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It is the policy of U-32 and of the Washington Central Supervisory Union to set high expectations for consistent student attendance in accordance with Vermont law. Consistent attendance is important for a student’s academic, social, and emotional growth, as well as for the development of responsible and effective work/study habits. We want all students to be able to complete a course of study that will prepare them for adulthood.
Encouraging students to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to them is a responsibility shared by students, families, our schools, and our communities. Teachers are best able to help students grow when students meet attendance expectations. Inconsistent or poor attendance by some students in a class can have an adverse effect on the general educational environment of the entire class.
U-32 recognizes, however, that many students, and the entire school, benefit from activities that take students out of regular classes to engage in curricular, co-curricular, and other education-related endeavors. This policy strives to meet state-mandated attendance expectations while allowing students to engage in a wide range of educational opportunities.
U-32 staff will comply with this uniform attendance policy; exceptions that are either more stringent or more lenient are not allowed unless mandated by state law (for example, state requirements for driver education).
For All Students, Grades 7-12 -Students are expected to attend school every day unless sick, participating in school-authorized activities outside of school, or are otherwise excused. U-32 sends a letter to families when their student misses five days; this serves as notice that absences are accumulating. If a student is absent for more than 10 days in a school year, no matter the reason, state law requires schools to have a procedure in place to evaluate the absences. This requirement is based on the belief that a student who misses more than 10 days is missing a significant amount of instructional time and may not be able to take full advantage of the opportunities available to him/her. The school’s evaluation will consider a number of factors, such as absences related to school-sponsored, or other pre-approved educational, activities. The student’s parents/guardians may be asked to meet with school officials to discuss the absences.
Partial absences are also of concern. If a student accumulates 10 partial absences – because, for example, s/he is tardy or leaves before the end of the school day – the student’s parents/guardians may be asked to meet with school officials to address the situation.
The evaluation of excessive absences will recognize that some absences are legitimate, and these are excused. Excused absences include illness, observance of a religious holiday, a family death, and a family emergency. Other situations beyond a student’s control will be evaluated. Generally, such an absence will be excused if a situation causes reasonable concern to the parent or guardian for the health or safety of the student. The parent or guardian of the student must confirm, in writing or verbally, the circumstances of the situation.
U-32 also recognizes the conflicts an active student faces in balancing special opportunities that take the student out of school during the normal school day. These include school-sponsored or non-school-sponsored sports, musical, and arts events, and special trips. Excessive time outside of school is a concern, but these absences will generally be excused if the value to the student’s overall education is clear. Students are not relieved of classroom work during such absences, however. They are expected to complete all course obligations either prior to the absence, if possible, or after the absence with an approved plan from the teacher(s) of the missed course(s).
Family vacations and non-school-sponsored educational opportunities that could clearly be scheduled outside of the school year are not acceptable reasons for absence if the limit of 10 days is exceeded.
Chronic truancy will be handled according to the protocol agreed upon by all of the superintendents and the state’s attorney in Washington County, and the state Department for Children and Families.
For Students in Grades 9-12 - Absences in Grades 9-12 apply both to the school day and to individual classes. Just as five absent days trigger a warning letter and 10 absent days trigger an evaluation, the missing of five classes of one subject triggers a warning letter and the missing of 10 classes of one subject triggers an evaluation.
The excusing of class absences is evaluated in the same manner as the excusing of day absences. A student who misses 10 classes of a subject, and the absences are not excused, may be dropped from the class. Evaluation of excessive absences includes an opportunity for the student to request an attendance waiver from an appeals board established by the administration. This request may come before a lengthy anticipated absence or after the absence if the cumulative effect causes the student to trigger an attendance evaluation. Waiver requests may be approved, approved but modified with conditional requirements, or rejected. Requests for a waiver must be based on a reasonable expectation, confirmed by the teacher of the course, that the student will pass the course if s/he remains in the course. The student must also be reasonably current on all course work. Students seeking such a waiver because of a non-school-sponsored activity must document the anticipated educational aspects and goals of any activity according to procedures and guidelines established by the administration.
To report a student as absent, a parent or guardian must nofity the attendance clerk, Tammy Hoermann, at 229.0321 x5149 by 8 a.m. If the school is not notified of the student's absence, the attendance clerk will make all reasonable attempts to contact the parent/guardian/emergency contact regarding the status of the student. Failure to contact the school will result in the absence being unexcused.
Late Arrivals/Early dismissals: Please call our Attendance Clerk, Chrissy George at 229.0321 x5149. Please speak and spell the student's first, last name, TA, the reason for the late arrival or early dismissal and the time the student will arrive, or need to be dismissed. Please have the student sign in or out at the main office upon a late arrival or for an early dismissal.
Partial Absence from a Class: Students are expected to be in classes, Directed Study and CallBack for the entire class period. When a student misses a portion of the class, Directed Study or CallBack for an unexcused reason, either by arriving late, leaving early and not returning or taking unapproved breaks they may receive disciplinary action.
Class Cuts: A class cut occurs when a student chooses not to attend class, Directed Study or CallBack without an acceptable excuse. Once it has been determined that a class has been cut, the student will be assigned a LOFT or detention. For second and subsequent offenses, the student will be required to meet with the administration and may be assigned additional LOFTs or detention.
Truancy: Please see the U-32 Student/Parent Handbook for details.
Participation in Activities on a Day of an Absence: In order to participate in any after-school activity, a student must attend school all day on the day of the activity. Activities include athletics, drama events, musical events, and other club/school sponsored activities. Exceptions will be made for students attending a professional appointment (doctor, dentist, etc.) which could not be scheduled outside the school day or other events beyond the student’s control, such as attending a funeral. The principal or the athletic director must approve exceptions to this procedure.
Participation in school-sponsored activities: Students who participate in school-sponsored activities during the school day such as field trips, visual and performing arts performances or athletic events will not have those absences counted towards their allowable number of absences from class.
Planned Absence: Students who know they will be absent for field trips, rehearsals, athletic events, family trips, etc., must complete work due for the days(s) they will be absent prior to the absence, unless they make prior arrangements with the teacher(s). If a student is going to miss more than a day of school due to a planned absence, they must get a Planned Absence form from the front office that their TA and all of their teachers must sign and turn in.
Students are responsible for work missed due to an absence (unexcused or excused) from class. Teachers may make alternative arrangements based on unforeseen circumstances. If you are unexpectedly absent (such as illness, etc.):
- Students must contact teacher(s) from their class(es) they missed on the day they return to school.
- Long-term assignments are due on the announced date. If you are absent on the due date, you are responsible for handing that work in on the day you return.
- Any student suspended from school is expected to make up academic work for credit. It is the student's responsibility to obtain assignments and make arrangements with teachers to make up quizzes, projects or tests.