Westfield Academy and Central School
Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy
Statement of Overall Objectives
Westfield Academy believes that student participation in classroom instruction is an integral part of the learning process. Therefore, to receive credit for courses, students must not only fulfill the necessary academic requirements for each course, but also must comply with the District Comprehensive Attendance Policy. When a student has unexcused absences of 15% or more of the total number of class days, he or she will be ineligible to take tests and examinations, and/or submit papers, projects etc. for grades required to receive credit for a course.
School attendance is both a right and a responsibility. The School District is an active partner with students and parents in the task of ensuring that all students meet or exceed the New York State Learning Standards. Because the School District recognizes that consistent school attendance, academic success and school completion have a positive correlation, the School District will develop, review and, if necessary, revise a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy to meet the following objectives:
1. To increase school completion for all students;
2. To raise student achievement and close gaps in student performance;
3. To identify attendance patterns in order to design attendance improvement efforts;
4. To know the whereabouts of every student for safety and other reasons;
5. To verify that individual students are complying with education laws relating to compulsory attendance;
6. To determine the District’s average daily attendance for State aid purposes.
The School District will:
1. Create and maintain a positive school building culture by fostering a positive physical and psychological environment where the presence of strong adult role models encourages respectful and nurturing interactions between adults and students. This positive school culture is aimed at encouraging a high level of student bonding to the school, which in turn should lead to increased attendance.
2. Develop a Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy based upon the recommendations of the District’s Shared Decision-Making Teams that include representation from administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community. The District will hold at least one public hearing prior to the adoption of this collaboratively developed Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy by the Board of Education.
3. Maintain accurate record keeping via a Register of Attendance to record attendance, absence, tardiness, or early departure of each student.
4. Utilize data analysis systems for tracking individual student attendance and individual and group trends in student attendance problems.
5. Develop early intervention strategies to improve school attendance for all students.
6. Promote a good work ethic for all students.
Student Attendance Record Keeping/Data Collection
The record of each student’s presence, absence, tardiness and early departure shall be kept in a register of attendance in a manner consistent with Commissioner’s Regulations. An absence, tardiness, or early departure will be entered as “excused” or “unexcused” along with the District code for the reason.
Attendance shall be taken and recorded in accordance with the following:
1. For students in non-departmentalized kindergarten through grade five (i.e., self-contained classrooms and supervised group movement to other scheduled school activities such as physical education in the gym, assembly, etc.), such student’s presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance once per school day.
2. For students in grades six through twelve, each student’s presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance in each period of scheduled instruction except that where students do not change classrooms for each period of scheduled instruction, attendance shall be taken in accordance with paragraph “1” above.
3. Any absence for a school day or portion thereof shall be recorded as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in this policy.
Excused absences will be granted for the following reasons:
a) Personal illness or injury
b) Death in family
c) Emergency illness in the family
d) Medical appointments
e) Dental appointments
f) Impassable roads/sudden severe weather conditions
g) Religious observance
h) Required court appearance
j) Music lessons
k) Attendance at health clinics
l) Approved college visits
m) Military obligations
n) Other emergency situations - covers unexpected events which keep a student from attendance. Such cases will be considered individually by the principal.
4. In the event that a student at any instructional level from kindergarten through grade twelve arrives late for or departs early from scheduled instruction, such tardiness or early departure shall be recorded as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in this policy.
A record shall be kept of each scheduled day of instruction during which the school is closed for all or part of the day because of extraordinary circumstances including adverse weather conditions, impairment of heating facilities, insufficiency of water supply, shortage of fuel, destruction of or damage to a school building, or such other cause as may be found satisfactory to the Commissioner of Education.
Attendance records shall also indicate the date when a student withdraws from enrollment or is dropped from enrollment in accordance with Education Law Section 3202(1-a).
At the conclusion of each class period or school day, all attendance information shall be compiled and provided to the designated school personnel who are responsible for attendance. The nature of the absence, tardiness, or early departure shall be coded on a student’s record in accordance with the established District/ building procedures
Notice of Students who are Absent, Tardy or Depart Early without Proper Excuse
A designated staff member shall notify by telephone the parent/person in parental relation to a student who is absent, tardy or departs early without proper written excuse from a parent or guardian within three (3) days of the absence. The staff member shall explain the District’s Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy, the District’s/building level intervention procedures, and, if appropriate, the relationship between student attendance and course credit. If the parent/person in parental relation cannot be reached by telephone, the staff member will provide such notification by mail. Further, the District’s Attendance Policy will be mailed to the parent/ person in parental relation to promote awareness and help ensure compliance with the policy. If deemed necessary by appropriate school officials, or if requested by the parent/person in parental relation, a school conference shall be scheduled between the parent/person in parental relation and appropriate staff members in order to address the student’s attendance. The student may also be requested to attend this conference in order to address appropriate intervention strategies that best meet the needs of the student.
Unexcused absences, tardiness and early departures will result in disciplinary sanctions as described in the District’s Code of Conduct. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, detention, in-school suspension, and denial of participation in interscholastic and extracurricular activities. Parents/persons in parental relation will be notified by the Principals at periodic intervals to discuss their child’s absences, tardiness or early departures and the importance of class attendance and appropriate interventions. Individual buildings/grade levels will address procedures to implement the notification process to the parent/person in parental relation.
Intervention Strategy Process
In order to effectively intervene when an identified pattern of unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures occur, designated District personnel will pursue the following:
1. Identify specific element(s) of the pattern (e.g., grade level, building, time frame, type of unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures);
2. In specific cases where the pattern involves an individual student, the student and parent/person in parental relation will be contacted;
3. Discuss strategies to directly intervene with specific element;
4. Recommend intervention to Superintendent or his/her designee if it relates to change in District policy or procedure;
5. Implement changes, as approved by appropriate administration;
6. Utilize appropriate District and/or community resources to address and help remediate student unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures;
7. Monitor and report short and long term effects of intervention.
A parent/person in parental relation may request a building level review of their child’s attendance record.
Building Review of Attendance Records
The building principal will work in conjunction with the building attendance clerk and other designated staff in reviewing attendance records at the end of each quarter. This review is conducted to identify individual and group attendance patterns and to initiate appropriate action to address the problem of unexcused absences, tardiness and early departures.
Annual Review by the Board of Education
The Board of Education shall annually review the District’s student attendance records and if such records show a decline in student attendance, the Board shall make any revisions to the Policy and plan deemed necessary to improve student attendance.
The Board of Education shall promote necessary community awareness of the District’s Comprehensive
Student Attendance Policy by:
1. Providing a plain language summary of the policy to parents or persons in parental relation to students at the beginning of the each school year and promoting the understanding of such a policy to students and their parents/persons in parental relation;
2. Providing each teacher, at the beginning of the school year or upon employment, with a copy of the policy; and
3. Providing copies of the policy to any other member of the community upon request.
Education Law Sections 3024, 3025, 3202, 3205,
3206, 3210, 3211, and 3213
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations
(NYCRR) Sections 104.1, 109.2 and 175.6
During school, teachers will guide students toward appropriate materials. Outside of school, parents/ guardians bear responsibility for such guidance as they do with information sources such as television, telephones, movies, radio and other potentially offensive/controversial media.
Use of the DCS which violates any aspect of School District policy; the Student Discipline Code of Conduct; and federal, state or local laws or regulations is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.
Please click here for a printable copy: MS-HS Attendance Policy