable illness after the 3rd consecutive absence must be accompanied by a physician’s statement of the student’s illness with medical clearance to return to school.

·      A student who has been absent by reason of having or being suspected of having a communicable disease must present to the school nurse written evidence of being free of communicable disease, in accordance with Policy 8451.

 

Instruction:

·      Teachers shall cooperate in the preparation of home assignments for students who anticipate an excused absence for 2 school days duration.  The parent of student or emancipated student must request such home assignments.

·      A student who anticipates an absence due to a temporary or chronic health condition may be eligible for home instruction in accordance with Polity 2412.  The parent must request home instruction.

·      Students absent for any reason are expected to make up the work missed.  The parent or emancipated student is responsible for requesting missed assignments and any assistance required.  Teachers will provide make-up assignments as necessary.

·      In general, students will be allowed a reasonable amount of time as determined by the teacher to make up missed work.

·      A student who missed a test or an exam shall be offered an opportunity to take the test, exam, or an appropriate alternate test.

 

VII.      SENDING AND RECEIVING RELATIONSHIP REQUIREMENTS

 

Sending and receiving arrangements permit one board of education to “receive” students from another board of education and educate those students together with its own students.  These agreements allow two or more school districts to combine their resources to provide a better education to the students in their respective communities.

 

Receiving Schools:

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-7.1(a), all receiving school districts shall act in accordance with their policy for each student with four (4) unexcused absences.  When and if said student accrues a fifth unexcused absence, the absences must be reported to the sending school district.  The sending school district must proceed in accordance with their policies and procedures as appropriate.

 

Sending Schools:

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.8,  for each student with five or more cumulative unexcused absences reported by the receiving school, the sending school district officials will proceed in accordance with their policies and procedures.

 

Adopted:  26 July 2005

Revised:  21 December 2006

Revised:  28 August 2014

Revised:  28 May 2015

Revised:  28 January 2016