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Thank you for your continued interest in and support of Aiken County Public Schools, and welcome to acpsd.net! †
State law requires all children between the ages of five and 17 to attend a public or private school or kindergarten. A parent whose child is not six years old on or before September 1st of the school year may waive kindergarten attendance for his/his child.
Students need to be in attendance all day, every day, if they are to progress in school at their optimum level. The board expects children to attend school regularly. Regular attendance is necessary if students are to make the desired and expected academic and social progress.
The school year consists of 180 school days. High school students must attend 85 days of each 90-day semester to receive one-half unit of credit. They must attend 170 days through the course of the school year to receive one unit of credit. The board may grant approval of excessive absences in accordance with board policy.
Grades K-5 – Student attendance will be recorded on a daily basis.
Student Absences and Excuses
Any student who misses school must present a written excuse signed by his/her parent or legal guardian. The excuse will contain such other information as directed by the administration. Student excuses are considered to be a part of student records, and such excuses will be processed by those school-based employees designated to administer attendance regulations and will be provided to other staff who have a need to know.
If a student fails to bring a valid excuse to school within five days, he/she will automatically receive an unexcused absence. If a student brings a false (or forged) excuse, his/her teacher must refer the student to the school administration for appropriate action.
The district will consider students lawfully absent under the following circumstances:
· They are ill and their attendance in school would endanger their health or the health of others.
· There is a death or serious illness in their immediate family.
· There is a recognized religious holiday of their faith.
· They are traveling or attending events that the principal approved in advance as an education experience.
· Emergencies and/or extreme hardships at the discretion of the principal.
· Other lawful absences are explained in administrative rule JH-R.
Chronic or extended illness requires a certification of the illness from the physician or other health care provider. Such statement will become a part of the student’s health file and will be placed in the permanent record. A statement from a physician or other health care provider may be required for the temporary illness of the student or for a death or serious illness in the student’s immediate family.
The district will consider students unlawfully absent under the following circumstances:
· They are willfully absent from school without the knowledge of their parents.
· They are absent without acceptable cause with the knowledge of their parents.
Parents who anticipate the student’s absence from school of more than five consecutive days due to an extended health problem should apply immediately for homebound instruction by calling the school office (442-6330) to speak with Ms. Eubanks. A student on homebound instruction will not be counted absent.
The district plan for improving student attendance will include, but not be limited to, the following:
· Establish reasons for excessive absences.
· Identify a method to resolve cause of unlawful absences, i.e., influence change in environment, group and/or individual counseling, parent conference and others.
· Notify the attendance supervisor immediately in writing; with a copy sent to the area assistant superintendent, for appropriate action under state attendance regulation in the event unlawful absences continue.
· Maintain evidence of intervention activities, e.g., copies of letters to parents, intervention plans, etc.
After three consecutive unlawful absences, school officials will attempt to notify the parents first by phone and then by letter. After five total absences, school officials will identify the reasons for the child’s continued absence and develop a plan in conjunction with the student and the parent to improve future attendance. The board of trustees designates the principal of the school to promptly approve or disapprove any student’s absence of more than 10 days.
After three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences occur, school officials will do the following:
· Notify the parent of the absences using the appropriate form. If the principal is unable to establish contact with the parent for the purpose of developing an intervention plan, the student will be referred in writing to the attendance supervisor who will make every effort to arrange a conference with the parent.
· Hold a conference with the student and the parent at which time they will identify the reasons for the absences and develop a plan to improve future attendance. The student and the parent will sign this plan.
· A copy of this plan will be sent to the attendance supervisor.
· After the plan is in operation, if the student is unlawfully absent again, he/she will be immediately referred to the attendance supervisor with a copy of the attendance card.
After 10 unlawful absences, school officials will notify the parent of the absences. School officials will review the plan for improving attendance with the parent and student and reclarify the consequences of continued absences. The district will refer students who continue to be absent from school unlawfully to the family court. In addition, the principal will be responsible for implementing and expediting the homebound program for students experiencing a prolonged illness or injury requiring them to be absent from school.
Denial of Credit
Any student who fails to meet the minimum attendance requirements will not be promoted unless the principal approves the promotion in cases of chronic or extended illness or in emergencies gives approval of excessive absences.
1. Students who are ill whose attendance in school would endanger their health or the health of others may be temporarily excused from attendance. A statement from a physician or other health care provider may be required.
2. Students in whose immediate family there is a serious illness or death may be temporarily excused from attendance. (A statement from a physician or other health care provider may be required.)
3. Students may be excused from attendance in school for recognized religious holidays of their faith.
4. Students may be excused from attendance for travel or attendance at events that the principal judges to relate to concepts and objectives of the school curriculum. Request for approval should be submitted to the principal at least five (5) days in advance.
5. Students may be excused for genuine emergencies as approved by the principal.
6. Other lawful absences are detailed in JBD-R.
7. Chronic or extended illness requires a diagnosis of the illness from a physician or other health care provider. Such statements will become part of the student’s health file and will be placed in the permanent record.
8. The principal must approve all absences in excess of ten.
An unlawful absence is defined as a student’s willful absence from school without the knowledge of the parents or a student’s absence from school without cause with the knowledge of the parents.
South Carolina State Law, Section 59-65-90 requires that: (1) school officials should immediately intervene to encourage the student’s future attendance when the student has three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences, and (2) the district board of trustees or its designee shall promptly approve or disapprove any student absence in the excess of ten days.
To intervene means to identify the reasons for the students continued absence and to develop a plan in conjunction with the student and parent or guardian to improve his/her future attendance. The School Board designee for the implementation of this policy is the school principal. Nothing within this policy interferes with the Board’s authority to at any time refer a child to a truancy prevention program, or the court pursuant to Section 59-65-50.
Procedures for Approving / Disapproving Absences:
Students are expected to attend school for the full year beginning with the first day of school. For students who enter school after the first 10 days (five days for semester courses) and whose reasons for failing to attend school are not accepted according to board policy, credit will be withheld.
Transfers from out-of-state or district
If a student begins school in another state or district and transfers into the school district, the following rules will be observed. Rules prevailing in the former school system will be considered. Prorata application of South Carolina attendance policies may be used.
Students may be permitted to miss class to participate in approved field trips.
In-school suspensions will not count as absences. Out-of-school suspensions will count as lawful absences.
Routine scheduled visits for dental, medical, mental health
Students who require routine periodic visits to their orthodontist, dentist, physician, mental health specialist, health department specialist and other health-related professionals should schedule their appointments at other than instructional time. If such visits are required during the school day, they will be scheduled at varying times. Lawful absences for these purposes are not to exceed five during the school year.
Students who are late to class or school due to tardy arrival of school buses will not be counted absent or tardy.
Student absences resulting from required court appearances will be considered as lawful.
Appeals procedure for denial of promotion/credit
Appeals of the principal’s decision will be processed through the district’s administrative functions (area assistant superintendent, district superintendent, respectively) with the board of education being the final appeal step.
The tardy bell rings at 7:30 a.m. Students will not be allowed to enter the classroom after this bell without a pass from the office. If the tardy bell rings while the student is walking down the hall, he/she should return to the office for a pass.
After ten (10) tardies, the student’s parents will be called for a conference and the student can be denied perfect attendance privileges. Excessive tardiness is considered a truancy act and will be reported to the District Pupil Personnel Office. Students who arrive on a late bus will not be counted tardy.
Students who have perfect attendance will be entered into a drawing at the end of the year. Any student who has more than 1 unexcused tardy per 9 weeks will not be eligible for the drawing.
Absences and Makeup Work
Within five days of a student’s return to school, students are expected to schedule with their teachers makeup of all work missed as a result of absences from school. A student absent from class for any reason is responsible for all work missed.
If you want to pick up assignments for a student who is absent from school, call the office before 11:00 a.m. to let teachers know that you will be picking up assignments at dismissal time. Books and assignments may be picked up in the office at 2:30. Do not go directly to the classroom during school hours, as classes should not be interrupted. The assignments may be picked up until 4:00 p.m. in the office.