Student Absences/Excuses/Dismissals (Policy JED)
I. Student Attendance Policy
Student attendance is a cooperative effort and the School Board shall involve parents and students in accepting the responsibility for good attendance.
Each parent/guardian or person having control or charge of a child within the compulsory attendance age shall be responsible for such child’s regular and punctual attendance at school as required under provisions of the law.
A reasonable effort shall be made to contact a parent/guardian of each absent student every day, and to obtain an explanation for the student’s absence, where there is no indication that the student’s parent is aware of and supports the absence. A log will be kept of call attempts.
Students who are absent must bring a valid note stating the reason for absence upon returning to school. Unexcused absences shall be handled according to regulations issued by the Superintendent.
The Superintendent’s regulations will include procedures for excusing students who are absent by reason of observance of a religious holiday. Such regulations will ensure that a student is not deprived of any award, or of the right to take an alternate test or examination, which he missed by reason of such absence, if the absence is verified in an acceptable manner.
Students shall attend school for a full day unless otherwise excused. Secondary students shall be scheduled for a full school day unless they are enrolled in a cooperative work-study program. All other exceptions to a full day schedule must be approved on an individual basis by the Superintendent or designee.
High school students may spend a maximum of 180 school days each academic year participating in High School to Work Partnerships established pursuant to guidelines developed by the Board of Education. The Superintendent’s regulations will specify that students who miss a partial or full day of school while participating in Partnership programs will not be counted as absent for the purposes of calculating average daily membership. The regulations will also include procedures by which students may make up work missed while participating in a High School to Work Partnership.
Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit in any way the authority of any attendance officer or the division Superintendent or his designee to seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance law.
II. Compulsory Attendance Procedures
A. Upon Fifth Absence Without Parental Awareness and Support
If (1) a student fails to report to school for a total of five scheduled school days for the school year, and (2) there is no indication that the student’s parent is aware of and supports the absence; and (3) reasonable efforts to notify the parent of the absences have failed, then the principal or his designee or the attendance officer shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent, either in person or through telephone conversation, to obtain an explanation for the pupil’s absence and to explain to the parent the consequences of continued nonattendance. The school principal or his designee or the attendance officer, the pupil, and the pupil’s parent shall jointly develop a plan to resolve the pupil’s nonattendance. Such plan shall include documentation of the reasons for the pupil’s nonattendance.
B. Upon Sixth Absence Without Parental Awareness and Support
If the pupil is absent an additional day after direct contact with the pupil’s parent and the attendance officer has received no indication that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, either the school principal or his designee or the attendance officer shall schedule a conference within ten school days, which must take place no later than the fifteenth school day after the sixth absence. At the conference, the pupil, his parent, and school personnel, shall meet to resolve issues related to the pupil’s nonattendance. Other community service providers may also be included in the conference.
C. Upon Additional Absence Without Parental Awareness and Support
Upon the next absence after the conference without indication to the attendance officer that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, the principal or designee shall notify the attendance officer or Superintendent or his designee who shall enforce the compulsory attendance rules by either or both of the following: (i) filing a complaint with the juvenile and domestic relations court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision as defined in § 16.1-228 or (ii) instituting proceedings against the parent pursuant to § 18.2-371 or § 22.1-262. In filing a complaint against the student, the attendance officer shall provide written documentation of the efforts already undertaken to resolve the pupil’s absence. If the student’s parents have joint physical custody of the student and the school has notice of the custody arrangement, then both parents shall be notified at their last known addresses.
D. Parental Cooperation in Remedying Excessive Unexcused Absences
It is expected that parents will cooperate with the attendance officer and other school officials to remedy the student’s attendance problem. Where direct contact with a parent cannot be made, despite reasonable efforts, or where parents otherwise fail to cooperate in remedying the student’s attendance problem, the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee may seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance laws. The attendance officer, with the knowledge and approval of the Superintendent, shall institute proceedings against any parent who fails to comply with the requirements of the compulsory attendance laws. Where the complaint arises out of the parent’s failure to comply with the requirements of § 22.1-258, the attendance officer shall document the school division’s compliance with this Code section.
E. If steps A-D have been followed and the student continues the practice of unexcused absences to a total of 18 days for the semester, the principal of the school or his designee may recommend to the Superintendent of schools that the student be dropped from school for the remainder of the semester.
The parent shall be so informed in writing with a copy of the notification sent to the division Superintendent of schools. The Superintendent or his designee will have final authority in determining if the student will be dropped from school.
III. Report for Suspension of Driver’s License
In addition to any other actions taken pursuant to this policy, if a student who is under 18 years of age has 10 or more unexcused absences from school on consecutive school days, the principal, or his designee, may notify the juvenile and domestic relations court, which may take action to suspend the student’s driver’s license.
IV. Attendance Reporting
Student attendance shall be monitored and reported as required by state law and regulations. At the end of each school year, each public school principal shall report to the Superintendent the number of pupils by grade level for whom a conference was scheduled pursuant to Part II (B) above. The Superintendent shall compile this information and provide it annually to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
V. Dismissal Precautions
Principals shall not release a student during the school day to any person not authorized by the student’s parent/guardian to assume responsibility for the pupil. Students shall be released only on request and authorization of parent or guardian. The Superintendent shall provide procedures for release of pupils who are not residing with or under the supervision of a parent/guardian. The burden of proof on the authority of the person to receive the student is on the requesting party. A formal check-out system shall be maintained in each school.
Overview of VA Laws Regarding Truancy:
Any absence Reasonable effort to notify by telephone and to obtain an explanation of the absence.
5th Unexcused Reasonable effort to have direct contact via telephone or in person to explain consequences of continued nonattendance and to jointly develop a plan (written plan - conference form) to resolve nonattendance.
More than 1 additional Unexcused
Conference held within 10 days after 10th unexcused absence. Conferences may include attendance officers and community service providers.
Additional Unexcused Attendance officers shall schedule a conference within 10 days of referral and may charge. Multidisciplinary team should hold additional meetings as needed. If noncompliant, referral to the attendance officer who will contact the parent. Attendance officers may refer to court services.
Campbell County Procedures:
5/10 Total Absences Doctor’s notes required for future absences. (5 per block class/10 regular class)
3rd Unexcused Send a letter requesting notes.
5th Unexcused Send letter requesting parent conference. Complete Truancy Plan with parent and student. Can be a phone conference.
More than 1 additional Unexcused
Referral to Truancy Coordinator. Schedule an ITRT meeting to develop an intervention plan. Must be held not later than 10 days from 10th unexcused absence.
Additional Unexcused Attendance officer referral to schedule a conference within 10 days to determine if a charge is warranted. Monitor and conference with the student and parent as needed.
Individual School Procedure:
Letters File in school by monthly folders.
Truancy Plans File in school by name.
Send copies of letters and Truancy Plan to Truancy Coordinator on the 7th unexcused absence.
Letter 10 (Truancy Flag)
5 unexcused Attendance Plan Code
7+ unexcused ITRT
8+ unexcused Petition
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chronic Absenteeism?
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year, regardless of reason. Chronic absenteeism includes excused and unexcused absences. For accountability purposes, students with a chronic absenteeism rate of 10.00 percent or greater are chronically absent.
What is the Virginia Standards of Accreditation?
The Virginia Board of Education's Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia are designed to ensure that an effective educational program is established and maintained in Virginia's public schools. The accreditation standards:
§ Provide an essential foundation of educational programs of high quality in all schools for all students;
§ Encourage continuous appraisal and improvement of the school program for the purpose of raising student achievement;
§ Foster public confidence;
§ Assure recognition of Virginia's public schools by other institutions of learning; and
§ Establish a means of determining the effectiveness of schools.
The Board of Education’s 2017 Standards of Accreditation (SOA) support continuous improvement for all schools, and college, career and civic readiness for all students. The revisions include graduation requirements aligned with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate and school accreditation standards that include new measures of quality and performance.
How is Chronic Absenteeism a part of the Virginia Standards of Accreditation?
In combination with Graduation and Completion Index (high schools), Dropout Rate (high schools), and College, Career and Civic Readiness (high schools), Virginia joined 35 states to use chronic absenteeism as a School Quality Indicator to measure student engagement.
How are schools rated under the new Virginia Standards of Accreditation?
The revised SOA simplifies the Commonwealth’s accountability system by reducing the number of overall accreditation ratings that schools may earn. Under the new system, schools earn one of the following three ratings:
· Accredited — Schools with all school-quality indicators at either Level One or Level Two
· Accredited with Conditions — Schools with one or more school-quality indicators at Level Three
· Accreditation Denied — Schools that fail to adopt or fully implement required corrective actions to address Level 3 school-quality indicators. A school rated as Accreditation Denied may regain state accreditation by demonstrating to the Board of Education that it is fully implementing all required corrective action plans.
How is Chronic Absenteeism measured in the Virginia Standards of Accreditation?
Chronic absenteeism is calculated using a three-step process. First, a student's end-of-year membership is determined by dividing the student’s total days present, absent, and unscheduled by the total days in session for a given school. If the student's average daily membership is 50 percent or greater in a given school year, the student is included in the school’s chronic absenteeism calculation. Next, a student is determined to be chronically absent if the rate of their days absent divided by their total days in membership is greater than or equal to 10 percent. Lastly, to determine the school chronic absenteeism rate, the number of students that are absent 10 percent or more is divided by the total number of students with membership greater than or equal to 50 percent of a school’s end-of-year membership.
In the SOA, performance on this indicator is rated as follows:
0-15 percent OR 10 percent decrease from previous year if in Level Two range
16-24 percent OR 10 percent decrease from previous year if in Level Three range
25 percent or higher OR Level Two or Three for more than four consecutive years beginning in 2018-2019
Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year chronic absenteeism rate 15 percent or lower (that is, no more than 15 percent of the students missing 10 percent of the school year), or schools within the Level Two range that decrease the chronic absenteeism rate by 10 percent or more from the previous year.
Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance and with a chronic absenteeism rate of no more than 25 percent, or schools within the Level Three range that decrease the chronic absenteeism rate by 10 percent or more from the previous year.
Level Three: Schools with a current year or cumulative three-year chronic absenteeism rate of 25 percent or higher, or schools with a Level Two or Level Three rating for more than four consecutive years beginning in the 2018-2019 accreditation year.
· Students receiving homebound instruction are excluded from Chronic Absenteeism reporting.
· A student must attend 50 percent of the current school year to be counted in Chronic Absenteeism reporting.
Why does Chronic Absenteeism matter?
Research on chronic absences, summarized on the Attendance Work web page, reinforces the belief that children may experience academic difficulty if they are not in class to access instruction. Students who are chronically absent, for any reason, listed on the Attendance Work Chronic Absentee web page may have more difficulty mastering reading concepts by third grade, a higher probability of failing subjects in middle school, and an increased probability of dropping out of school once they reach high school. For these reasons, the Virginia Department of Education recognizes the need to address chronic absenteeism as necessary and good for all students in the Commonwealth.
Is Chronic Absenteeism different from truancy?
Yes. Chronic absenteeism is a measure of absenteeism that encompasses excused absences, unexcused absences, and absences due to suspension. In Virginia, truancy is defined as “…the act of accruing one or more unexcused absences.” Truancy is a measure of unexcused absences, which is a part of chronic absenteeism, but does not provide a global look at the potential for lost instruction due to absences for any reason. Measuring rates of chronic absenteeism recognizes that many students miss school for understandable reasons, for which a compliance driven approach is not the appropriate response. For more information about the difference between chronic absenteeism and truancy, visit the Attendance Works webpage.
Are suspended students included in the calculation of a school’s absenteeism rate?
Yes. Students suspended from school are included in the chronic absenteeism calculation.
Are students receiving educational services at home due to a suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action included in the calculation of a school’s absenteeism rate?
No. Students receiving instructional services in their homes due to disciplinary actions are excluded from the chronic absenteeism calculation. For the purposes of calculation of the chronic absenteeism rate, instructional services include a student’s attendance at an alternative education placement, and school board approved home-based services.
If a student is suspended and subsequently removed from school by his/her parent(s) to attend an approved home school program, the requirements set forth in § 22.1-254.1 should be followed by the student’s parents and school division personnel prior to the student’s removal from the school roster.
Are students receiving homebound instruction included in the calculation of a school’s chronic absenteeism rate?
No. Students receiving homebound instruction for medical illness at any point in the year are excluded from the chronic absenteeism calculations for the entire year.