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Attendance Information

Regular attendance is a key to school success. Whittier's students can learn only if they are on time and present in all classes daily. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that states, school districts and schools be held accountable for ensuring that all students meet high academic standards. On time, daily attendance is a critical component of this educational process.

When your student is absent from school for any reason, please call the Whittier Elementary School Attendance Line at 255-2008 and select option 2. State your student’s name, your name, the date of the absence, and the reason for the absence. Please report all absences to the attendance line no later than 9:30 a.m. on the day of the absence.

ATTENDANCE POLICY

Teachers will take attendance by class period for each instruction day. 
• A parent/guardian must notify the school that the student will be absent in accordance with the notification procedure established by the school.
• A parent/guardian must notify the school each day that a student is signing out before the end of the instructional day in accordance with the notification procedure established by the school officials. 

Absences may be excused for the following reasons with appropriate documentation:
o Illness (including chronic illness documented on a health plan, IEP or 504 plan)
o Limited family emergencies; family deaths
o Medical, health or legal appointments
o Suspensions
o Religious commitment
o College visit
o Deployment of a military parent as defined in the “Military Children” procedural directive
o Limited extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the school principal

All absences for other reasons are unexcused including:
o Non-school sponsored activities or trips
o Family vacations outside of the normally scheduled school breaks

New Mexico State Law dictates that:
• Students between the ages of 5 and 18 years of age are mandated to attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution.
• Schools will provide intervention strategies that focus on keeping students in school.
• Habitual truants are reported to appropriate authorities such as the APS Attendance Office, CYFD staff, Juvenile Probation & Parole, District Attorney, Truancy Court, and the State of New Mexico.
• Consequences in New Mexico law include: license revocation, fines, and loss of New Mexico Works Program monetary assistance.
• Students receiving financial assistance from the New Mexico Works program must comply with school attendance requirements, or the student’s financial assistance may be removed.

It is understood that sometimes families may need support to help their child be successful. School staff can assist with locating possible resources within the school community.

• In APS, a student is considered “a student in need of early intervention” (truant) at five (5) unexcused absences and a habitual truant at ten (10) unexcused absences in a year.
• School staff will make an attempt to contact the parent/guardian if the school has not received notification of absences by a parent for three (3) consecutive days.
• Principals may request additional documentation for excessive excused absences.

MAKE-UP WORK
• Students may complete work for all excused and for up to 10 unexcused absences.
• Once a student is identified as a habitual truant (10 unexcused full day absences) make-up work may be provided for the student unless the principal and teacher determine otherwise based on the data provided.
• On the first day back to a class, students are responsible for requesting make-up assignments. Failure to complete make-up work in the time allowed may place students at risk of not earning class credits.
• Students will have the opportunity to complete the work in a period of time equal to the number of days absent unless other arrangements have been mutually agreed upon by the student and the teacher.
• Teachers may need 24 hours from the time of the request to compile assignments.
• It is expected that students will take semester finals on the days that they are scheduled. Students will be permitted to make up finals if they are missed due to an excused absence as listed in this handbook. Requesting permission to take a final exam early is discouraged.  Approval of such a request will rest with the teacher in consultation with the principal.

EXCESSIVE ABSENCES
• Schools will identify and provide intervention strategies for students with unexcused absences.
• School-related activities taking students out of school are not included when evaluating
excessive absences. A student is not allowed more than ten (10) school-related absences per class per semester.
• State law requires schools to withdraw a student after ten (10) consecutive days of absence, but
only after the school has exhausted its efforts to keep the student in an educational setting
through a variety of interventions.
• Schools may not use out of school suspension or expulsion as punishment for truancy.
Interventions for Students with Excessive Absences
Unexcused Full Day Absences 2 5 10 10+
Parent/Guardian Contact • • • •
School Interventions and Strategies • • • •
Written Notice to Parents from District •
Phone Call to Parent from District • •
Parent & Student Conference with School Staff • •
Referral to District Attendance Office • •
Community Truancy Crisis Team Intervention • •
Students who miss more than ½ of their school day are considered absent a full day.
TARDY
• Students who are tardy for class receive consequences according to district guidelines adopted
by each school.
• Consequences for being tardy will be determined by the school administration. Examples of
consequences include time in an alternative academic or community service setting (i.e. lunch,
recess, after school, Saturday school)
• Secondary students who miss more than 50% of the class period are considered absent. If
excused, parents must notify the school in accordance with the notification procedure
established by the school.