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Policy 9010 - Attendance

The purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for student attendance, guidelines for attendance monitoring and recording, and procedures for supporting chronically absent and habitually truant students.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is committed to ensuring that a quality education is provided for each student who is enrolled in the school system. The Board recognizes that students are required to be in school or to be attending a school-related activity each day school is in session and that there is a strong correlation among regular attendance, academic achievement, and the completion of school. The Board of Education further believes that regular attendance is vital to ensuring that students become productive members of society.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for student attendance, guidelines for attendance monitoring and recording, and procedures for supporting chronically absent and habitually truant students.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Absence – The failure of a student to be physically present in school/class or at a school-related activity during the school day.

  2. Attendance – The act of being physically present at school or school-related activities during the school day.

  3. Attendance Source Documents – Electronic records that are maintained by classroom teacher, homeroom teacher, substitute or other staff member that document the student’s attendance.

  4. Chronically Absent – A year-to-date absence rate of 10% or more, including both lawful and unlawful absences.

  5. Exemplary Attendance – A final attendance rate of 96% or more of the student year with no unlawful absences.

  6. Habitual Truant – A student who met ALL of the following criteria during the school year:

    1. The student was age 5 through 20

    2. The student was enrolled in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) for 91 or more days

    3. The student was unlawfully absent for 20% or more of the days of enrollment.

  7. Lawful Absence – An excused absence for any portion of the day under the following conditions:

    1. Death in the immediate family

    2. Illness of the student

    3. Pregnancy and parenting needs

    4. Court summons

    5. Hazardous weather conditions

    6. Work approved or sponsored by the school

    7. Observance of a religious holiday

    8. State emergency

    9. Suspension

    10. Lack of authorized transportation

    11. Other emergency or set of circumstances which, in the judgment of the Superintendent or designee, constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence from school.

  8. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101(c) (Informal Kinship Care) or has been issued a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Verification of Release form entering into a custodial arrangement with the federal government.

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a State agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article §5-507.

  9. School-Related Activity – Any school system activity, whether held on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g., school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being there (e.g., spectator at a school event).

  10. Truant – A student who is absent for a day or any portion of a day for any reason other than those cited as lawful in COMAR 13A.08.01.03 and/or failure to bring a note written by a parent to verify a lawful absence.

  11. Unlawful Absence – An unexcused absence, including absence for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed as unlawful and may constitute truancy. Students unlawfully absent are considered truant. (COMAR 13A.08.01.04).

IV. Standards

  1. Annual Notification

    Attendance guidelines will be communicated annually to all students, parents, and staff.

  2. Attendance Expectations

    All students are expected to attend school regularly in accordance with state law and regulation and this policy and may be excused from class or school only for reasons as specified in state law and regulation and this policy.

  3. Denial of Credit

    Any high school student with absences constituting five percent (5%) of a semester or a yearlong course will be considered for denial of credit.

  4. Discipline

    Disciplinary consequences for unlawful/unexcused absences will be applied as outlined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. Students cannot be suspended or expelled solely for attendance-related offences.

  5. Entry/Exit

    For enrollment purposes, students will be entered and exited using the procedures outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  6. Exemplary Attendance

    Schools will recognize students with exemplary attendance.

  7. Make-up Work

    1. A student may make up work missed due to lawful absence and receive a recorded grade in accordance with Policy 8010 - Grading and Reporting: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade 8 and Policy 8020 - Grading and Reporting: High School.

    2. A pregnant and parenting student may choose one of the following alternatives to make up work that the student missed:

      1. Retake a semester;

      2. Participate in an online course credit recovery program; or

      3. Allow the student six weeks to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date.

  8. Monitoring of Attendance

    Teachers will maintain daily/period attendance records for all students.

  9. Retention of Attendance Source Documents

    Attendance source documents will be retained in accordance with guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  10. Support for Students

    Supports and interventions will be provided through school problem-solving teams for students who are chronically absent and/or habitually truant.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will monitor standards and procedures related to attendance as set forth in state law and policy.

  2. Principals will inform students, staff, and parents annually of the provisions of this policy.

  3. High school principals will make determinations regarding denial of credit.

  4. Principals will assign and oversee personnel to monitor the recording of daily/period attendance, report student absences (lawful and unlawful), and enter and withdraw of students for purposes of enrollment.

  5. Teachers will maintain daily/period attendance electronically in accordance with guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  6. The Technology Department will retain attendance source documents in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  7. Teachers will provide make-up work for students who are lawfully absent.

  8. Students will be in school or attend a school-related activity each day school is in session.

  9. Students will make up work when they are absent.

  10. School-based problem solving teams will develop interventions and provide support to students who are chronically absent or habitually truant.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §§7-301 through 7-305

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.02, Age for School Attendance

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.03, Lawful Absence

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.04, Unlawful Absence

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: April 23, 1992

REVIEWED: July 1, 2012

MODIFIED:

  • September 19, 2017

  • January 10, 2019

REVISED:

  • June 10, 1999

  • June 21, 2005

  • October 27, 2005

  • June 20, 2006

  • July 14, 2011

EFFECTIVE: January 10, 2019