Union County Public Schools
4 - Chapter 4 - Students
Revisions History: 09/01/2022, 03/01/2022, Reviewed by GC 11/02/2020, 12/03/2019, 03/05/2019, Approved: 06/05/2018
Related Policies & Documents: 4-1 AG (a)
The Board believes that attendance in school and participation in class are integral parts of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Through regular attendance, students develop patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory. The State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of 7 (or younger if enrolled) and 16 attend school. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.
A. ATTENDANCE RECORDS
School officials shall keep accurate records of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Attendance records will be used to enforce the Compulsory Attendance Law of North Carolina. Students will be considered in attendance if present at least half of the instructional day on-site in the school or at a place other than the school attending an authorized school-related activity. High School students must be present for at least 75 minutes of a 90-minute period to be considered present for a class. For athletics, high school students must be present for two of four classes to participate.
To be in attendance during remote instruction days (with the exception of the initial enrollment day), students must: (1) complete their daily assignments, either online or offline; and/or (2) have a daily check-in through two-way communication with (a) the homeroom teacher for grades K-5 or (b) for all other grade levels, each course teacher as scheduled. School officials shall communicate the attendance procedures to students and their families before the first day remote instruction begins.
B. EXCUSED ABSENCES
When a student must miss school, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian must be presented to the school after the student returns from an absence. While notes from a physician will be considered at any time, an excuse from a parent will only be accepted within the same 6- or 9- week grading period as the absence. The Board reserves the right for the school administration, after consultation with the Superintendent or designee, to request additional documentation to excuse an absence. Absences will be coded as unexcused until the written excuse is received. Absences due to extended illnesses may also require a statement from a physician. For the purposes of this Policy, extended illnesses are those which result in absences in excess of five (5) consecutive school days or in excess of five (5) cumulative days within a single semester. An absence may be excused for any of the following reasons:
1. personal illness or injury that makes the student physically unable to attend school (illnesses includes but is not limited to physical, emotional, and mental health);
2. isolation order (including all versions: i.e. exclusion, isolation, quarantine);
3. death in the immediate family. For purposes of this Policy, immediate family will include but is not necessarily limited to, parents/guardians, siblings, and grandparents;
4. medical or dental appointment;
5. participation under subpoena as a witness or a party in a court proceeding;
6. a minimum of two days each academic year for observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student’s parent(s);
7. college visits (up to two per academic year in both the Junior and Senior year once the student provides verification of the visit) and scholarship interviews;
8. participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel, additional college visits or service as a legislative or Governor’s page, with prior approval from the principal/designee;
9. pregnancy and related conditions or parenting, when medically necessary; or
10. a minimum of two days each academic year for visitation with the student’s parent or legal guardian, if the student is not identified as at risk of academic failure because of unexcused absences and the student’s parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services, and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting.
All other absences are considered unexcused.
In the case of any absence the student will be expected to make up his/her work. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
C. SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES
All classroom activities are important and difficult, if not impossible, to replace if missed. Principals shall ensure that classes missed by students due to school-related activities are kept to an absolute minimum. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:
1. field trips sponsored by the school;
2. job shadows and other work-based learning opportunities, as described in G.S. 115C-47(34a);
3. school-initiated and scheduled activities;
4. co-curricular, school sponsored extra-curricular and school sponsored athletic events that require early dismissal from school;
5. Career and Technical Education student organization activities approved in advance by the principal/designee; and
6. In-school suspensions.
Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible for makeup by the student. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
D. EXCESSIVE ABSENCES
Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement. Students are expected to be at school on time and to be present at the scheduled starting time for each class. Students who are excessively tardy to school or class may be suspended for up to two days for such offenses.
In addition, for students experiencing homelessness, school administrators must consider issues related to the student’s homelessness, such as a change of caregiver or nighttime residence, before taking disciplinary action or imposing other barriers to school attendance based on excessive absences or tardies.
The principal shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378 for excessive absences. Students may be suspended for up to two days for attendance related absences pursuant to the Code of Student Conduct.
1. Elementary - Students in grades K-5 who are absent (excused, unexcused, or OSS) for 20 days or more in a single academic year may be retained;
2. Middle – Students in grades 6-8 who are absent (excused, unexcused, or OSS) for 15 days or more in a single academic year may be retained. For middle school students taking courses for high school credit, the high school attendance rules will apply to those courses; and
3. High – Students in grades 9-12 who are absent (excused, unexcused, or OSS) for 8 periods or more in a semester long course or 15 in a yearlong course may fail the course. Yearlong courses are defined as courses which meet on a daily basis for the entire school year.
a. Recovery: Students who have a chance to pass academically but are in danger of failing due to absences will be the target population for attendance recovery. Recovery will be aligned to the classes where the absences occurred and the student shall be engaged in meaningful academic activities in the subject area. Recovered absences will not change the attendance record and excessive absences will impact other opportunities including the ability to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Each school shall develop an attendance recovery plan that will be reviewed and approved annually by the Office of School Performance.
E. PROCEDURES FOR EXCESSIVE ABSENCES AND ATTENDANCE VIOLATIONS
1. Three unexcused absences. When a student has accumulated three unexcused absences, the principal or designee shall notify the parent/guardian/custodian of the absences.
2. Six unexcused absences. When a student has accumulated six unexcused absences, the principal or designee shall notify the parent/guardian/custodian by mail that the student has accumulated this number of absences. The attendance counselor shall work with the student and his/her parent/guardian/custodian to analyze the causes of the absences and to develop a plan to eliminate the attendance problem.
3. Ten unexcused absences. When a student has accumulated ten unexcused for any reason, the principal or designee shall have a conference with the student and his/her parent/guardian/custodian to discuss the accumulated absences, ensure that the proper notices have been received and determine if the parent has worked in good faith to implement the plan developed pursuant E. 2. above. Should the principal determine that there has not been a good faith effort on the part of the student and/or parent/guardian/custodian to comply with the attendance requirements, s/he shall notify both the district attorney and the director of the department of social services. A parent or student may be subject to criminal charges or a juvenile petition for failing to meet these expectations.
F. TARDIES/EARLY SIGN-OUTS
All tardies/early sign-outs will be addressed at the school level. Attendance in school for all classes the full time allotted for classes is essential for student success. As with absences, school staff will work with the family to develop a plan to address tardies and early sign-outs.
G. RETENTION APPEAL
A parent/guardian/custodian may appeal a decision to retain a student to the school level committee according to the following criteria:
a. The student has passed all academic requirements for promotion but has failed to meet the attendance requirement.
b. Some absences were due to circumstances beyond the student’s control.
c. For High School students – the student must have participated in all recovery opportunities made available to him/her.
The school principal and/or the student’s parent/guardian/custodian may appeal the decision of the school level attendance committee to a district level attendance committee.
Individual schools are required to develop programs (including recovery programs) to address the academic needs of students who may be failing due to excessive absenteeism. Participation in such programs will be considered by the school level attendance committee. In addition, principals need to take into consideration special situations. These plans must be submitted to the Office of School Performance and approved annually.
Principals would be able to promote a student who qualified academically, but has accumulated twenty or more absences during the school year if it serves the best interest of the student.
H. EXAM EXEMPTIONS
High School students will not be required to take a teacher-made final exam in a course in the following situations:
• The student has an average of 90 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 2 unexcused absences in the class; or
• The student has an average of 80 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 1 unexcused absence in the class.
Teacher made tests are defined as tests designed and graded by a UCPS teacher of record for the purpose of assigning an exam grade to a student. Exam exemptions only apply to teacher made tests and are not available in courses which require the administration of an End of Course or state mandated final exams. Students enrolled in AP courses will still be required to take the AP exam. Students are expected to take all other assessments given at the school.
LEGAL REF: G.S. 115C-47, -84.2, -288(a), -375.5, -378 to -383, -390.2(d), -390.2(l), -390.5, -407.5; 130A-440; 16 N.C.A.C. 6E .0102, .0103; State Board of Education Policies ATND-000, -003, N.C.A.C.-6E.0104
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
REVIEWED BY GENERAL COUNSEL: 11/2/20