The Board of Education, in accordance with the state Education Law, requires that each minor regularly attend school full-time from the first day of session in September of the school year in which the minor becomes six years of age through the last day of the school year in which such minor becomes 16 years of age, unless he/she has completed a four-year high school course of study. He/She may attend a school other than a public school or receive home instruction, provided the instruction is equivalent to that given in the public schools.
It shall be the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools to prepare and the Board to enact appropriate rules and regulations to monitor the attendance of all children below the age of 16 and those above 16 but less than 18 who have chosen to work full time but are unemployed. Such rules shall include a provision to contact the home at the start of a period of unexcused absence, and establish minimum attendance requirements.
COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AGE
All children are required by law to attend school full time, from the first day of session in September of the school year in which the minor becomes six years of age through the last day of the school year in which such minor becomes 16 years of age, unless he/she has completed a four-year high school course of study. A minor who has completed a four-year high school course of study is not required to attend.
Students exceeding the compulsory attendance age may withdraw from school with or without parental consent. However, every effort shall be made to involve parents in such a serious decision.
Children who reach their fifth birthday on or before December 1st of the year of matriculation will be admitted to kindergarten. Proof of age must be presented in the form of a birth certificate, baptismal certificate, or passport.
All students over five years of age and under 21 who do not possess a high school diploma are entitled to attend public school in the district where he or she resides.
In accordance with state law and regulations, it is the policy of the Rhinebeck Central School District to ensure the maintenance of adequate attendance records verifying the attendance of all children at instruction and the creation of the means to examine attendance patterns so as to develop effective intervention strategies to improve student attendance.
It is the objective of this policy to encourage each student to attend school on time for the maximum number of days and instructional periods possible. In furtherance of this objective, the District shall utilize strategies such as positive attendance incentives and appropriate disciplinary and other consequences, as well as the integration of attendance standards for the purposes of conferral of course credit.
Attendance records will be maintained by the school secretaries for grades K-6 and the attendance clerk for grades 6-12 on a daily basis. District-wide attendance reporting and accounting will be done by the Superintendent’s secretary.
Any student absent from school for reasons other than a school-authorized activity, shall bring a dated excuse, verified by a parent’s or a guardian’s signature, upon the student’s return to school.
School officials shall be diligent in their efforts to correct persistent patterns of illegal/unexcused absence on the part of students.
I. Record Keeping
A. Effective no later than July 1, 2003, attendance record keeping shall conform to the following:
1. As a non-departmentalized K-5 school, Chancellor Livingston Elementary School shall have attendance taken once each day.
2. As schools with departmentalized grades, Bulkeley Middle School and Rhinebeck High School shall have attendance taken in each period of scheduled instruction, with an exception for consecutive periods where classes are in the same room.
3. In Grades K-12, any absence for a school day or part of a school day shall be recorded as excused or unexcused as provided for in this policy.
4. In Grades 6-12, events of tardiness shall be recorded as excused or unexcused as provided for in this policy.
5. In Grades K-12, events of late arrival or early departure shall be recorded as excused or unexcused as provided for in this policy.
6. A record shall be maintained of each scheduled day of instruction during which school is closed for all or part of the day because of extraordinary circumstances including adverse weather, failure of the heating system or water supply, fuel supply shortage or structural damage to the building, etc.
7. A record shall be made of the date when a student withdraws from enrollment or is dropped from enrollment in accordance with §3202(3-a) of the Education Law.
B. All entries in the register of attendance shall be made by a teacher or another employee designated by the Board of Education. Any individual authorized
to make entries in the register of attendance shall, by oath or affirmation, verify the contents of the entries.
C. The register of attendance shall consist of any written or electronic record to
record attendance, absence, tardiness or early departure of a student. The
register shall be maintained for every period that a student is scheduled to attend actual instruction or supervised study during the course of the school day during the school year, from July 1st through June 30th. The register at every school building shall include separate notations regarding student presence, absence, tardiness and early departure. The contents of the register for each student shall contain the information prescribed in regulations of the Commissioner of Education (Part 104).
D. The coding system shall incorporate the following: CC for class cut (unexcused); TE for excused tardy; TR for truant (unexcused); HT for home tutoring (positive); SV for school visitation (excused); DR for doctor or dentist appointment (excused); SU for suspended (positive); FT for field trip (positive); ISA for in-school activity (excused); ILL for illness (excused); CS for community service (excused); CT for court date (excused); DF for death in the family (excused); AT for action taken (positive); TDY for unexcused tardy; UNX for unexcused; SE for school event (excused); EXC for excused; N/R for note without legal reason (unexcused); JS for job shadow (excused); and UNV for unverified absence.
II. Excused and Unexcused Absences
The Board recognizes the following as excused student absences, each of which must be verified by the student’s parent/guardian or school personnel, where applicable:
1. Personal illness
2. Illness or death in the immediate family
3. Religious observance
4. Required attendance in court
5. Approved school-sponsored activities, including field trips, interscholastic athletics, musical and other competitions
6. Directed or authorized presence at the Administrative Offices or Nurse’s Office.
8. Dental and medical appointments
9. Military obligations
10. Approved cooperative/work study program
11. College visitations only for juniors and seniors, with the prior knowledge and approval of parents and counselors, so long as it does not exceed 4 days in a school year.
12. Unsafe travel conditions
Any absence not provided for on the excused list shall be deemed an unexcused absence.
The Board strongly discourages parents from taking their children out of school for the purpose of a family trip or vacation. If such a situation is unavoidable, parents should provide advance notice to the main office staff. All work must be completed within a reasonable period of time upon the child’s return, as determined by the teacher.
Students in grades 6-12 may be excused from daily instructional requirements
during designated Regents days. Attendance need not be taken on a Regents examination day. However, regents days will be counted toward fulfilling the minimum 180 required days of instruction for the year.
Each absence must be accounted for. It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to notify the office on the morning of an absence. It is essential that parents/guardians provide a written excuse for each absence. Such excuse should contain the reason and date of absence. The written excuse must be presented by the student on the day when returning to school following such absence.
III. Student Absenteeism
Educational research indicates that regular class attendance is highly correlated with academic success. There is no educational substitute for high quality teacher-student interaction in a classroom environment. From time to time, students may be absent from school due to illness, family obligations, and so on. It is the responsibility of the secondary school student to keep up with any work or instruction missed. In the event that students display chronic absences from school, the following provisions will be adhered to.
The following provisions and definitions will apply for this policy:
A. Students who are more than fifteen minutes late for a class will be considered absent from the class.
B. Students will not be counted as absent for the following reasons:
1. External suspension
2. In-school suspension
3. Long-term illness when the school has arranged for the student’s
educational needs (i.e. home tutoring)
4. A student on a field trip will receive positive attendance for the entire
Before a student is absent nine (9) days in a semester course, or nineteen (19) days in a full year course, or when a student exhibits a pattern of unexcused absences or tardiness, the building administrator or his/her designee will meet with the student and discuss measures that can be taken to improve attendance. Also at this time, a letter will be sent to the parent(s)/guardian(s) with a notification of these absences and concern regarding academic achievement. The building administrator or his/her designee will also make contact with the parent(s)/guardian(s) by telephone or in person at a meeting scheduled for this purpose and will document this contact.
Such efforts to improve attendance may include but not be limited to:
• Discussions with the student’s teacher or teachers.
• Discussions and/or meetings with the student and his/her parent(s)/ guardian(s).
• Discussions with the student’s guidance counselor or the Assistant Principal
• Permanent or temporary suspension of extra-and co-curricular activity privileges, including but not limited to athletics, clubs meetings and activities, and dances
•Permanent or temporary suspension of early dismissal, late arrival, or open campus privileges
•Reassignment to academic study halls
IV. Encouraging Student Attendance
A. With the approval of the Building Administration, in consultation with guidance services, teachers at the elementary level shall utilize attendance incentives (addressing not only attendance but also tardiness and early departure as well), including recognition of students with good attendance and commendation certificates issued to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s).
B. At the middle school and high school levels, class cutting shall be deemed an infraction of the Code of Conduct in the nature of insubordination to the teacher and school administration. The Code shall prescribe a range of disciplinary interventions to address class cutting.
C. In the event that the school level interventions have not improved the student’s attendance, the Principal may recommend interventions such as a Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) petition to the Family Court and/or contact with the appropriate social services agency to initiate a neglect petition.
V. Oversight Responsibilities
A. The Building Principal and/or his/her administrative designee shall be responsible for reviewing student attendance records and initiating appropriate action consistent with this policy.
B. The Board of Education shall annually review building level student attendance records to determine if the comprehensive student attendance policy is effective. If a decline in attendance is evident, the Board shall revise the policy as deemed necessary to improve student attendance.
VI. Distribution of Policy
The Superintendent of Schools, at the direction of the Board of Education, shall publish to the community information about the District’s Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy. The policy shall be available and explained at student assemblies, at assemblies on open school nights (if any), and a plain language summary of the policy shall be prepared for distribution to parents/guardians. Each teacher and new teacher(s), promptly upon hire, shall be provided with a copy of the policy and any amendments thereto. Copies of the policy shall also be maintained by the District’s Records Access Officer for issuance upon request by any interested party.
Education Law §§1709; 1711; 1712; 2503; 2514; 2555; 3201; 3202(1-a); 3205-3213; 3024; 3225; 3202(1-a) 8 NYCRR §101; §175.6; Family Court Act §§711 et seq.