On November 3, 2016, Governor Wolf signed Act 138, new truancy legislation, into law. The purpose of the new law is to improve school attendance, deter truancy, and address attendance concerns as early as possible. At the district level, we have revised our attendance procedures to include increased communication with families and assist any families that may be struggling with chronic, unexcused absences.
Definition of truancy - The new law defines truancy as “three (3) or more school days of unexcused absences during the school year.” The law also requires schools to notify parents/guardians in writing within ten (10)
school days of the child’s third unexcused absence. The law also states that if the child continues to incur additional absences after this notice has been issued, the school must offer a student an attendance improvement conference.
Definition of habitual truancy - The new law defines habitually truant as “six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences.”
Specifically, Rochester Area School District will enforce the attendance laws as follows:
The Rochester Area School District’s automated call system will continue to use the phone number that you provided to the school to inform you of your student’s absences.
After three unexcused absences, we will notify parents/guardians in writing to inform them that their child has been “truant.”
After six unexcused absences, we will notify parents/guardians in writing to inform them that their child is habitually truant, will be required to attend a student attendance improvement conference, and may possibly be referred to the TIPS program.
The Rochester Area School District may file a citation against the student or parent with the Magistrate.
Important Parent Information
Please review the Rochester Area School District Student-Parent Handbook as it outlines the new law and attendance procedures in great detail.
Ten parent excused absences are permitted each school year. Please make sure to write parent excuses within three days of an absence.
Turn in all medical and dental excuses.
Check CSIU to review your child’s attendance record for discrepancies. It is helpful to check and make sure that absences have been turned into
the Attendance Office.
Overview of the 12/24 Attendance Policy for Middle/High School
The Principal will conduct conferences with parents, work with parents and students on a Student Attendance Improvement Plan (SAIP), and/or implement Truancy Intervention Plan (TIPS).
INTERVENTION/ CREDIT RECOVERY
Once a student has reached six (6) unexcused absences for the nine-weeks grading period, the teacher will notify the principals and guidance counselor via a Google form.
The principal/guidance counselor will notify the parent/guardian to discuss credit recovery for the student.
The student will be offered the opportunity to participate in an intervention credit recovery program that meets on Saturdays. In order to receive full credit, the student must participate in 4 three-hour sessions
that must be completed before the end of the next nine-weeks.
* Students, who elect to not participate in the intervention program, will receive a failing grade.
In order to participate in after school activities including, but not limited to practices, games, activities and performances, students must arrive by 9:00 a.m.
In order to participate in field trips or positive reward activities, students must not accumulate a total of six (6) or more unexcused absences and/or tardies per grading period.
In order to attend a middle/high school dance, students must not exceed the unexcused absence/tardies as listed below:
Homecoming – a combination of 6 unexcused absences and/or tardies
Christmas Dance – a combination of 12 unexcused absences and/or tardies
Winter Formal – a combination of 12 unexcused absences and/or tardies
Spring Dance – a combination of 18 unexcused absences and/or tardies
Prom – a combination of 18 unexcused absences and/or tardies.
EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
All absences, even those for which a parent writes an excuse, are counted in the 12/24 day rule. The only absences that do not count towards those totals are days missed due to extenuating circumstances such as the following:
1. Days missed due to out-of-school suspension.
2. Days missed while on field trips or school initiated activities.
3. Days missed when school bus transportation is unavailable and documented
by the office.
4. Days on homebound instruction or institutionalization.
Any student, who has a chronic medical condition or other serious problem, may submit documentation from their physician to the Attendance Secretary.
EXCUSED SCHOOL TARDIES
Excused tardies will be granted for the same reasons allowed for excused absences. All doctor’s excuses must include the doctor’s name and phone
number for verification. Exceptions will be made for students on a case-by-case basis with the principal’s approval.
UNEXCUSED SCHOOL TARDIES
If a student arrives to Homeroom/1st period AFTER 8:00 A.M., they will be counted as Tardy. If a student comes in AFTER the beginning of first lunch at 11:02 A.M., they will be counted as One-Half Day Absent. Exceptions will be made for students on a case-by-case basis with the principal’s approval.
1. STUDENT PROCEDURE- If a student arrives late to school; a security guard will give the student a late slip. The student must give the late slip to the classroom teacher. If a student is in the building but late to
homeroom/1st period, they must report to the high school office to receive an admittance to class slip.
2. CONSEQUENCES: Unexcused tardiness will be accumulated for participation in extracurricular activity; Excused tardiness will not.