Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Regular attendance develops patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory. The State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of 7 (or younger if enrolled) and 16 attend school. Parents or legal guardians have the responsibility for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.
A. ATTENDANCE RECORDS
School officials shall keep an accurate record of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Attendance records will be used to enforce the Compulsory Attendance Law of North Carolina.
Each principal and his staff are expected to exert every effort to assure maximum attendance by all students. Attendance requirements shall be made clear to all students as well as the procedures involved in dealing with absences. Vigilance in regard to attendance will be enhanced if one of the school administrators or other designated staff member is assigned the responsibility for monitoring attendance.
Principals shall develop procedures for recording attendance and investigating all cases of frequent or successive unexplained absences. It is expected that principals and teachers, through the use of these procedures, uphold the minimum 1,000 hours of instruction as required by the General Statutes and State Board Regulations.
To be counted present for the school day, a student must be in attendance for at least one-half of the school day. This shall include attendance at official school activities at a place other than school, with the approval of the principal. For a middle or high school student to be counted present in a class, he/she must be present for at least one-half of the class period.
B. EXCUSED ABSENCES
When a student must miss school, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian must be presented to the teacher within three days of returning after an absence. An absence may be excused for the following reasons:
1. personal illness or injury which makes the student physically unable to attend school;
2. isolation ordered by the State Board of Health;
3. death in the immediate family;
4. emergency medical or dental appointment or such an appointment which has been approved by the principal;
5. participation under subpoena as a witness in a court proceeding or if the student is a party to the action of a court or administrative tribunal;
6. observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student's parent(s) with prior approval by the principal;
7. participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel, with prior approval by the principal; or
8. absence due to pregnancy and related conditions or parenting, when medically necessary.
In addition, a student whose parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services as defined by policy 4050, Children of Military Families, and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted additional excused absences at the discretion of the superintendent or designee to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian.
Extended illnesses will require a statement from a physician that verifies the need for non-attendance.
C. SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES
All classroom activities are important and difficult, if not impossible, to replace if missed. Principals shall ensure that classes missed by students due to school-related activities are kept to an absolute minimum. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:
1. field trips sponsored by the school;
2. school-initiated and scheduled activities;
3. serving as a legislative or governmental page;
4. athletic events requiring early dismissal from school;
5. in-school suspensions; and
6. Academic Support Center, if attended.
Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible for makeup by the student. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
D. MAKE UP WORK/TIME
In the case of excused absences and out-of-school suspensions, the student will be permitted to make up his or her work. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
At-risk students who miss days or class may be allowed to make up the missed time during non-school hours.
E. ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS
Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement. The principal shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378 for excessive absences.
• A K-8 student is expected to attend school 180 days unless absent for lawful reasons. Any student who accumulates and exceeds fifteen (15)absences is in jeopardy of receiving no credit for work done during a given school year.
• After seven (7) accumulative absences, the teacher responsible for recording suchabsences shall send a "warning" notice to the parent/guardian that the student is in jeopardy of losing credit for work or courses taken due to excessive absences. A copy of this notice must be filed in the principal's or his designee's office.
• After more than fifteen (15) accumulative absences for the year, the teacher shall notify the principal or his designee, and the principal or his designee shall notify the parent/guardian that the student will not receive credit for the year unless a waiver is obtained.
• If a student is absent more than fifteen (15)days in a given year, his/her parent/guardian may apply for a waiver of the attendance requirements in order to prove extenuating circumstances or legitimate illness. The parent/guardian must present written verification acceptable to the principal or his designee within five (5) days of receipt of the no-credit notification. It shall be the responsibility of the parent/guardian to apply for the waiver. The principal may name an attendance committee to investigate and make a recommendation as to the granting of a waiver. The principal shall have the final decision whether or not to grant such a waiver. In the absence of a request by the parent/guardian to apply for a waiver, the principal shall make a decision on this matter and notify the parent/guardian by letter.
• Upon denial of a waiver by the principal, a student will have the option of make-up as available and as prescribed at individual schools.
• A 9-12 student is expected to attend school for 180 days unless absent for lawful reasons.High school students should be in attendance a minimum of 83 days per semester or 166 days per school year to receive credit for a course.
• Any student who accumulates and exceeds 7 absences for any course during a semester is in immediate jeopardy of receiving a failing grade and receiving no credit for the course.
• Unexcused tardies shall be made up as specified by individual school policy.
• After three (3) accumulative unexcused absences in any course, the teacher responsible for recording such absences shall send a "warning" notice to the parent/guardian that the student is in immediate jeopardy of losing credit for that course due to excessive absences. A copy of this notice must be filed in the principal's or his designee's office.
Upon request of the student or parent, the Attendance Committee will consider whether this policy should be waived or whether the student's grades should be reduced because of the absences. The student must submit a waiver request form to the committee and other documentation that supports the student's request. The committee will review other measures of academic achievement, the circumstances of the absences, the number of absences, and the extent to which the student completed missed work. The committee may recommend to the principal and the principal may make any of the following determinations:
• the student will not receive a passing grade for the semester;
• the student's grade will be reduced;
• the student will receive the grade otherwise earned; or the student will be given additional time to complete the missed work before making a determination of the appropriate grade.
Students having excused absences due to documented chronic health problems will be exempted from this policy.
Cross References: Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students (policy 4023), Children of Military Families (policy 4050)
Adopted: June 28, 2010
Revised: August 2, 2010