Policy

YOUNGSTOWN CITY SCHOOLS


Student Attendance Policy


The goal of Youngstown City School District’s attendance policy is that no student miss days of school without legitimate excuse.  A significant correlation exists between school attendance and academic and lifelong success. To ensure that our students achieve that success, Youngstown City Schools works with parents, guardians, families and students to intervene and resolve truancy and unexcused absences so that students subject to compulsory education consistently attend school when school is in session. As a solution to resolving the issues causing truancy, parents may be required to attend an educational and/or truancy prevention program as warranted by the facts and circumstances of the situation.  


The Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) authorizes and directs the Supervisor of Attendance to oversee the development and implementation of intervention strategies to address attendance and truancy at Youngstown City Schools.  These strategies will include, but are not limited to providing an attendance intervention plan for any student that is habitually truant from school that may include counseling or requiring parents to attend parental involvement programs and/or truancy prevention mediation programs, notification to the registrar of motor vehicles, involvement with juvenile court alternatives to adjudication, and taking legal action to address truancy.  The CEO will develop written procedures regarding the use and selection of juvenile court alternatives to adjudication to ensure fairness to all similarly situated students. Any student exceeding an excessive absence threshold will be notified in writing by the district.


  1.   

Attendance Guidance
  


  1. “Habitual truancy” is defined as a student subject to compulsory education who is absent without legitimate excuse for thirty (30) or more consecutive hours, forty-two (42) or more hours in a month, or seventy-two (72) or more hours in a school year.
      

  2. “Excessive absence” is defined as a student absent 38 or more hours in one school month with or without a legitimate excuse or absent 65 or more hours in one school year with or without a legitimate excuse.  


      C. “Chronic absenteeismis defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act, as missing 10 percent or more of the    

             school year for any reason.  It includes excused and unexcused absences.


     D. The parent of each student subject to compulsory education (or an adult student) must submit within forty-eight (48)

              hours a written statement of the cause for such absence, which may be verified by the building Attendance ESA.  The

              CEO is authorized to establish a parental education program for parents of truant students.  Parents who are required to

              attend and who fail to attend may be reported to the local children services agency for educational neglect.


II. Excused Absence


Absence will be excused only under the following circumstances:
  

  1. Short Term Personal Illness: The parent or guardian of a student may write an excuse for a student experiencing illness for up 32.49 consecutive hours of school ( 5 days).  After 32.5 consecutive hours of school (5 days), a medical excuse must be provided. Any absence greater tha 32.5 consecutive hours (5 days), due to illness that is not accompanied by a medical excuse will be unexcused.  A doctor’s excuse must be provided to the school within forty-eight (48) hours, i.e. two business days, of the student’s return to school or the absence will remain unexcused. If the school does not accept an excuse, the original will be returned to the student with a notation as to why it was refused (e.g., excuse not provided within the proper time period, excuse not written by a doctor, etc.). A copy of the refused excuse will be maintained in the student’s file pursuant to the schedule of records retention.
      
      

    B.   Illness or Injury in the Family:  Independent verification by a physician explaining the nature and severity of the

              illness or injury to the family member requiring the student to be absent will be required within forty-eight (48) hours,       

              i.e. two business days, of the student’s return to school. If an excuse is not accepted by the school, the original will be

             returned to the student with a notation as to why it was refused, e.g., excuse not provided within the property time   

             period,excuse not written by a doctor, etc. A copy of the refused excuse will be maintained in the student’s file.   


  C.     Quarantine of the Home: Absences will only be excused for the length of quarantine as determined by health officials.  

           Verification from relevant health officials explaining the nature and length of the quarantine must be submitted within

           forty-eight (48) hours, i.e. two business days, of the student’s return to school. If an excuse is not accepted by the school,

           the original will be returned to the student with a notation as to why it was refused, e.g., excuse not provided within the   

            property time period, excuse not written by a doctor, etc. A copy of the refused excuse will be maintained in the student’s

           file.


  

    D. Death in the Family: Three days excused absence will be permitted, unless a parent or guardian offers a reasonable explanation that more school absences are necessary. The parent or guardian may provide a note to the school to advise the school of the absence, however under certain circumstances, the school may require additional documentation to confirm the student’s absence was legitimate i.e., funeral service documentation, etc.

 

   E. Observance of Religious Holidays: Any student shall be excused if his/her absence was for the purpose of observing a religious holiday consistent with his/her truly held beliefs and the parent or guardian has notified the school in writing at least forty-eight (48) hours prior, i.e. two business days, to the absence.


     F. Out of State Travel (up to a maximum of 24 hours per school year): To enable the student to participate in a District-approved enrichment or extracurricular activity. The student must complete classroom assignments missed due to the approved absence.  If the absence is more than twenty-four hours, a classroom teacher shall accompany the student during the travel to provide the student with instructional assistance.


     G. Good Cause:  Absence for good cause that is acceptable to the school superintendent, who must approve, at his or her discretion, the excusal of absences not otherwise covered in this section.


    H.  Vacation:  Students are permitted to miss up to 32.5 hours a year (5 days) for a family vacation.  In order to have the days excused, the family must receive PRIOR written approval from their building administrator. If approval is not granted, the time will be logged as unexcused.


Students with excused absences will be permitted to make up classroom work and assignments and receive credit for completed work meeting the standards applicable to the student. Students whose physical or mental medical needs exceed the District’s excused absence policy will be referred for evaluation to determine eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or other accommodations determined applicable and necessary.


III.   Unexcused Absence


  

Any absence other than those described above.

The Attendance Department will make the final determination as to whether an absence is excused, but in general, unexcused absences include, but are not limited to:


Missing the school bus

      

Experiencing transportation problems at home or on the way to school

      

Remaining at home to complete school assignments

      

Missing school without legitimate illness

      

Oversleeping

      

Working at a job during the school day without a proper work permit

      

Babysitting

 

Any form of recreation


Personal business that can be done after school or on the weekends

 

Non-school related sports or athletics or other or non-school event


Pictures or portraits

Hunting season


Out of school suspension -

Out of school suspension hours are unexcused yet accumulate time under the “excessive absence” provision.   

                               Students are permitted to make up work while on an out of school suspension.



IV.   Absence Notification Procedures

  

  1. Immediate Notification:  A student’s parent/guardian is required to contact the school office between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on the day of the absence.

    1. If the school does not hear from the parent/guardian, the school is obligated to attempt to make contact with a parent/guardian to verify the absence within two (2) hours of the start of the school day.  We will attempt to contact the parent by phone, email or text. If initial contact is unsuccessful, a District representative will make additional contact attempts.

    2. All absences are unexcused until documentation is received according to the absence policy.

  2. Methods of Reporting Absences: Absences will be considered reported if:

    1. A parent or guardian calls the school the day of the absence and provides the reason for the absence;

    2. A parent or guardian writes a note or provides other required documentation to the school listing the day(s) missed and the reason for the absence(s) prior to the absence date;

    3. One or more of the above-referenced school personnel make contact with a parent or guardian and receive a satisfactory explanation for the absence(s).

    C.  Excusing an Absence: Absences will be excused if:

  1. The parent/guardian provides written documentation to the school including the  following:

  1. The date the note is written

  2. The students full name (first and last)

  3. The dates(s) the student was absent from school

  4. The reason for the absence

  5. The signature of the person writing the excuse, their contact information and relationship to the student.

     b.    The written note is given to the building attendance clerk within 48 hours of the

   students return to school.

     c.     An excuse from a  medical professional/court official/lawyer or other certified

         professional is submitted to the building attendance clerk.


V.    Intervention Procedures


  1. Each school determines a pre-intervention threshold at which they notify families of the potential for attendance issues/concerns. This notice is mailed to the family.

 

  1. If a student is absent with or without an excuse herein for thirty-eight (38) hours in a month or sixty-five (65) hours in a school year, the parent will receive written notification of their students violation within seven (7) school days of said violation. If the school remains concerned about attendance patterns, the school may invite the parent in and develop an absence intervention plan.

 

  1. If a student is absent without legitimate excuse for thirty (30) or more consecutive hours or forty-two (42) hours in a school month, or seventy-two (72) hours in a school year, the student will be assigned to an absence intervention team within ten (10) days of the triggering event.  The absence intervention team review the student during a seven (7) day period and an invitation to develop an absence intervention plan will be sent out student’s parent/guardian. If the parent/guardian is unresponsive to invitations to participate, within fourteen (14) days of having assembled the team, the team will develop an absence intervention plan without the involvement of the parent/guardian and will evaluate whether the failure to respond may require reporting to the local children’s services agency.  Should the parent(s) fail to participate, parents will be notified of the goals of the absence intervention plan within seven (7) days of its development.

 

  1. **The purpose of the absence intervention team is to establish a student-centered absence intervention plan for every child who is habitually truant by identifying specific barriers and solutions to attendance. The team is cross-sector and ideally includes the participation of the student and the parent. This requirement is new and is aimed at breaking down barriers to attendance without filing criminal complaints against the student in juvenile court.

 

 

  1. Once a student becomes habitually truant and an absence intervention plan is developed, the school will intervene with the student for a period of sixty (60) days.. Said intervention may include the participation of an absence intervention team, if required, or referral to an alternative to adjudication through juvenile court.

  1. If the student accumulates significant absences or does not make progress during this sixty-day period, truancy charges will be referred to the juvenile prosecutor for court filing on the sixty-first (61) day.

  2. If the sixty-first day of intervention pursuant to the absence intervention plan occurs during the summer, the District may extend implementation of the plan and delay the filing of a complaint in juvenile court for an additional thirty (30) days after the start of the next school year.  

  3. The district must make three good faith efforts to engage the student’s parent or guardian. The parent may appoint a parent designee, such as a relative or other trusted adult, if the parent is unable to participate. If, after three good faith attempts, the district is unable to ensure participation of the parent, the team should develop the student’s absence intervention plan without the parent.

    1. A “Good Faith Attempt” includes but is not limited to phone calls, written notices of invite, written notices of student’s hours missed, electronic communication including e mail, text or social media.

  4. If, during the 60 day implementation period, the student triggers an additional consecutive or monthly habitual attendance violation the District may immediately refer the matter to juvenile court.

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