• Iredell-Statesville Schools Attendance Policy

    As Revised by the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, February 2004
    Policy Code # 4400

    Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Regular attendance develops 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 seven (or younger if enrolled) and 16 years attend school. Parents or legal guardians have the responsibility for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.

    1. Attendance Records

    School officials will keep an accurate record of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Such records will be maintained by the classroom  teacher, principal, and SIMS data operator. Absences must be reported to the SIMS data operator. Attendance records will be used  to enforce the Compulsory Attendance Law of North Carolina. If truancy is suspected, the case must be investigated by school personnel and may be referred to the school social worker. Violations of the Compulsory Attendance Law will be reported pursuant to legal requirements.

    1. Attendance Standards

    A student must attend school 50 percent of the school day in order to be counted present for the entire day. Also, a student must attend a specific class a minimum of 50 percent of the period in order to be counted present for the class.

    1. Lawful Absences

    When a student must miss school, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian must be presented to the teacher on the day returning after an absence. If the student does not present a note within two days, the absence will be coded as unlawful. The school will code absences in accordance with state guidelines, which provide that an absence may be coded lawful for the following reasons:

    1. personal illness or injury which makes the student physically unable to attend school
    2. isolation ordered by the State Board of Health
    3. death in the immediate family
    4. medical or dental appointment
    5. participation under suponea as a witness in a court proceeding
    6. observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student's parent(s) with prior approval by the principal

    Extended illnesses may require a statement from a physician. Out-of-school suspensions will be counted as a lawful absence for attendance record-keeping purposes. 

    1. School-Related Activities

    All classroom activities are important and difficult, if not impossible, to replace if missed. It is the intention of the Board of Education that classes missed be kept to

    an absolute minimum through close scrutiny and a monitoring system on the part of the principal. School-related activities must be approved in advance by the

    principal. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:

    1.  field trips sponsored by the school
    2.  school-initiated and scheduled activities 
    3.  athletic events requiring early dismissal from school 
    4.  in-school suspension

    Assignments missed for these reasons will be completed by students. 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.

    1. Excessive Absences

    Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement.

    1. Compulsory Attendance Law Reporting

    The principal will notify parents and take all other steps required by G. S. 115C-378 for excessive absences.

    1. After a student has accumulated three unlawful absences, the principal or his/her designee shall notify the parent/guardian of the child's excessive absences.
    2. After not more than six unlawful absences, the principal shall notify the parent/guardian that he/she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the state and the Board of Education. Once the parents are notified, the
      school social worker may work with the child and his/her family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine the steps to eliminate the problem. The school social worker may request that a law-enforcement officer accompany him/her if the counselor believes that a home visit is necessary.
    3. After 10 accumulated unlawful absences in a school year, the principal whall review any reports to or investigations produced by the school social worker pursuant to G. S. 115C-381. The principal shall confer with the student and his/her parent/guardian to determine whether the parent/guardian has been notified of the student's absences and has made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the principal determines that the parent/guardian has not met his/her obligations, the principal or designee may notify the district attorney. Evidence that shows that the parent/guardian was notified and that the child has accumulated 10 absences which cannot be justified under the Board's established attendance policies shall constitute aprima facie case that the child's parent/guardian is responsible for the absences. If the principal determines that the parent has met his/her obligations the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor indicating that the student is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse.
    4. Grades K through 5

    Recognizing that regular school attendance is the foundation for learning and that North Carolina Attendance Law requires attendance of students between the ages
    of seven (or younger if enrolled) and 16, students in Iredell-Statesville Elementary Schools are required to be in attendance at least 94.5% of the school year in order to be promoted to the next grade. A student absent more than 10 days shall be referred to the principal/designee for possible retention. Upon the 5th absence (lawful or unlawful) the principal or designee will notify the parent of the school's concern and of interventions necessary for student success.

    If the principal determines retention is necessary based on attendance, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing. The parent/guardian will have five days to appeal the principal's decision. Written documentation must be provided to the principal and must be based on appropriate reasons for the absences and completion of make-up work. If summer school attendance is determed to be appropriate, a final decision regarding promotion will be made following the summer school session.

    For the purpose of promotion and retention, 10 tardies and/or early dismissals equal one day's absence.

    1. Middle School

    As a local promotion standard, a middle school student may not miss more than 10 days of school a year or must be present more than 94.4% of the days he/she is enrolled in an ISS middle school. The student must make up time for each day of absence over 10 days during the school year. When a student accumulates more than 5 absences, he/she may begin to attend make up sessions/days as designated by the school. Makeup sessions/days could include before and after school learning labs, workdays, and summer school.

    For the purpose of promotion and retention, 5 tardies and/or early dismissals equal one day’s absence.

    When a student has been absent for more than 10 days and has failed to make up the time missed, he/she will be referred to the principal/designee as a candidate for retention.The principal/designee will notify the parent of the school’s concern and will inform the parent of the attendance requirements in regard to the local promotion standard.

    If the student has accumulated more than 10 absences and has not made up the required time by the end of the last grading period, he/she will be retained in the
    current grade.The decision to retain may be re-evaluated before the beginning of the fall term, based on the student’s participation in opportunities for make-up 
    time, such as summer school.If the student has fulfilled the make-up requirement, the decision may be made to promote him/her to the next grade level.

    Parents/Guardians who feel that extenuating circumstances have resulted in their child missing more than 10 days, may request an attendance waiver through the school attendance committee.Waiver requests must be submitted within 5 days of return to school. The committee will review the waiver requests and determine if the student must make up the missed days.

    1. High School
    2. Students absent from school and/or individual classes more than three (3) times during any nine-week period (whether lawful or unlawful) will receive a code of FF (future failure) for the specific nine-week period. For the code FF (future failure) to be removed time and work must be made up by the time specified by the principal (in the student/parent handbook).
    3. High school students must make up class time on an hour-for-hour basis. It is important for students to begin making up time immediately after each absence. Make-up classes are organized by the principal and may be offered before school, after school or on Saturday morning. The school system may provide additional make-up opportunities during an extended day and/or summer program. Make-up classes will be designed specific to student needs and/or to compensate for time missed due to absences.
    4. Waiver request forms must be completed at least five (5) days before the end of the 90 day term. The waiver period may be extended at the discretion of the principal. The committee will review the waiver requests and determine if the student must make up missed time.
    5. Thetotal number of absences for a 90 day term cannot exceed six (6) lawful or unlawful). If a student is absent from school and/or individual classes more than six (6) times, he/she will not receive credit for the course(s) unless make-up classes are completed or the school attendance committee grants a waiver.
    6. Make-Up Work Opportunities

    Grades K through 12

    All students are required to make up missed work regardless of whether the absence is lawful or unlawful. the school 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. The principal will implement specific procedures for students to make up work.

    Legal References:G.S. 115C-47, -84, -288(a), -378 to -383; Chapter 7B; 16 NCAC 6E.0100 through .0104; State Board of Education Policy Number
    EEO-L-000 through -004