Monomoy Regional School District recognizes the importance of attendance for the successful academic development of its students. Studies have shown that academic success highly correlates with regular attendance. Students who are chronically absent or tardy are more likely to drop out before graduating than those who attend school regularly. Research shows that children who attend school regularly perform better academically, socially, and behaviorally. Arriving on time to school – and remaining in school for the entire school day – is equally important. Every child’s success depends on a solid educational foundation, and our school can’t build that foundation if a student is regularly absent, tardy, or dismissed.
Daily attendance is part of our school’s overall accountability measures. Under these accountability measures, our school is responsible for reducing the number of students who are “chronically absent” – those who miss eighteen (18) or more days in a year FOR ANY REASON. While a limited number of absences due to illness, injury, legal or medical situation, or urgent family matter is natural in any school year, absences for family vacations, missing the school bus, or other non-urgent reasons are not.
To limit the number of “chronically absent” students, our school will take the following steps:
- When a student reaches six (6) absences, regardless of reason, the school nurse will reach out to reaffirm the importance of daily attendance and to offer support and assistance
- When a student reaches nine (9) absences, regardless of reason, a school administrator will reach out to express an increasing concern and to offer support and assistance
- When a student reaches twelve (12) absences, regardless of reason, the school will reach out to arrange a meeting between the household, school officials, and the school resource officer to explain potential legal consequences for continued absences and to offer intervention services
Please help improve our school’s overall attendance by:
- Scheduling appointments to take place before or after school hours, or during school vacations
- Taking family vacations only during weeks of school vacations
- Knowing the start and end times for the school day and respecting the hours in between for learning
- Regularly check Aspen via the Parent Portal to view and monitor the student’s attendance record/pattern.
A student arriving at school after, or dismissing before 12 p.m. will not receive overall attendance credit for the day, unless it is deemed to be an excused absence according to this handbook. A student without an excused absence will not be permitted to participate in any school-sponsored events (clubs, social, athletic, the arts, or extracurricular activities) during the period of such absence.
Monomoy Regional School District has adopted a program to improve school attendance through the Keep them Coming initiative in which the school collaborates with parents, the District Attorney’s Office, and other community entities to develop methods for improving student attendance.
Reporting an Absence
Absences may be reported via phone call (508) 945-5140, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or through PickUp Patrol. When a student is absent without notifying the front office, an automated email will go to the student’s primary contact. If return correspondence is not received, the school may perform a wellness check.
Multiple Days of Absence Known in Advance
The student must present a note from a parent to an administrator or designee indicating the dates and reason for the projected absence. Family vacations during school days are strongly discouraged. Teachers will not provide work in advance of family vacations.
All non-attendance at school is considered an absence. Absences are excused if:
- Parental notes indicate a death in the family or religious observance.
- Professional (not parental) notes supporting absences due to illness or appointments are submitted. Professionals mainly include doctors, medical facilities, legal, dentists, psychotherapists, chiropractors, orthodontists, etc. Professional notes (doctor, court, etc.) should be presented as the absence occurs. Professional notes will not be accepted beyond 10 school days of the absence.
- Absences are school-sponsored (field trips, athletic dismissals, etc.).
If a phone call or an email is received from a parent or guardian stating one of the following reasons for being tardy: legal, doctor's or dentist's appointment, ill that morning, this will be considered an excused tardy. If such tardies become excessive, “professional” notes will be required in order to be considered excused. Unexcused tardies include: oversleeping, missing the bus, arriving late by means of one’s own transportation (not the school bus). Parents are notified of excessive tardies.
Excessive Absence Warnings
Excessive absences will be reported to parents in the following ways:
- Report cards/Interim Report notations
- Contact/letters from teachers/administration at critical stages throughout the school year
- Attendance meetings with caregiver and student, if appropriate.
Attendance Intervention Plan
Step 1: If three absences in a semester are reached during the school year, a member of our school staff will reach out to you, as your child’s caregiver, to discuss school and/or community intervention supports/resources that may be needed to ensure regular attendance at school.
Step 2: If absences continue during the school year, and seven absences are accrued, a response to intervention team will solicit support from the district attorney’s “Keep ‘Em Coming” program and a meeting will be scheduled with this team. These meetings are not meant to be punitive. At this meeting, the “Keep ‘Em Coming” representative will work with your family and our school to “develop creative problem solving methods for improving the child’s attendance.” (Keep ‘Em Coming information page). The team will also discuss next steps in case absences continue and fall into the “chronic absentee” level.
Step 3: If absences continue to the chronic absentee level again next year, then our school will consult with the district attorney’s office on possible violations of the MA state education laws.
In flagrant absentee cases involving students under age sixteen, the school may file a CRA petition with the court or initiate 51A (abuse, neglect) proceedings. The intervention process may be waived in cases of obvious extended illness or other verifiable hardship.
Students are expected to be on time for school and classes. Students who are tardy to school must report to the Main Office to sign in on the tardy sheet, and receive a pass to class. A student MUST bring a parental note when tardy to school stating the reason for the tardy.
Excused Tardy: When a written note is received from a parent or guardian stating one of the following is the reason for tardiness, the tardy will be recorded as excused: Student had a legal, medical, psychological, physical, or dental appointment. Student not feeling well, 504 or IEP diagnosis and accommodation is on file and is specifically documented and addresses tardiness. If such tardies become excessive, then “professional” notes will be required in order to excuse the tardy.
Unexcused Tardy: Tardy arrival to school attributed to the following, but not limited to, are unexcused, regardless of a note from home: sleeping in, alarm issues, missing the bus, arriving late by means of one’s own transportation, traffic, construction, etc. Parents are notified when unexcused tardies accumulate excessively.
In the event that you move during the school year, all withdrawals are processed through the school’s Main Office. You must complete a transfer form and sign a release of records, which will allow the forwarding of cumulative records to the receiving school. We will mail the documents through the mail and request sufficient notice to ensure a smooth transition for your child.
Massachusetts General Laws on Attendance
Chapter 76, section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend school. A school district may excuse up to seven day sessions or fourteen half day sessions in any period of six months. In addition to this law, each school may have its own attendance policy with which parents/guardians should be familiar.
Notification and Contact Information
Chapter 76, section 1A of the Massachusetts General Laws states that parents/guardians must be provided each year with the instructions for calling a designated phone number at a designated time to inform the school of the absence of a student and the reason for the absence. In addition, parents/guardians must provide the school with a home, work or other emergency telephone number so that they may be contacted during the school day so the school may call and inquire about said absence.
Who is a Supervisor of Attendance?
Chapter 76, section 19 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that each school committee must employ a supervisor of attendance. A supervisor of attendance has the power to apprehend and take to school any child who is truant and is required to investigate all cases where a child in the district fails to attend school.
What is a CRA?
A "CRA” (child requiring assistance) is a petition may be filed in court by a supervisor of attendance if the child is habitually absent and doesn't attend school for more than 8 days in a quarter without a proper excuse or A habitual school offender who doesn't obey the lawful and reasonable commands of the school.
What is a 51A?
A 51A is a report of suspected child abuse or neglect that is filed with the Department of Social Services. Under Chapter 119, section 51A of the Massachusetts General Laws, a report can be filed on behalf of a child under the age of eighteen for educational neglect if a child is not attending school on a regular basis.
Parents or guardians are legally responsible for ensuring that a child under their control attends school daily. It is a crime for a responsible parent or guardian not to cause such a child to attend school. If a child fails to attend school for seven day sessions or fourteen half day sessions within any six month period, the supervisor of attendance may file a criminal complaint in court against the responsible parent/guardian.
It is a crime to induce or attempt to induce a minor to miss school, or unlawfully to employ or to harbor a minor who should be in school.