ATTENDANCE POLICY

File: JB

§126-81.1. General.

 

1.1       Scope — These rules provide guidelines for the development of local county attendance policies

.§126-81-2. Rationale.

2.1       The Pocahontas County Board of Education recognizes that a direct relationship exists between students’ daily school attendance, academic performance, graduation, and good work habits. This attendance policy promotes students’ daily attendance. The Pocahontas County Board of Education further believes that it is the responsibility of the parents and/or guardian to see that their child/children attend school regularly and consistently. Daily attendance is necessary for students to meet their schools’ academic~ program standards as each day’s learning builds on the work previously completed.

 

While students and parents/guardians have the ultimate responsibility for daily school attendance, the laws of West Virginia require school administrators to enforce compulsory school attendance. In accordance with SB Policy 2320, each Pocahontas County school will maintain a minimum attendance rate of 93% during each school year.

§126-81-3. Policy Development

3.1       To insure input into this policy revision, the revision committee will consist of at least the attendance director, one principal, two classroom teachers (1 elementary, 1 secondary), one counselor, two parents,and two community leaders. The annual attendance evaluation will be the individual school attendance percentage, which must be within the minimum percentage as established by SB Policy 2320.

§126-81-4. Definitions.

4.1.1.      4.1.1.      Absence — Not physically being present in the school facility for any reason. Absences resulting from the suspension of a student due to provisions in § 1 8A-5- 1 a (c) for which W. Va. Code provides that the pupil may be suspended shall be calculated in the school’s/county’s attendance rate.

 

Under this section of the W. Va. Code, a principal may suspend a student who has

 

(1) threatened to injure, or in any manner injured, a pupil, teacher, administrator or other school personnel;

 

(2) willfully disobeyed a teacher;

 

(3) possessed alcohol in an educational facility, on school grounds, a school bus or at any school-sponsored function;

 

(4) used profane language directed at a school employee or a pupil;

 

(5) intentionally defaced any school property;

(6) participated in any physical altercation with another person while under he authority of school personnel;

 

(7) habitually violated school rules or policies.

 

4.2.      Allowable Deductions – Absences that result from school-approved curricular/co-curricular activities; failure of the bus to run/hazardous conditions, and absences resulting from the suspension of a student due to a “Safe Schools violation”.

 

4.3.      Attendance — For statistical purposes, attendance will be reported and aggregated to the nearest half-day according to definitions in 4.3.1 and 4.3.2.

 

  4.3.1    Full-day attendance is being present at least .74 of the school day.
  4.3.2    Half-day attendance is being present at least .26 of the school day.

4.3.3    Each school will compute the times at the beginning of the school year to determine when a student must check in or may check out in order to count as present for either a full or half-day. Any other variations must be computed in accordance with 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 above

 

4.4   Attendance Rate — The number of days present divided by the number of days of membership, multiplied by one hundred equals attendance rate for students on the attendance registers in classes K-12.

4.5       Dropout — A dropout is an individual who:

 

4.5.1    was enrolled in the school at some time during the previous school year and was not enrolled on

 
 

October 1 of the current school year; or

 

4.5.2    was not enrolled on October 1 of the previous year although expected to be in membership

 
 

(i.e. was not reported as a dropout the year before); and

 

4.5.3    has not graduated from high school, obtained a GED diploma, or completed a state- or district-approved education program; and

 

4.5.4    does not meet any of the following exclusionary conditions:

 

        a.         Transfer to another public school district, private school, registered home school, or state- or district-approved education program;

b.         Temporary school recognized absence due to suspension or illness; or

c.         Death.

  4.6   Dropout Date — For students ages 16 or older, the dropout date is defined as the school day after the student’s last
         day of attendance.

4.7   Enrollment — A student is officially enrolled when one of the following conditions occur:

4.7.1    student was enrolled the previous year;

4.7.2    student appears at school to enroll with or without a parent/guardian; or

4.7.3    student and/or parent/guardian appear at school to enroll with or without records.

   4.8   Enrollment Count — A status count that reports the number of students on the attendance register as required by the West Virginia Department of Education
          

           4.9   Membership Days — The days present plus the days absent.

   
4.10.1    “Safe Schools Violation” —A violation by a student of any of the provisions in §18A-5-la for which W.Va. Code requires that a student shall be suspended
(i.e., possession of a deadly weapon or controlled substance on the premises of an educational facility, or assault and battery by a student upon a teacher or other school personnel).
 
(i.e., possession of a deadly weapon or controlled substance on the premises of an educational facility, or assault and battery
committed by a student upon a teacher or other school personnel).
 
 
4.11     Transfer — A process by which a student ends enrollment or attendance in one location and begins enrollment or attendance in a second location (e.g., within a county, between counties, or out of state). This can be evidenced through a transcript request or other documentation that the student is continuing elementary or secondary education.

§126-81-5 Responsibility:

5.1   The Pocahontas County Board of Education shall:

5.1.1    employ a certified county director of school attendance as required by W.Va. Code §18-

8-3. 

5.2.2    support and require the county attendance director to implement and execute the duties as defined in W.Va. Code § 18-8-4:

 

a.      The county attendance director shall diligently promote regular school attendance. He/she shall ascertain reasons for absences from school of students of compulsory school age and students who remain enrolled beyond the sixteenth birthday.
   
Compulsory School Attendance: Pursuant to the State statutes, compulsory school attendance shall begin with the school year in which the child’s sixth birthday is reached prior to September 1 of such year and continue to the sixteenth birthday or as long    
as the student shall continue to be enrolled in the school system. Exemption from attending the public schools during these years shall be the causes or conditions listed below. Each cause or condition shall be subject to confirmation by the county attendance director. Final approval for exemption shall be given by the Superintendent.

 

1.   Instruction in a private, parochial, or other approved school.

 
2.  Instruction in the home or other approved place. Each school level (elementary, middle and secondary) in the county

will develop a school policy to define the approved situations and the conditions applicable. These will be placed in the
parent/student handbook each year
3.   Physical or mental incapacity. In all cases of prolonged absence due to incapacity of the student to attend school or
 participate in a homebound instruction, the  written statement of a licensed physician or authorized school nurse is required.
4.     Hazardous condition. Conditions rendering school attendance impossible or hazardous to the life, health, or safety of the student.

5.      High school graduation.

 
6.      Granting of work permits. The county superintendent may, after due investigation, grant work permits to students under 16 years of age, subject to State and Federal labor laws and regulations. However, in no case shall a work
permit be granted to a student who has not completed the eighth grade.
 

7.         Serious illness or death in the immediate family of the student.

 
8.         Destitution in the home. Exemption based on condition of extreme destitution in the home may be granted only upon written recommendation of the attendance director to the county superintendent following a careful examination of the case.      
 
9.         Church Ordinances. The county Board of Education may approve for exemption for religious instruction upon written request of the person having legal or actual charge of a student. Provided that such exemption shall be subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the County Superintendent and approved by the County Board of Education.
 

10.       Alternative private, parochial, church or religious home instruction.

 

 

b.      In the case of five consecutive or ten total unexcused absences of a child during a school year, the attendance director shall serve written notice to the parent, guardian, or custodian of such child that the attendance of such child is required and that within ten days of receipt of the notice the parent, guardian, or custodian, accompanied by the child, shall report in person to the school the child attends for a conference with the principal or other designated representative of the school in order to discuss and correct the circumstances causing the unexcused absences of the child.

 

c.      If the parent, guardian, or custodian does not comply, then the attendance director shall file a criminal complaint against the parent, guardian, or custodian before a magistrate in the county.

 

d.      The attendance director shall serve as the liaison for homeless children and youth as defined in W.Va. Code § 18.8-4.
         As defined in H.R. 1 (No Child Left Behind), as the liaison for homeless children and youth, the attendance director is required to:

 

(1)           Ensure that public notice of educational rights of children in homeless situations disseminated where children and youth receive services.
(2)           Ensure that parents or guardians are informed of educational and related opportunities available to their children, and are provided with meaningful opportunities participate in the education of their children.
(3)           Ensure that parents or guardians are informed of, and assisted in accessing, all transportation services for their children, including to the school of origin.
(4)           Help unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youth’s wishes, and provide the youth with notice of his or her right to appeal the district’s decision.
(5)            Immediately assist the homeless in obtaining immunizations or record of immunizations or other medical records for those students who do not have them, and assure that students are enrolled in school while
records are being obtained.

 

5.3       support and require the school principal to implement and execute the duties as defined in W.Va. Code §18-8-5;

 

a.         The principal shall compare school numbers with school enrollment monthly.

b.         The principal, or designee, shall contact any parent, guardian, or custodian of the student and hold a meeting with such person and the student when the enrolled student has accumulated five unexcused absences from attendance.
c.         The principal shall make prompt reports to the county attendance director of all cases of unexcused absences arising within the school which require ~he services of the attendance director.

 

§126-81-6. County Attendance Policy Components:

 

6.1.1    Philosophy:

 

The Pocahontas County School System believes academic, social and psychological development is nurtured in an orderly, safe and stimulating environment. It further believes a direct relationship exists between daily school attendance and student performance. This comprehensive attendance policy, supported by everyone in the school system, parents/guardians, students and the community,

is a necessary component in order to accomplish this type of development. We believe an integral part of this policy’s success must be the cooperative involvement of all parties in it’s implementation and applications.

 

6.1.2    Principles of Operation:

 

a.         Each school principal, or a designee, will serve as the school attendance coordinator who collects classroom attendance data and makes appropriate referrals to the county attendance director.

 

b.         Each school principal, or designee, will report attendance, which reflects the allowable deductions as defined by the West Virginia Department of Education.

 

c.         The county will define excused and unexcused absences:

•   When a student is absent from school, a note from the student’s parent, guardian or custodian must be presented by the morning of the third school day of attendance following the absence. This short time frame will insure
 up-to-date records and will increase the accuracy of such records.

•   Long-term medical/dental statements must be updated every nine (9) weeks.

•   Pocahontas County’s excused absences are:

                                        1.           Illness or injury of the student verified by physician’s note.
2.           Medical or dental appointment, which cannot be scheduled outside the school day, verified by a note from physician/dentist.
3.           Illness of student verified by parent/guardian/custodian. Note not to exceed three (3) consecutive or five (5) total days per semester. Verification by physician note if more than three (3) consecutive days.

4.           Illness or injury in family when student absence verified as essential by physician.

5.           Calamity such as fire, flood or family emergency approved by principal/designee.

6.           Death in immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents. student’s child) limit to three (3) days per occurrence except in extraordinary circumstances. One (1) day will be excused for the death of an aunt, uncle, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew, niece or any other person living in the same household per occurrence except in extraordinary circumstances.

7.           Leaves of education value in accordance with these stipulations:

•         Prior approval of principal/designee;

•         Prior submission and approval of educational plan detailing objectives and activities;

•         Leave not to exceed ten (10 days requires prior county board approval.

8.           School approved curricular or extra-curricular activities.

9.           Legal obligation with verification.

10.         Failure of bus to run or extremely hazardous conditions

11.         Observance of religious holidays.

12.         Exceptional students’ absences should be addressed to comply to SB Policy 2419.

 

•         Any absence that does not comply with any of these 12 definitions and conditions of an excused absence will be considered as an unexcused absence.

 

d.  Students unable to attend school due to extenuating circumstances must have their physician verify the circumstance using the prescribed form for home-bound instruction to insure educational services in a timely manner. These forms and additional    
information are available at each school and the county school offices.

 

e.  Any student who arrives at school after the school day begins or who is not at his/her assigned instructional location at the scheduled time for instruction will be tardy. A tardy may be excused or unexcused dependent upon the reason for being late.Each school principal and classroom teacher will communicate at the beginning of each school year and throughout to the students and parents the importance of the students arriving at school on a punctual basis. This disruptive factor will also be explained in each student’s school handbook. As deterrents to tardiness the school may use, but not be limited to counseling by school  counselors, before/after school detention, in-school detention, loss of certain privileges, etc. It is the responsibility of each school to maintain a student log where the student (with authorization) or a student’s parent checks a student in/out at any time other than the beginning or end of the school day. The principal, or designee, will periodically check these logs to determine excessive tardiness by students and take whatever measures deemed necessary to correct them.

 

f. Each revision of the Pocahontas County Attendance Policy will be submitted to the West Virginia Department of Education for approval.

 

g. No student shall receive either in-school or out-of-school suspension due to absenteeism. Other corrective methods, such as, but not limited to, detention, Saturday school, or alternative class setting will be utilized.

 

h. An Exit Interview will be conducted by the principal, or designee, or the attendance director for all dropouts. Dropouts will be reported to the West Virginia Department of Education.

 

6.1.3    Processes and Procedures:

 

a.     Early each school year the following will occur to notify students and their parents/guardians/custodians of the county attendance policy and their

responsibility/accountability for regular school attendance:

 

•      A synopsis of the Attendance Policy will be published in the local newspaper and posted in conspicuous places in all educational facilities in the county.
 
•      A copy of Pocahontas County Schools Student and Parent Handbook, which will contain the county attendance policy, and a verification sheet, will be sent home.
 

•      Each school will include a copy of the attendance policy in their handbook and it will be sent home with a verification sheet.

 

 

b.     Make-up work for absences shall be completed within a time period defined as the number of absences plus one day (example: if the student is absent three days then he/she would have four days after returning to school, to complete and  submit makeup work). If the student has not completed the makeup work in the allotted time, the teacher may, in consultation with the school administrator, grant an extension or record a zero for the work missed.
 c.     One full semester or 18 school weeks must pass with no more than two (2) unexcused  absences within this time period before a driver’s license, which has been revoked, can be  reinstated.
d.   Each school principal shall at the beginning of each school year appoint a four member Appeals Board, to be chaired by the attendance director, to hear and rule on questions that may arise regarding the implementation and application of this policy.    
An appeal by a student or parent will be granted only after formally discussing the issue with the teacher(s), the school principal, and the county attendance director.

 

6.1.4    Maintenance of Records:

 

a.        Every school will maintain a daily attendance record for every enrolled student using the WVEIS.

b.        Every school will use the following notification procedures regarding student absences.

 
 

1.     The school attendance coordinator or automated calling device will make daily phone calls to

        parents/guardians/custodians of students who are absent. A phone log will be maintained showing the outcome of

        each call. If a parent/guardian/custodian cannot be reached, a letter or note may be sent home.

2.     The school attendance coordinator shall create a cumulative absence report weekly from all available sources to

        determine which student(s) may be attendance concerns.

3.     Any time a student accumulates five (5) or more unexcused absences for the year, the school coordinator will contact the attendance director. The attendance director will contact the parent/guardian/custodian by mailed letter requesting a conference. A copy of this letter will be given to the school principal, or designee.

4.     Any time a student accumulates more than ten (10) unexcused absences for the year, the school coordinator will contact the attendance director. The attendance director will prepare/mail copies of an Excessive Unexcused

        Absence packet for the legal system, the county office, the principal, the parent/guardian/custodian and begin legal action in as timely a manner as possible

 

c.        A student’s attendance record is a legal document. Any student who is not physically in school, whether absent or on a school-sponsored activity off the school grounds, must be appropriately accounted for on1 the WVEIS using the correct absence code.

 

6.1.5    Preventive and Corrective Measures:

 

a.         Each school will develop and implement a system of incentives and rewards for students who achieve the pre-determined attendance goals at the end of each grading period. 

        Schools whose grading period is six (6) weeks in duration will recognize students who have missed 0-2 days. 

        Schools whose grading period is nine (9) weeks in duration will recognize those students who have missed 0-3 days.

       The school staff, principals, parents, and students will develop these programs. They may consist of, but are not limited to, recognition programs, privileges, rewards, etc.

 

b.         Parental notification will follow the guidelines given in 6.1 .4.b of this document. Parent involvement will also include personal phone calls, conferences, phone master calls, counseling sessions, and helping to develop incentive programs.

 

c.         The attendance coordinator, principal, or teachers in each school may identify/refer to the school counselor(s) a student as having an attendance problem and possible “at risk.”

 

            The school counselor may develop sessions to encourage regular attendance by whatever means deemed necessary.Parents may be involved in these sessions as well.

 

d.         The schools may utilize other agencies such as Seneca Health Services, Inc., Timberline Health Group, DHHR, etc.for other appropriate services.

 

e.         After-school programs are available to concentrate on academic remediation, truancy, nutrition, etc. in each major community in the county and are in close affiliation with the schools.

 

f.          A student with excessive absences (more than 10 in one semester) will be referred to the school assistance team where positive interventions will be developed. Interventions may include multidisciplinary evaluation, counseling

services referral to an outside agency, etc. Other agencies providing services to the student should be invited to this meeting. The attendance director will conduct an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of the attendance policy.

 

6.1.6    Individual exception to Four Year Attendance Requirement:

 

        Attendance for the full day for all four years during grades 9-12 is important so that student obtain the full benefit from the educational programs offered in the schools of West Virginia.

         Exceptions to this requirement may be made to students meeting requirements for high school graduation and who are enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 hours) in an accredited college or advanced vocational Technical school the second term of their senior year. A student shall submit his/her

 intentions to the school principal during the first term of his/her senior year and, upon the principal’s approval,be granted permission to attend college or an advanced vocational/technical school.

 

§126-817-7. School attendance as a condition for privilege of operation of motor vehicle.

 

7.1      Any student fifteen years of age, but less than eighteen years of age, who is properly enrolled in a West Virginia public school, or is a West Virginia resident enrolled in an out-of-state school, or is properly enrolled in an    

          Exempt A, B, or K non-public school may request from the attendance director or high school principal documentation of enrollment/attendance status. This Documentation will be provided upon request at the high school office on a form

provided by the West Virginia Department of Education for presentation to the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles when making application for, or reinstatement of, an instruction permit or license to operate a motor vehicle.

 

7.2      Students who withdraw from a public school and do not enroll in another school (dropout) as specified in WV Code18-8-1 Id will automatically have their driver’s license suspended if under the age of eighteen.

 

7.3      Public school students, in order to meet the attendance requirement, must not have 10 or more consecutive unexcused absences or 15 or more cumulative unexcused absences within the school year to obtain/retain a driver’s    

license. Pursuant to WV Code 18-8-11, suspension or expulsion from school, or imprisonment in a jail or penitentiary, is not circumstance beyond the control of such person. Once a driver’s license is obtained, the student must maintain the same attendance status or the attendance director will begin the revocation process. This process shall involve:

 

•         Notification by registered mail within five (5) days of intent to revoke the driver’s license.

•         Upon the receipt of this intent notice, the student will have five (5) days to request an appeals hearing with the county superintendent or designee and the attendance director. If no request for an appeal is received, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be notified at the

 end of five (5) days of the loss of driving privileges.

•         The appeals hearing, if requested, will be scheduled as quickly as possible (not to exceed 10 days) In order to resolve this issue in a timely manner.

•         If the revocation decision stands, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be notified of the loss of driving privileges within five (5) days of this decision.

 

 

Reference:       West Virginia State Board Policy 4410

Adopted:          February 1988

Revised:           July 2003