W.I.              Attendance Policy

 

 

PHILOSOPHY STATEMENT 

New York State Education Law requires that the students enrolled in the West Islip School District attend school every day. The educational program offered by this district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation. The regular contact of students with one another in the classroom and their participation in a well-planned instructional activity under the tutelage of a competent teacher are vital to this purpose. Absences have a highly adverse effect on the student as well as the entire educational program. Therefore, the Board of Education urges all parents to make every effort for their children to be in attendance.

 

OBJECTIVES 

The objectives of the West Islip School District Attendance Policy are as follows:  

1. To determine the districtís average daily attendance for State aid purposes.

2. To verify compliance with compulsory education laws.

3. To know the whereabouts of every student for safety and other reasons.

4. To identify attendance patterns to design improvement efforts.

5. To close gaps in student performance.

6. To increase school completion.  

ATTENDANCE & COURSE CREDIT

(for high school and middle school credit bearing courses)  

Regular attendance is expected in all classes, and is considered essential for student success for purposes of this policy, classroom participation means that a student is in class and prepared to work. 

Consequently, each marking period 20% of a studentís final grade will be based on classroom participation while 80% of the studentís final grade will be based on the studentís performance on homework, tests, papers, projects, etc.  

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. Consistent with the importance of classroom participation, any absence from class which is not made up shall result in the loss of 2 points from the studentís class participation grade for the marking period. Making up the class will not remove the absence from the total attendance count.  

Any student who absents himself/herself from more than twenty seven classes in a full year course, thirteen classes in a half year or alternating day course, or forty classes in a lab course will not receive credit for the course. Note: For seniors loss of credit could jeopardize graduation.) However, where a student earns a passing grade, credit will not be denied for the course(s).  

Transfers and students re-enrolling after having dropped out will be expected to attend a minimum of 85% of the scheduled class meetings during their time of enrollment as a condition for course credit pursuant to this policy. Absences will be prorated according to the possible number of class meetings.  

Students will be considered in attendance if the student is:  

a) Physically present in the classroom or working under the direction of the classroom teacher during the class scheduled meeting time; or

b) Working pursuant to approved independent study program; or

c) Receiving approved alternative/home instruction.

The following is a list of absences that will count/not count towards loss of course credit:  

REASONS FOR ABSENCES

Student Initiated and/or Unexcused

School Initiated and or Excused Absences

Illness/Family Illness

 

Suspension (In & Out of school)

Death in family

 

Religious observance

Doctor/Dentist appointment

 

Field trip

College visitation

 

Music lesson

Family vacations

 

Guidance appointment

Truancy /Class cut

 

Group/Individual counseling

Physical/nurse appointment

Required court appearance

 

Standardized testing

 

 

Attendance at CSE or other school initiated meetings.

*Students who have frequent absences due to a chronic medical condition may apply for a waiver from the attendance policy as long as the illness is substantiated in writing by a physician. However, this exception will become void if a student voluntarily cuts class. 

If a student identified as having a disability by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) does not meet the attendance requirements, he/she will be referred to the CSE before any other action is taken. 

Students who are absent from class due to their participation in a school sponsored activity are to arrange with their teachers to make up any work missed in a timely manner as determined by the studentís teacher.  

Any student who misses a class is expected immediately upon his or her return to identify the material covered. Make up opportunities will be provided for all students absent from class, except for absences due to cutting or truancy. The student will have the opportunity to make up the classes and work missed in accordance with procedures established by the classroom teacher.  

Upon completion of the assigned make up work, the student will be given credit for classroom work as well as classroom participation.  

To assure due process, the implementation of this minimal attendance policy will be in accordance with rules and regulations as developed by the administration. Further, the District shall vigorously publicize and disseminate this policy in order to ensure faculty, student, and parental/guardian awareness.  

SUMMER SCHOOL ATTENDANCE  

Summer school attendance will follow the 85% guideline set forth in this policy for attendance during the regular school year. A student who has more than three absences will lose credit and be dropped from the course. 

BOCES ATTENDANCE

Loss of credit in a BOCES program will be determined by the attendance policy established by Eastern Suffolk BOCES.  

APPEALS PROCESS 

Should a parent/guardian believe that extenuating circumstances exist an appeal in regard to loss of course credit can be made directly to the building principal.

 

SANCTIONS/INCENTIVES TO BE UTILIZED TO IMPROVE ATTENDANCE

 SANCTIONS 

1. Cut policy - range of penalties from detention to out of school suspension.

2. Suspension or withdrawal of parking and lunch privileges for seniors.

3. Loss of course credit - refusal of summer school.

 INCENTIVES 

1.   Attendance component of Renaissance program.

2.  End of year celebration for students with perfect attendance.

 

NOTIFICATION OF PARENTS 

1. The attendance policy will be included in student handbooks and will be reviewed with students at the start of the school year.

2. Parents will receive a plain language summary of this policy by mail at the start of each school year. Parents will be asked to sign and return a statement indicating that they have read and understand the policy.

3. A back-to-back event will be held at the beginning of each school year to explain this policy and stress the parentís responsibility for their ensuring their childrenís attendance.

4. School newsletters and publications will include periodic reminders of the components of this policy.

5. The District will provide a copy of the attendance policy and any amendments thereto to faculty and staff. New staff will receive a copy upon their employment with the District.

6. The District will provide a copy of the attendance policy to any other member of the community upon request.

 

To ensure that parents and students are aware of the implication of the Districtís minimum attendance policy, the teacher or other appropriate school personnel will counsel the student, and contact the studentís parents by mail, at appropriate intervals prior to the student reaching twenty-seven absences in a full year course, thirteen absences in a half year or alternating day course, or forty classes in a lab course.  

When a student cuts class or is absent, tardy, or departs early without proper excuse, designated staff members will notify the studentís parents in writing.  

The District will periodically review attendance data to identify any patterns or trends in student absences, and the District will take appropriate action to remedy any such patterns or trends in student absences if any are identified. 

Some examples of group attendance are as follows:  

1. Consistent absence of a group of students from a particular period (e.g., first period, period after lunch, last period)

2. Consistent absence of several athletes on post game mornings that does not coincide with any school sanctioned activity.  

The nature of the group and the specific patterns will be identified through the process of a review of attendance records by the responsible individual in the District. Individual students may also engage in pattern absences as well.  

STRATEGIES TO MEET OBJECTIVES

(Some duplication of items already mentioned)

1. Daily attendance calls.

2. Identification of absence patterns.

3. Period by period attendance.

4. Communication with parents.

5. Certified letters.

6. Packet of information available to parents detailing places to seek help.

7. Social Worker/Psychologist home visits

8. Parent conferences/case conferences.

9. Instructional Support Team referral.

10. Committee on Special Education referral.

11. School security personnel.

 

RESPONSIBILITY FOR REVIEW OF ATTENDANCE RECORDS

 

The Principal of each elementary school, the Principal and Assistant Principal at each middle school, the Principal, Associate Principal, Deans, and Guidance Counselors at the high school, as well as the districtís attendance clerk shall be responsible for reviewing attendance regulations and initiating any necessary actions.