MaST Community Charter School

Attendance and Lateness

Procedures and Policy

Updated 08/2018

Attendance Policy

MaST Community Charter School is committed to student success. Regular school attendance helps students to achieve success by maximizing student exposure to instruction. Consistent and prompt attendance provides a guide for healthy student skill and habit development as they grow. Students are more likely to feel invested in their educational development, the more regularly they attend school. Students are therefore expected to attend school regularly and on time. Changes to this policy will be provided to families, when they occur.

There are different kinds of absences. Absences are defined as follows:

Excused (non-medical)- a parent/guardian note has been provided to the school within 3 days of students return from absence.

Details: Students may not exceed 10 non-medical excused absences per school year. If a student does exceed 10 non-medical excused absences per year, all following absences will require a note from a licensed physician.

Excused Medical- a licensed physician note is provided to the school, justifying the need for the student absence (dates must be identified specifically).

Details: Special cases, where the medical concern is chronic shall establish a relationship with the nurse and/or grade counselor to ensure collaboration occurs in supporting the student. Medical concerns that prevent a student from attending school regularly may require a meeting with the school to ensure an appropriate plan is set in place for the student.

Unexcused- no note has been provided to the school after a student absence, or the reason for absence was not identified as justifiable by law. Absences without a note are considered both unexcused and unlawful (see the Unlawful section below).

Details: A student has 3 days to bring in a note, after returning to school. Unexcused absences will lead to disciplinary action. MaST wants to work with families to overcome reasonable barriers. Contact the attendance officer, or grade counselor if support is needed.

MaST may excuse the absences of students under certain circumstances with original documentation. Those circumstances are for illness, emergency (non-routine) doctors’ appointments, court subpoenas, or funeral notices (routine medical and dental appointments should be made outside of school hours). Students involved with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) required to leave school for the purposes of attending court hearings or other related legal matters, will also be excused.

Unlawful- All absences are treated as unlawful until MaST Community Charter School receives a written explanation of the reason(s) for absence. If parent/guardian and student fail to provide a written explanation within three days of the students return to school, the absence is permanently counted as “Unlawful.”

Details: If a student is absent from school for three (3) or more consecutive school days, without a valid note, MaST Community Charter School is required to hold a meeting to assess for the barriers to the student's attendance. All absences beyond ten cumulative days require a written excuse from a licensed physician. If a student is absent with or without notification to the school, a phone call may be made to the parent/guardian via our automated phone system. If deemed necessary and appropriate, a Truancy Referral will be made. Only unlawful absences will count towards the habitually truant status of a student.

The following are examples of valid reasons for an excused absence:

·         Illness, health condition, or physical injury

·         Recovery from accident

·         Mandated quarantine

·         Required court attendance

·         Religious observations

·         Family emergency

·         Death in family

·         Hazardous travel and severe weather conditions as determined by the charter school.

·         Pre-approved family educational trips

·         Seniors and juniors will be permitted 2 days of absence per year for the purpose of college visitations providing they have notified the grade counselor, have received advance permission from the CEO or designee, and have provided written verification from the parent/guardian.

Absence Notification

If your child is ill and unable to attend school, please call the school no later than 8:00 AM. The call out number is (267) 348-1164. This call does not replace a note, upon students return to school. Parents/guardians must include the following information on the call out line:

1. Student’s name

2. Student’s homeroom/teacher

3. Reason for absence

4. Name and relationship of caller

5. Phone number where caller can be reached for verification


ATTENDANCE AT-A-GLANCE

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, students are lawfully required to receive a certain amount of instruction per school year.  MaST understands that special or extreme circumstances may happen. Please reach out to us so that we may be aware of how best to support your student(s) if unforeseen circumstances do occur.  

If a student is absent from school, parents or guardians are required to call the call out line at (267) 348-1164 to inform the school of the absence.  Parents and guardians are still required to submit a note for each absence and students have 3 days to provide a note to the Attendance Officer, Ms. Young, after returning to school from an absence.** See family handbook for additional details. 

*Unexcused Absence- student not in school & no note provided or any non-medical absence beyond 10 days.  MaST is required by law to report all unexcused absences directly to the PA Department of Education.

*Non-Medical Excused- student not in school, parent note provided upon return to school (not to exceed 10 days in one school year).

*Medically Excused- student not in school & a licensed physician note is provided regarding the specified dates of absence.

*Truant- a student subject to compulsory school laws having three (3) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year.  Absences are accumulated and do not need to be consecutive.

*Habitually Truant- a student subject to compulsory school laws having six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year.  Absences are accumulated and do not need to be consecutive.

ALL  ABSENCES

  • An Alert Solutions phone message is sent informing the parent/guardian that the student is absent.
  • An absence note is expected upon return and required within three days of returning to school.

3 CONSECUTIVE ABSENCES

  • Attendance Officer will call home if school has not been notified of the reason for the student absence, via the call out line listed above.
  • Attendance Officer may offer parents the opportunity to attend an Attendance Improvement Conference.

3 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES OR

7 EXCUSED ABSENCES

  • At three unexcused absences, the PA Department of Education considers the student “truant.”
  • A letter will be sent to the student’s home to review the school attendance policy and state laws within 10 school days of the third unexcused absence.  This letter will describe the consequences that will follow if the student becomes habitually truant in the future.
  • Attendance Officer may offer parents the opportunity to attend an Attendance Improvement Conference.

4 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES OR

10 EXCUSED ABSENCES

  • A second letter will be sent to the student's home to review the school attendance policy and state laws, as well as the possible consequences of continuing to miss school. The number of absences and tardies will be provided to the parent in this letter, with dates.
  • The Attendance Officer and grade counselor will hold a Student Attendance Improvement Conference to develop an individualized Attendance Improvement Plan with the parent or guardian.  Students in grades 7-12 will be included in the Attendance Improvement Plan meeting.

6 UNEXCUSED

 ABSENCES OR

 ANY ABSENCES

BEYOND 10 WITHOUT A DOCTOR’S NOTE

  • At six unexcused absences, the PA Department of Education considers the student “habitually truant.”
  • A home visit may be conducted.
  • A second (or third) Student Attendance Improvement Conference, which may include the counselor, teacher(s), and administration, will be held to review and update the student’s Attendance Improvement Plan.
  • An IEP meeting will be held for students with an individualized education plan.
  • A SAP referral, a DHS referral and/or A Truancy Collaborative Referral may be made.
  • Student’s attendance will be reported to the Attendance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • The parents/guardians and 7-12th grade students will again be notified that all following absences must have a doctor’s note.

11 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

  • Parents/guardians and student will meet with the Board of Trustees and Administration.
  • The student’s Attendance Improvement Plan will be reviewed.
  • A SAP referral, a DHS referral and/or A Truancy Collaborative Referral may be made.
  • All absences without a doctor’s note will not be excused; parent notes will not be accepted.
  • Students in grades 7-12 may be assigned to Saturday School for each additional unexcused absence.

15+UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

  • A Second Board Meeting will be held with the parents/guardians and student.
  • Students with an IEP require another team meeting to assess for barriers to improving attendance.
  • A SAP referral, a DHS referral and/or A Truancy Collaborative Referral may be made.
  • At 18 days of absence (the equivalent of 10% of the school year), a meeting may be held to discuss the retention of the student.

*Medical cases will be managed individually contingent upon the medical issue diagnosed by the doctor.

LATENESS-AT-A-GLANCE

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, students are lawfully required to receive a certain amount of instruction per school year.  Arriving to school on time ensures that students receive the full amount of planned instruction and benefits afforded to our students.  MaST understands that special or extreme circumstances may happen. Please reach out to us so that we may be aware of how best to support your student(s) if unforeseen circumstances do occur in your ability to get your student to school on time.

*Late- students are marked late when they arrive after the the official start of the school day (7:40 for high school, 8:15 for grades 1-8, and 8:30 for kindergarten) and have a note from parents excusing students for an approved lateness as defined in the Family Handbook.

*Tardy- An unexcused lateness is coded as a tardy, and is a lateness that has no supporting note from the approved list of valid reasons for late arrival.   

All Latenesses

  • Call informing parents of student latenesses

6 Unexcused Tardies

  • Letter home to students K-12 and H.S. student meeting with attendance officer

10 Unexcused Tardies

  • Lateness Improvement Meeting with attendance officer, parents, and 7-12 students

12 Unexcused Tardies

  • 7th-12th grade students receive Saturday school

15 Unexcused Tardies

  • Lateness Improvement Meeting with attendance officer, administration, parents, and 7-12 students.  7th-12th grade students receive Saturday school.

20 Unexcused Tardies

  • Parent and student meeting with Board of Trustees.  For each subsequent tardy, Saturday School and additional consequences may be assigned as determined by the Board and administration.

Health Care

Upon receiving a written note from parent/guardian, the attendance officer, grade principal and grade counselor, may collaboratively excuse a student during school hours for the purpose of obtaining professional health care or therapy service only if the following requirements are met:

Requests for Family Vacations

In order to promote a consistent educational process throughout the school year, parents/guardians should not schedule family vacations during the school year. If it is imperative that a vacation must be taken, the following must be noted:

Consequences for Excessive Absences and Tardies

In addition to the procedures outlined in the table, a student with 11 or more cumulative absences may be subject to any or all of the following interventions/consequences:

Students with 10 consecutive days of unexcused absences will be removed from enrollment at MaST. Students who are no longer registered at MaST (aged 6-17) should register with their school district of residence. The contact for general attendance questions, concerns or feedback is Ms. Doreen Young, Attendance Officer.

Lateness

The Board of Trustees and the administration of MaST Community Charter School believe that arriving on time for school establishes a pattern that students will carry with them throughout their educational career and beyond.

It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that this example is set for their child by making sure that he/she is on time for school each day.  Parents and students who drive to school must take into consideration the heavy traffic conditions that surround MaST and plan their drive to school accordingly.  

Lateness to School for K-6
In the event that your child is late for school, the student must report immediately to the front desk in the lobby and receive a pass to enter their classroom.  Students in grades 1 through 6 who travel on school district of residence provided school buses will not be marked late if the school bus arrives late to MaST. At the elementary level, lateness letters will be sent home when lateness become excessive so families can take corrective action and address the issue. Chronic lateness may result in a counseling and/or SAP referral.    

Lateness to School for Grades 7-12
All students in grades 7-12 are expected to be in homeroom when the bell rings. A student that arrives late to school is expected to sign in upon arrival. Late students must sign in at the front desk in the lobby and get a note to enter class.  A pass to class is necessary for all latenesses – students will not be admitted to class without one. If a student is in the building, but chooses not to sign in late and reports directly to class, the student’s attendance is marked as absent, and once rectified will be marked as an unexcused tardy.  

Transportation is not provided by MaST for students in grades 9 through 12.  These students are required to arrive at school on time.  The tripper buses are provided by SEPTA as a courtesy to MaST.  If the tripper bus does not stop for your child or is too crowded to pick up your child, this is not an excuse for the non-attendance of your child at school.  It is the responsibility of both the parent/guardian and the child to see that he/she gets to school.  

Documentation from a parent, a doctor or the courts for the tardy categories listed below must be presented at the front desk. Students in grades 7 and 8 who travel on school district of residence provided school buses will not be marked late if the school bus arrives late to MaST.

Being late to school for the following reasons do not count in the accumulation of latenesses:

An excused lateness is known by the parents and has a note from the above list explaining the lateness (unless otherwise noted). An unexcused lateness is a lateness that has no note from the list above to explain the reason for the late arrival.  Heavy traffic, missing a SEPTA tripper bus or oversleeping is not an excused lateness.

Tardiness to Class During the School Day
If the student is tardy to class as they move from class to class or from lunch, they will be admitted to class and assigned a teacher detention. If a student demonstrates chronic tardiness to class, the teacher will refer them to the Dean of Students for additional consequences including, but not limited to:

                             


240.  STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY

 

 

Date Adopted:  5/18/05

Revised:  12/1/07

Revised: 8/20/14

Revised: 2/15/17

 

The Board requires that school-aged students enrolled in MaST Community Charter School attend school regularly, in accordance with state laws. The educational program offered by this charter school is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for students to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress.

 

Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in MaST Community Charter School during the days and hours that school is in session, except that a principal or teacher may excuse a student for temporary absences when receiving satisfactory evidence of mental, physical, or other urgent conditions that may reasonably cause the student's absence.

 

The Board considers the following conditions to constitute reasonable cause for absence from school:

 

1.          Illness, health condition, or physical injury

2.          Recovery from accident.

3.          Mandated quarantine.

4.          Required court attendance.

5.          Religious observations

6.          Family emergency

7.          Death in family

8.          Hazardous travel and severe weather conditions as determined by the charter school.

9.          Pre-approved family educational trips.

 

Attendance need not always be within school facilities. A student will be considered in attendance if present at any place where school is in session by authority of the Board; the student is receiving approved tutorial instruction or health care; the student is engaged in a work-study or career education program; the student is receiving approved homebound instruction.

 

All absences occasioned by observance of the student's religion on a day approved as a religious holiday shall be excused, and no student so excused shall be deprived of an award or eligibility to compete for an award or the opportunity to make up a test given on the religious holiday.

 

The Board shall, upon written request of the parents/guardians, release from attendance a student participating in a religious instruction program. Such instruction shall not require the child's absence from school for more than thirty-six (36) hours per school year, and its organizers must inform the Board of the child's attendance record. The Board shall not provide transportation to religious instruction.

 

The Board will recognize other justifiable absences for part of the school day. These shall include medical or dental appointments, court appearance, or family emergency.

 

The Board shall excuse the following students from the requirements of attendance at the schools of this charter school:

 

  1. On certification by a physician or submission of other satisfactory evidence and on approval of the Department of Education, children who are unable to attend school or apply themselves to study for mental, physical or other reasons that preclude regular attendance.

  1. Students enrolled in a nonpublic or private schools in which the subjects and activities prescribed by law are taught, except that such students’ attendance shall be monitored and recorded by the non-public or private school and reported to the funding local educational agency.

  1. Students attending college and also enrolled part-time in the charter school shall be counted as being in attendance in this charter school.

 

  1. Homebound children unable to attend school on the recommendation of a physician or practitioner of the healing arts.

 

  1. Other situations as specified by state regulations.

 

The Board may report to appropriate authorities infractions of the law regarding the attendance of students below the age of seventeen (17). The Board shall issue notice to those parents/guardians who fail to comply with the statutory requirements of compulsory attendance that such infractions will be prosecuted according to law.

 

The CEO or designee shall develop procedures for the attendance of students which:

 

  1. Ensure a school session that conforms with requirements of state regulations.

  1. Govern the keeping of attendance records in accordance with state statutes.

  1. Ensure that students with excused absences have an opportunity to make up work.

  1. Issue written notice to any parent/guardian who fails to comply with the compulsory attendance statute, within three (3) days of any proceeding brought under that statute. Such notice shall inform the parent/guardian of the date(s) the absence occurred, that the absence was unexcused and in violation of law, that the parent/guardian is being notified and informed of his/her liability under law for the absence of the student, and that further violation during the school term will be prosecuted without notice.

 

Student absences are generally governed under the definition and authority of the Pennsylvania School Code of 1949. Absences covered under law must be directly related to the student’s inability to attend school as indicated in this policy and not merely for the convenience of the family.

 

Absences will generally be recognized as cumulative or noncumulative. Cumulative absences refer to days that contribute to the allotted number of days a student may be absent (10) days.  A maximum of ten (10) days of absence for students during a school year verified by a parental note. All absences beyond the tenth day of absence will require a physician’s note.

 

Non-cumulative Absences

 

Non-cumulative absences include:

  1. Suspensions from school.

  1. Illness verified by a physician’s note submitted within three (3) days of a student’s return. Any absence in which a physician’s note is submitted is not included in the ten (10) days permitted for parental excuses in school.

  1. Death in the family – from date of death until three (3) two (2) days after the funeral unless otherwise authorized by the building principal.

  1. Religious holidays.

  1. Pre-approved college visits up to two (2) days.

 

Educational/Vacation Tours And Trips, Grades K-12

 

Requests by parents/guardians to have their children excused from school for educational/vacation trips must be evaluated under the authority of the Regulations of the State Board of Education, Chapter 11, Pupil Attendance, Section 11.26 “Educational Tours and Trips, Not School-Sponsored.”

 Parents/Guardians are strongly encouraged to schedule family vacations with the charter school calendar in mind to ensure that students attend school a maximum number of days:

 

  1. Parental requests must first be approved by the Attendance Officer.

  1. Any days taken beyond the number of preapproved days may be considered unexcused and unlawful for students under the age of seventeen (17) and unexcused for students seventeen (17) years of age and over. Appropriate legal action may be taken where applicable.

  1. The following will be taken into consideration by the Attendance Officer in granting permission for the trip:

a.           The student's academic standing.

b.          The student's attendance record.

c.           The effect the absence will have on the student's educational welfare.

d.          Exceptionality of the request.

  1. Permission for Student Excused Due to an Educational Trip or Tour must be submitted to the Attendance Officer prior to the trip.

  1. It will be the student's responsibility to contact teachers and make up assignments missed.

  1. Permission will not be granted for trips/tours during the charter school's standardized testing period, the state's testing periods, and school examination periods at the end of the first and second semesters.

Additional Information: Requests for Family Vacations

In order to promote a consistent educational process throughout the school year, parents/guardians should not schedule family vacations during the school year. If it is imperative that a vacation must be taken, the following must be noted:

 

TO THE EXTENT THAT ANYTHING IN THIS POLICY COULD BE CONSTRUED TO CONFLICT WITH THE SCHOOL’S CHARTER OR APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS, THE APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS AND/OR CHARTER CONTROL.

MaST Charter School

Board of Trustees Policy

TRUANCY POLICY

The MaST Charter School (the “Charter School”) believes that good attendance is essential if students are to achieve and reach their potential. Each day is important for learning. Parents are required to ensure their son/daughter maintains good attendance.  

 

Truancy - Overview  

A child is “truant” if he/she has three (3) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year.  An unexcused absence is any absence from school without an acceptable excuse (as articulated in the Charter School’s Student/Parent Handbook), or without any reason at all.   An out of school suspension shall be considered an excused absence.

A child is “habitually truant” if he/she has six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year.  

When a child demonstrates truant behavior, the Charter School will schedule a school/family conference to discuss the cause of the child’s truancy and develop a mutually agreed upon Attendance Improvement Plan to resolve truant behavior.  The plan can include a myriad of options for the elimination of truancy that are mutually agreed upon by the participants.

For the third unexcused absence, the Charter School will send the parent/guardian notice by  mail within 10 school days of the child’s third unexcused absence that the child has been truant.  This notice shall 1) include a description of the consequences that will follow if the child becomes habitually truant in the future; 2) will be in the mode and language of communication preferred by the person in parental relation; and 3)may include the offer of an Attendance Improvement Conference.

Procedure when child is habitually truant:

In all cases, regardless of age, where the Charter School refers a habitually truant child to The Truancy Collaborative or DHS, the Charter School will provide verification that it convened and held an Attendance Improvement Conference.

Students that are absent from school for ten (10) or more consecutive days without appropriate documentation will be removed from Charter School’s rolls.

The Charter School will report unexcused absences directly to PDE through the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS).  

Children who are habitually truant from school while subject to compulsory school attendance are subject to an assessment to determine if there is a need for general protective services. Children will not be referred to the county children and youth agency for assessment as possibly needing services until after the Charter School has made a formal effort to involve the family and child in resolving the cause of the truant behavior.

School Attendance Improvement Conference and the Attendance Improvement Plan

The Attendance Improvement Plan is developed cooperatively with involved stakeholders through an Attendance Improvement Conference, which is required upon the Charter School’s notice to the child’s parent/guardian following the child’s sixth unexcused absence.  The Charter School will invite the following individuals to the conference:

The Charter School is permitted to proceed with the Attendance Improvement Conference and Attendance Improvement Plan without the child’s parent present at the Conference.  

Teachers are the first line of defense for compulsory attendance, as they are the first to recognize students with possible attendance issues.  Therefore, the Board of Trustees directs the CEO or designee to work with the Charter School’s teachers to implement a plan of action that includes but not limited to:

The Attendance Improvement Conference engages all participants involved in the child’s life to explore possible solutions to increase the child’s attendance.  Maintaining open communication between the child and adults will facilitate positive outcomes.

The purpose of the Attendance Improvement Conference is to discuss the cause(s) of the truancy and to develop a mutually agreed upon plan to assure regular attendance.  Issues to be addressed at the Attendance Improvement Conference will include but not be limited to:

The participants in the Attendance Improvement Conference should work collaboratively to conduct a holistic assessment to determine the reason(s) the child is exhibiting truant behavior.  Every member should have a vested interest in and responsibility for determining an appropriate plan to assist the child to succeed both socially and academically.  This Attendance Improvement Conference also provides an opportunity to ensure that both the child and the family clearly understand the legal ramifications of not adhering to the state’s compulsory attendance requirements.  

The Charter School will not impose discipline for truant behavior that excludes the child from the classroom, including  in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension or expulsion.  

The primary goal of the Attendance Improvement Conference is the development of a comprehensive Attendance Improvement Plan which is understood by, agreed upon and supported by the child, the parent/guardian, Charter School representatives and all other conference participants.  The Attendance Improvement Plan should include but not be limited to the following components as appropriate:

The Attendance Improvement Plan substantiates efforts made by the Charter School, the family and other vested third parties to assist the child in addressing and resolving school attendance issues.  This comprehensive system of supports and services provides documentation of the good faith effort between the Charter School and the child’s family should future action be required.

 

The CEO or designee is directed to develop procedures that may be necessary to implement this policy.

TO THE EXTENT THAT ANYTHING IN THIS POLICY COULD BE CONSTRUED TO CONFLICT WITH THE CHARTER SCHOOL’S CHARTER OR APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS, THE APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS AND/OR CHARTER CONTROL.