South Harrison Community School Corporation adopted a new attendance effective the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year. While there have been a few changes, this has all been predicated upon our belief in the value of the education students receive at our schools and the importance of our students being at school. Additionally, as our curriculum evolves based on our student needs and the community and world in which we live, students are much more engaged in the learning process with hands-on learning activities and a demand to interact and work in teams to solve challenging problems. Therefore, each year it becomes more imperative that students be at school to be an active, integral component of the learning.
We appreciate all of the support on our recognition that students have good attendance and to make changes to improve our attendance. Below you will find our Attendance Guidelines as well as some answers to Frequently Asked Questions that have been posed. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to email the address at the bottom of the page or ask your school principal. Either way, we will get an answer to you as soon as possible.
I. ATTENDANCE GUIDELINES
The School Board requires all students enrolled in the schools of this Corporation to attend school regularly in accordance with the laws of the State and Adequate Yearly Progress criteria in No Child Left Behind. The Corporation’s educational program is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation. The regular contact of students with one another in the classroom and their participation in a well-planned instructional activity under the tutelage of a competent teacher are vital to this purpose.
Excused absences are:
A. verified illness of the student,
B. medical and dental appointment,
C. death in the family,
D. exclusion because of exposure to a contagious disease,
E. court appointment,
F. and religious instruction up to 120 minutes per week.
These absences are excused only when accompanied by a note from the appropriate professional/official. While a note is necessary to ensure a student is not considered truant, a parent note will not be considered an excused absence. Every effort should be made by the parent or adult student to schedule routine medical and dental appointments and procedures outside of the school day as all student absences take the student from the instructional activities hindering a student’s chances to demonstrate Indiana Academic Standards and obtaining post secondary opportunities.
The student’s grade or formal academic assessment in any course or class is based on his/her performance in the instructional setting and is not reduced for reasons of conduct. If a student violates the attendance or other rules of the school, s/he should be disciplined appropriately for the misconduct, but his/her grades or academic assessments will be based upon what the student can demonstrate s/he has learned.
The Corporation recognizes that there is a direct relationship between poor attendance and class failure. Student who have good attendance generally achieve greater academic success, enjoy school more, and are more employable after leaving school. All students are expected to attend school regularly and to be on time to school and/or classes to benefit maximally from the instructional program while developing life skills of punctuality, self-discipline and responsibility.
The number of absences of a student will be limited to five (5) days per semester. During each semester:
A. After three (3) unexcused absences, the parents or legal guardian will receive a letter outlining the absences and explaining any pertinent district policies and/or guidelines.
B. After five (5) unexcused absences from school, or from any class or class period, a student may be subject to consequences and disciplinary actions.
C. After six (6) unexcused absences, Juvenile Probation and/or the Indiana Department of Child Services will be notified.
Parents and/or the administration may request a conference at any time concerning absences and actions/steps taken due to absences.
Attendance will be taken and recorded each period of the school day.
Exceptions to absence in which the student is to be recorded as being in attendance on school records are:
A. Service as a page for the Indiana General assembly. For each day of page service, verified by a certificate from the Secretary of the Senate or the chief clerk of the House of Representatives, a student shall be recorded as being in attendance at his/her school.
B. Serving on the precinct election board or as a helper to a political candidate or to a political party on the date of each general, city, or town special and primary election at which s/he works. Prior to the election, the student must present a document signed by one (1) of his/her parents or guardians giving him/her permission to participate in the election, and then submitting a document by candidate, political party chairman campaign manager, or precinct officer. Students excused for work at elections shall be counted as present in school.
C. A student who is issued a subpoena to appear in court as a witness in a judicial proceeding, or whose presence has been requested by probation or any judicial office, shall not be recorded as absent on any date for which the excuse is operative.
D. Students who are called to active duty in the Indiana National Guard. E. Students who qualify for physical/mental incapacity.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why have attendance guidelines changed at South Harrison?
The guidelines have been changed in an attempt to improve student attendance within South Harrison Community School Corporation (SHCSC). While the Corporation realizes there may be legitimate times when a student cannot attend school; the new policy has been adopted to improve the overall attendance rate of our students. This has been done, in part, because of the direct relationship between poor attendance and class failure. Students who have good attendance generally achieve greater academic success, enjoy school more, and are more employable after leaving school.
Are students punished “academically” for an unexcused absence?
No. Any student who is absent is allowed to make up any and all work (including tests and other assignments) that a student with an excused absence can make up. No longer are students given “zeros” or failing grades on assignments because they were absent from school. This change has been made because the Corporation believes that while missing school may have an indirect impact on a student’s learning, our schools should not support practices that punish our students academically for not being here.
Do absences really impact a child’s academic performance?
A student’s grade or formal academic assessment is based on his or her performance in the instructional setting and is NOT reduced for reasons of conduct or absences. Although a student who violates the attendance policy may be disciplined according to the policy, the student will not have his or her grades lowered. However, nothing can replace the time spent at school learning. For that reason, it is often believed that there is a direct correlation between attendance and academic performance.
What constitutes an “excused” absence?
An absence is “excused” when accompanied by a note from an appropriate professional or official. Additionally, an absence is “excused” when a student has a death in the family or court appointment. A student is technically provided an unlimited number of excused absences during a semester. That being said, the Corporation strongly stresses the importance of having students at school whenever possible.
What constitutes an “unexcused” absence?
An unexcused absence is any absence from school not accompanied by a note as described above. While parent notes are defined as “unexcused”, please note that a child may make up all work. Therefore, a student is technically afforded 5 unexcused days before any action is taken. Again, it is our hope that after 5 days of absences in a semester, a parent or guardian will make every effort for future absences to fall within the excused absence definition. Parent notes may be classified as an “unexcused” absence, however, they are important in allowing the Corporation to ensure that a student’s absence is not a “truancy”. A truancy is defined by the Corporation as “any absence from an individual class or the school building not verified by a parent/guardian….” Please understand that the consequences for a truancy vary greatly from those of an excused or unexcused absence.
Are vacations considered excused or unexcused absences?
Unexcused. Many have asked about this question as they may have had vacations classified as excused in the past. While vacations may have educational components, SHCSC believes that these experiences should occur, if at all possible, outside of school time. Additionally, our current calendar permits ample time off in the fall, winter, spring, and summer for vacations. For no matter how educational a vacation is, it is difficult to imagine them replacing the experiences and learning that would have occurred in the classroom during this time.
If you have a question or clarification on our attendance policy that you would like answered, please email and we will answer your question. Thank you.