I. Board Directive
The Board of Education recognizes that regular student attendance at school facilitates academic achievement by maximizing the interaction between students and teachers. The Board also recognizes that regular student attendance at school is mandated by Utah Compulsory Attendance Law 53A-11-101.5, which requires students between the ages of six and 18 to attend school and is critical if schools are to meet the accountability standards set by federal and state legislation. The Board, therefore, delegates to the District and local school administration the responsibility to develop school policies and procedures that promote regular student attendance. The school’s responsibility is to encourage and help students develop positive attendance habits that will enhance opportunities for future success.
II. Administrative Policy
Frequent absences of students from the day-to-day classroom experiences disrupt the instructional process. The benefits of instruction, once lost, cannot be entirely regained. The process of education requires a continuity of instruction, class participation, learning experience, and study. Therefore, the local school will make every effort within the following administrative policy provisions, to encourage regular attendance for all students and to assist parents in their responsibility to have their children attend school regularly.
- Parents/guardians have primary responsibility for regular student attendance at school. School staff and students also share in that responsibility.
- Students are expected to be in attendance every school day in order to receive maximum benefit from their education experiences. If a student is legitimately absent from class, it is his/her responsibility to contact the teacher regarding make-up work. If a student is tardy for class, it is his/her responsibility to contact the school office, teacher, or utilize any other established school procedure so that an unexcused absence is not assessed. It is also a student’s responsibility to obtain a checkout slip from the office when he/she must leave during the school day.
- Parents/guardians are expected to ensure that their children attend school regularly and arrive on time. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to notify school officials of legitimate absences. The parent/guardian must telephone the office to confirm a checkout prior to the student’s leaving during the school day.
- Classroom teachers are required to record and verify daily student attendance. The individual school/teacher will, where appropriate, develop grading and credit policy that promotes attendance, class participation, and academic achievement.
- Administrators shall work cooperatively with students, parents/guardians, teachers, and school guidance personnel to improve student attendance. Administrators shall use earnest and persistent effort, including parent notification, to deter excessive and unexcused student absences.
- Each school, in cooperation with the community, shall develop a schoolwide attendance plan that complies with state and District policies. Development of a schoolwide attendance plan shall include use of research findings, faculty and staff consensus, community input, and involve the respective Administrator of Schools. The schoolwide attendance plan shall guide the development of disclosure statements (in secondary schools) and include:
School principals shall submit the schoolwide attendance plan annually to their respective Administrators of Schools for review and approval.
- A rationale for the importance of attendance
- Responsibilities for students, parents, classroom teachers, and school administrators
- Procedures for managing attendance issues, i.e., illness, check in/out, school activity absences, etc.
- An acceptable range of school and teacher consequences for unexcused absences and tardies
- Guidelines for making up work
- Other pertinent information that addresses local school attendance needs
- Secondary school teachers shall develop a disclosure statement for each course in compliance with District and school administrative policy provisions.
- All disclosure statements must receive approval from the local school administrator or designee prior to distribution to students and parents.
- Disclosure statements shall include, but are not limited to, grading expectations for three basic components:
- classroom attendance and participation
- Procedures and timelines shall be established for making up work and earning points/credit missed due to a legitimate absence. Legitimate absences are defined as: verified illness, medical appointments, bereavement, court appearances, emergencies, pre-approved educational leave, and special family or religious events.
- Students shall be allowed to make up work and earn points/credit missed due to administratively approved school activity absences. Students shall also be allowed to make up work and earn points/credit missed for legitimate absences as listed in section C.3.
- All students shall receive disclosure statements for all classes on or before the fifth day of enrollment in the course. Parents and students shall be encouraged to return signed disclosure statements in a timely manner, typically two to four days.
- Teachers are encouraged to award points/credit for the return of signed disclosure statements within the established time frame.