Attendance Policy

Statement of Objective

Public school attendance is a right and a responsibility. Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES is an active participant and partner in assuring that all students meet or exceed the New York State Learning Standards. The Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy is developed recognizing a strong positive correlation between consistent school attendance, academic success and school completion. With the following objectives in mind, review and revision of this policy may be necessary:

§         To increase the percentage of students who complete school

§         To raise student achievement and close gaps in student performance

§         To identify patterns of attendance and formulate strategies to improve attendance rates

§         To account for the location of every student during the school day

§         To verify and assure that students are fulfilling compulsory attendance laws

§         To collect accurate data to assist districts in reporting average daily attendance for state aid purposes.

Strategies to Meet Objectives

Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES will:

§         Create and maintain classes and programs that foster a positive culture, establishing environments that lead to a strong bond between student and school. This positive culture will assist in increasing student attendance.

§         Formulate a comprehensive student attendance policy under the advisement of a Policy Development Team that includes the Board of Education, administrators, teachers, parents, students and the community. At least one public hearing will be held prior to adoption.

§         Maintain accurate record keeping to record attendance, absence, tardiness or early departure of each student.

§         Manage data for tracking individual student attendance as well as individual and group trends in student attendance problems.

§         Develop effective intervention strategies to improve school attendance for all students enrolled in ONC BOCES programs.

The parent/guardian will:

§         Make sure the child attends school regularly and is on time. The parent/guardian will also see that the school receives written notification of the reason for absence, tardiness or early departure according to school procedures.

§         Maintain reasonable communication with the school by providing current address and phone numbers.

§         Support the school policy and mission regarding attendance by emphasizing the importance of being in school and attending classes.

§         The student will attend classes and be on time.

Excused and Unexcused Absences, Tardiness and Early Dismissals

The Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES has determined that there is no differentiation between excused and unexcused absences EXCEPT in the case of absences due to religious observation or religious education. In such cases, absences will be excused for those pupils whose parents or guardians submit a signed written request.

Only those pupils with excused absences, tardiness or early departures will be allowed to make up the work for each class missed.

Minimum Attendance Policy for Course Credit

The Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES has determined that students will lose course credit when they are absent on the 20th day for a full year course, or the 10th day for a semester course. If students or parents/guardians feel that there are extenuating circumstances that have caused absences beyond the allowance limits for course credit, they may appeal to the building principal. The building principal reserves the right to make the determination on such appeals.

Intervention Strategies Development Process

In order to effectively intervene when a pattern of absences, tardiness or early departures occurs, the District will do the following:

§         Identify the pattern (individual student, group of students, grade level, time frame)

§         Assemble appropriate staff members to discuss strategies to directly intervene.

§         Send parental notifications, in writing, from the principal or program supervisor, at 5-absence intervals AND quarterly, as reported on pupils' report cards. Such notifications will include the pupil's attendance history and a request for a conference at the 10 and 15 absence intervals. Each such notification will also directly state the possible denial of course credit

§         Written notification to parents or persons in parental relation will occur, from the principal or program supervisor, when pupils are absent, tardy or depart early and fail to return with an appropriate note detailing the reason for the absence. Such notice will include the date(s) of absence, a history of the pupil's attendance and a request for an appropriate, written excuse for absence.

§         Recommend intervention to home school superintendent or designee if strategy relates to needed changes in policy or procedure.

§         Implement changes as approved by appropriate parties.

§         Use District and/or community resources to remediate attendance problems.

§         Monitor effects of intervention.

Incentives

Incentives including the following will be designed to promote excellent attendance:

§         Quarterly awards ceremonies to recognize excellent attendance

§         Community-donated gifts to individuals and classes who meet attendance standards or show significant improvement.

Sanctions

Sanctions including the following, may be implemented to discourage unexcused absences, tardiness and early departure:

§         Denial or restriction of ability to participate in co-curricular activities

§         Revocation of driving privileges if applicable

§         Denial or restriction of internship placement.

Appeal Process

A parent or guardian may request a building level review of his/her child's attendance record.

Building Review of Attendance Records

Commencing with the 2003-2004 school year the principals will work with the attendance officer and/or other designated staff to review attendance records at the conclusion of each quarter for the purpose of identifying individual and group attendance patterns and to take appropriate action.

Annual Review by the Board of Education

Each year the Board of Education shall review the student attendance report and recommendations as presented by the attendance officer and make revisions to the policy, as necessary.

Community Awareness

The Board of Education shall do the following to promote community awareness of the District's Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy:

§         Provide a plain-language summary of the policy to parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year, and take other necessary steps to promote an understanding of the policy by students and parents or guardians.

§         Provide each teacher, at the beginning of the school year, or upon employment, with a copy of the policy.

§         Make copies of the policy available to any member of the community upon request.

Administrative Procedures for Maintaining Attendance Records

The following procedures have been developed in accordance with Commissioner's regulation 104.1 as amended November 29, 2001. These procedures will go into effect July 1, 2003.

1)       The Board of Education designates to the building principals the supervision of the keeping of the register of attendance. Entries into the register will be made by a designee of the building principal and will be verified by that designee through written affirmation.

2)       The record for each pupil's presence, absence, tardiness and early departure shall be kept in a register of attendance, which will include and reflect the following:

§         Name

§         Date of birth

§         Full names of parents or guardians

§         Address where pupil resides

§         Parents or guardians phones numbers (other than homes)

§         Date of pupil's enrollment

§         A record of the pupil's attendance on each day of scheduled instruction shall be recorded according to the following:

§         Grades K-5: Attendance will be taken and recorded at the beginning of the school day.

§         Grades 6-12: Attendance shall be taken and recorded each period.

§         Any absence for a school day or portion thereof, and any tardiness or early departure, shall be recorded as an absence in accordance with BOCES policy.

§         A record of each scheduled day of instruction during which school is closed for all or part of the day because of extraordinary circumstance.

§         The date the pupil ceases to be enrolled at the school.

3)       Coding System

§         All unexcused absences will be coded as follows for informational purposes only and will be applied to absences, late arrivals and early departures:

Illness

§         Medical Appointment

§         School-Sponsored events

Excused absences for the purpose of religious observation or religious education will be recorded as follows:

§         Religious Observation

§         Religious Ed