Fri, November 17, 2017

Attendance Policy

The Bridgeport Board of Education is committed to working with students and their families to promote regular attendance, which in turn, encourages personal growth by preparing the student to accept similar responsibilities in the world outside of the school setting. The attendance regulations are designed to help students understand that the benefits of regular attendance will be gained through responsibility and commitment.

Connecticut State Board of Education Definitions of Excused and Unexcused Absences (Adopted June 27, 2012)

The following definitions are for use by Connecticut school districts and schools for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 10-198a of the Connecticut General Statutes (policies and procedures concerning truants) and for the purpose of reporting truancy pursuant to subsection (c) of Section 10-220 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The use of these definitions for state purposes does not preclude districts from using separate definitions of excused and unexcused absences for their internal uses (including decisions on promotion/retention, grading and disciplinary action).

Excused Absences

A student’s absence from school shall be considered excused if written documentation of the reason for the absence has been submitted within ten (10) school days of the student’s return to school or in accordance with Section 10-210 of the Connecticut General Statutes and meets the following criteria:

  • Absences one (1) through nine (9), are considered excused when the student’s parent/guardian approves such absence and submits appropriate documentation.
    • Emailing a scanned image of an absence note is acceptable
    • An absence note in the parent’s proficient language must be accepted
    • A verbal report of an absence from a parent not proficient in writing in any language must be accepted.
      • Current email and text messaging do not meet the level of security needed and are not an acceptable form of an absence note.
      • For the tenth absence and all absences thereafter, a student’s absences from school are considered excused for the following reasons:
        • A student’s illness (Note: all student absences due to illness must be verified by an appropriately licensed medical professional to be deemed excused regardless of the length of absence)
      • A student’s observance of a religious holiday
      • A death in the student’s family or other emergency beyond the control of the student’s family
      • A mandated court appearance (additional documentation required)
      • The lack of transportation that is normally provided by a district other than the one the student attends (no parental documentation is required for this reason)
      • Extraordinary educational opportunities pre-approved by district administrators and in accordance with Connecticut State Department of Education guidance

Unexcused Absences

A student’s absence from school shall be considered unexcused unless they meet one of the following criteria:

1. The absence meets the definition for an excused absence (including documentation requirements)

2. The absence meets the definition of a disciplinary absence

Disciplinary Absences

Absences that are the result of school or district disciplinary action are excluded from these definitions:

1. The Connecticut State Board of Education policy states that “A student is considered to be ‘in attendance’ if present at his/her assigned school or an activity sponsored by the school, such as a field trip, for at least half of the regular school day. A student who is serving an out-of-school suspension or expulsion should always be considered absent.”

2. Such documentation should include a signed note from the student’s parent/guardian, a signed note from a school official that spoke in person with the parent/guardian regarding the absence or a note confirming the absence by the school nurse or by a licensed medical professional as appropriate. Documentation should explain the nature of and the reason for the absence as well as the length of the absence. Separate documentation must be submitted for each incidence of absenteeism. For example: if a student is out sick two (2) consecutive days, that student must submit the appropriate documentation covering both sick days. If a student is out sick two (2) nonconsecutive days, that student must submit the appropriate documentation following each absence. Schools should take steps to allow non-English speaking parents/guardians to submit documentation in their native language.

Students are mandated by the Connecticut legislature to have no more than twenty (20) unexcused absences in any school year. Students ages 12-17 who exceed that number shall be referred to Juvenile Court for a Family with Service Needs (FWSN) petition as required by state law. In addition, parents of students ages 7 through 15 with more than twenty (20) unexcused absences may be referred to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for educational neglect.

Please note that a FWSN petition must be filed no later than 15 calendar days after failure of parent to cooperate with attempts to solve truancy issues or for any child defined as habitually truant.

Class Cutting

It is imperative for students to be present in class in order to benefit from the process of teaching and learning. It is the student’s responsibility to be present for every class when present in school. The following are intended to promote the development of this responsible attitude:

1. A class cut is a day’s absence from class.

2. The classroom teacher may refer any class cut in excess of three (3) in the marking period to the administrator.

Any discipline imposed on a student as a result of class cutting will be accomplished in a manner consistent with procedural safeguards described elsewhere in this manual, for example: suspension may be imposed for class cutting only if the student is offered the opportunity for an informal hearing.

Tardiness

Tardiness to school is a serious concern. Consistent with the tenets of Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), it is our belief that the most effective way to change student behavior is to reinforce and maximize appropriate conduct such as coming to school on time. The following procedures and guidelines have been developed in support of this goal.

Tardiness to Class

1. Tardiness to class will be managed by classroom teachers. If a student is tardy three (3) times to an individual class during the marking period, it may result in the student’s referral to the administration for further disciplinary action.

2. Any student entering class unexcused after ten (10) minutes will be given a class cut.

3. Each marking period is to be considered a separate entity.

Tardiness to School

1. Tardiness to school will continue to be an administrative responsibility. If students are tardy to school, the administrator will offer intervention programs such as referrals to the guidance counselor and before-school or after-school detention. If these programs do not improve the student’s attendance, the administrator may make a referral to the SRBI Team.

2. Students who come to school 45 minutes after the start of the school day will be required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian or the parent or guardian must telephone the school or provide a written note. If contact is not made with the parent, the student will be admitted to school but subject to disciplinary action by the administrator. Chronic tardy behavior must be referred to the SRBI Team

3. Students who are tardy must follow school established procedures for admittance. In the case of an absence, parents or guardians must call their child’s school on the day of the absence no later than 10:00 a.m.

Completion of Class Work

Any student who is suspended from school has the opportunity to complete class work missed during the suspension; however, it is the student’s responsibility to request assignments for the missed class work. Teachers do not have the responsibility of seeking out the students who have missed class work, as a result of suspension, to give them the assignments. In addition, students must complete all missed class work within two (2) weeks after returning to school.