Attendance and Absenteeism Guidelines
Regular and punctual school attendance is critical to a child’s learning and achievement. New Hope-Solebury School District is required to implement attendance policies that are consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as to comply with diverse educational mandates.
ABSENCES AND LATENESS
The Board of School Directors considers the following conditions to constitute reasonable cause for absence from school:
- Recovery from accident
- Required court attendance
- Death in family
- Approved family educational trips
- Approved education tours and trips
These definitions apply for all absences, whether full day, partial day, or early dismissal.
Examples of unacceptable excuses for absences or lateness are over-sleeping, baby-sitting, driver examinations, missing the bus, and car problems. Absences for any unacceptable reason will be recorded as unexcused/unlawful.
In the instance of ongoing or recurrent absences, the school will coordinate a school/family conference to discuss the cause of the student’s excessive absences and develop a mutually agreed upon Truancy Elimination Plan (TEP). This plan will be required when the student has accumulated three (3) unlawful absences. The purpose of the TEP is to resolve the attendance issue.
REPORTING ABSENCES AND LATENESS
A written note or email from a parent or guardian explaining the absence or lateness is required within three calendar days of the absence. Students who are legally emancipated must substantiate their absence/tardiness in writing. Absences will be treated as unlawful without timely written documentation.
Notes must be signed (or emailed) by the parent (or the child's doctor) and include the following information:
- Date of note
- Student's Name
- Date of absence or lateness
- Reason for absence or lateness
NOTIFICATION OF ABSENCES
Benchmarks have been established to notify parents/guardians of accumulated absences of their child. Letters are sent home when a child reaches each of the following benchmarks:
- 3 days unlawful during the school year
- 5 days cumulative during the school year
- 6 days unlawful during the school year
- 10 days cumulative during the school year
Ten (10) days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification will be permitted during a school year. Absences beyond ten (10) days will require an excuse from a physician. In cases when a physician’s note is required, absences not documented by a physician’s note will be considered unexcused/unlawful. (District Policy 204 - Attendance)
Classroom instruction and interaction is an important component of the instructional program. Absences from class limit the educational impact of the classroom experience. If a student misses 20 days for a full-year course, or 10 days for a semester course, a referral will be made to the Academic Support Team or Student Assistance Program. In addition, that student will forfeit his/her privilege to participate in sports, all school activities, and attend all dances (including the Prom) for the remainder of the school year.
The District may report to appropriate authorities of the law regarding the attendance of students below the age of seventeen (18). The District 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.
Truancy is an unlawful absence. A student is truant if they:
- Fails to report to school without prior parent approval and/or knowledge.
- Leaves school without signing out or leaves school without parent and school permission.
- Fails to report to an assigned class or area.
For any act of truancy a student will receive a grade of zero for missed work and will be assigned to a Saturday detention. Repeat offenses will necessitate progressive disciplinary procedures including suspension from school. In some cases, students will be issued a Citation to appear before the local magistrate to remedy repeat Truancy offenses.
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL TRIPS AND COLLEGE VISITS
While the Board of School Directors discourages unnecessary absences from school, it recognizes that, depending upon circumstances, it may be necessary to approve family trips of educational value but only within the context of school purposes and school law (District Policy 204.1 - Family Educational Trips). All requests for family educational leave should normally be submitted in writing to the High School Office at least fifteen (15) school days prior to the affected date. All such leave must be approved in advance; otherwise the absence will be recorded as unexcused. Family educational leave will be limited to five (5) days in any given academic year. Once a student exceeds the five (5) days, all future absences of this kind will be unexcused/unlawful. The student is expected to complete all school work that is assigned during the absence. Such assignments will be given to the student immediately prior to the absence.
The following types of absences are included in the five days:
- Family Educational Trips
- College visits
- Education Trips
- Non-school sponsored athletic trips
All requests for college/university visitation are to be processed through the Guidance Office. Each visit, to be excused, must be confirmed by the Guidance Office in advance of the affected date(s).
All absences occasioned by observance of the student's religion on a day approved by the District as a religious holiday shall be excused. Students are to return from all such absences with a parental note.
ARRIVING LATE TO SCHOOL
Students who arrive late to school are to report directly to the building office and provide a note explaining the tardiness. For arrival times, please refer to your child’s school building handbook.
Appointments with physicians or dentists should be scheduled after school whenever possible. If this is not possible, a parent may request early dismissal from school for his or her student. Parents/guardians should notify the school in writing, giving the date and time of the child’s release. The parent/guardian is to report to the school office with photo identification to pick up the child.
- Students are not to contact a parent if leaving early from school due to illness sustained during the school day. Protocol is for a student to visit the nurse and the nurse is to assess the nature of the illness. If a student calls a parent to pick them up from school, they will first need to be assessed by the nurse.
- Students are not to leave the school for any reason without permission from the Nurse or Administration.
Refer to your child’s school building handbook for age-appropriate approaches to makeup schoolwork and expectations.