Attendance

General Information about Attendance

September 2018

Dear Lawrence School Families,

Good attendance makes a difference! It improves academic performance and promotes future success. We are striving to reduce student absences and tardiness this school year and in the future. In order to access all that school has to offer, it is important that students attend class regularly and are on time every day.

Attached, for your reference, is a copy of Board Policy #5113 on student attendance. Please note that four unexcused absences from school in one month or ten unexcused absences in a school year may result in your child being considered truant. Being absent 18 or more times for any reason is considered truant and is equivalent to 10% of the school year. Please read the policy carefully as to what absences are considered “excused”. Should you have any questions on the policy, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If your child is absent due to illness or a family emergency, please excuse your child's absence by writing a hand-written note to your child's teacher or office.  We have a sample you can use throughout the school year if you need to excuse your child's absence.

We want every child prepared to reach their full potential. Being in school daily and on time for class will help us achieve this goal. Talk to your child about the importance of going to school every day. Share these reasons as to why it is so important to go to school every day:

  • Each day's lesson builds off what was taught before. Missing a few days can put you behind.
  • In-class activities, such as experiments, demonstrations, and group work, usually cannot be made up.
  • Missing class discussions and explanations can make it harder to understand assignments.
  • Good attendance is an important habit for when you are older and have a job.

Thank you in advance for working with us to ensure our students are at school every day.

Click here for the Absence Note form

Lawrence Elementary School Attendance Q & A

Does it matter if an absence is excused or not?

Yes, the classification of an absence as either excused or unexcused is very important. Unexcused absences are counted toward truancy or habitual truancy.

What is an excused or unexcused absence?

Under the definition of an excused absence, student absences one through nine in a given school year are excused under the following circumstances:

  • The student's parent/guardian approves such absence and submits appropriate written documentation within ten school days of the student's return to school. Such documentation must be submitted for each incidence of absenteeism and include a signed note from a student's parent or guardian explaining the reason for the absence.

Isn't calling the school enough when my child is absent?

Today, calling the school is only one part of the process for letting the school know that your child is absent. Parents/guardians must also provide the appropriate documentation within the stated time period. FYI - per the State of Connecticut Dept. of Education, an email is not sufficient because we don't know who actually wrote the email.

If my child is absent for 10 or more days during the school year, do the attendance procedures change?

Yes, the procedures do change once a child is absent for 10 or more days, regardless if the absences are excused or unexcused. For a student's tenth absence and all absences over ten in a given school year, an absence will be excused for the following reasons pursuant to the state guidelines:

  1. For illness (only with documentation from a licensed medical professional for each day of absence),
  2. For observance of a religious holiday,
  3. For a death in the student's family,
  4. For an emergency beyond the control of the student's family,
  5. For a mandated court appearances (with written documentation),
  6. For an extraordinary educational opportunities (pre-approved by school administration) or
  7. For lack of transportation that is normally provided by a district other than the one the student attends.

An unexcused absence is any absence that does not fit within the definition of an excused absence or meets the definition, but fails to meet the documentation requirements.

If my child has some unexcused absences, are they automatically considered “truant?”

It depends on the number of unexcused absences that a student has accumulated. Truant means any student, age five (5) to eighteen (18) who has four (4) unexcused absences from school in any one month or ten (10) unexcused absences from school in any school year. A student that has 20 or more unexcused absences is considered “habitual truant.” Attendance letters will be sent out to families whose children are approaching truancy or meet the definition of truancy. Once a child is considered truant or habitual truant, DCF and/or the Superior Court may become involved in the matter in an effort to improve the student's attendance.

In one of our attendance letters that is sent home to our families, there is a paragraph that states the following: “Please be aware that two unexcused absences from school in a month or five unexcused absences in a school year may result in a complaint filed with the Superior Court alleging that the family is one with service needs.”This notification language is mandated by the State of Connecticut and comes directly from state statute and our BOE policy. It is an extremely rare situation that requires an attendance issue to go to court. There are many levels of progressive interventions that must occur before any attendance issue can go to court. The goal is to help students attend school every day.

Some of the interventions are:

  • Parent-teacher discussions on attendance, and
  • Meetings with the parent, teacher, principal and social worker/school psychologist, and
  • Reviewing possible school and community resources to assist the student and family in improving school attendance, and
  • Meeting with the district truancy officer.

The goal is help a student attend school every day. There are various ways to help a student and his/her family. If these levels of interventions are not successful, it is only then a complaint may be filed in a Superior Court in an effort to improve the student's attendance. The possibility of filing a complaint with the Superior Court would be discussed with the family during these meetings and prior to this happening.

So, what do I do if my child is absent?

  1. Contact the school and let us know why your child is absent. We understand students get sick and the best place for them is to be at home recuperating.
  2. Provide appropriate written documentation depending on the circumstances and the number of absences.
  3. If needed, set up an appointment with our school staff to discuss ways we can provide support for your child.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Jim Gaudreau, Principal

gaudreauj@mpsct.org

ATTENDANCE

ANNUAL NOTIFICATION OF OBLIGATIONS UNDER C.G.S. 10‑184

Regular student attendance is essential to the educational process, Connecticut law requires that the Middletown Public Schools provide you with this written notice of your obligations under Connecticut General Statute 10-184. This law provides that each parent or other person having control of a child five years of age and older and under eighteen years of age is obligated to cause the child to attend school regularly during the hours and terms school is in session, unless such parent or other person shows that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction, or that the child has graduated from high school or that the child ages sixteen or seventeen has withdrawn from school with the written permission of the parent or person having control of such child. Connecticut General Statute 10-185 provides that each day's failure to comply with these requirements is a separate offense, punishable by a $25.00 fine.

So that we may seek to inform you if your child is absent without explanation, the law also requires that the Middletown Public Schools obtains from you a telephone number or other means of contacting you during the school day. Please complete the School's Emergency Card. Also for more information, please reference the on line Student Handbook.

Note: Please reference Policy #5113.2 - Truancy.

It is so important for children to be at school each day for the entire day. It is understandable that, sometimes, students are absent from school for a variety of reasons. Please read the information below. The Connecticut state statutes and our district Board of Education Policy 5113 set forth the requirements for school attendance.