When your child is absent from school (i.e. illness, late due to an appointment), please remember to call us. To ensure that our students are safe, the office staff will be contacting families, at home or work, when we do not receive a call. Messages can be left on our 24 hour voicemail any time of the day or night. Please call the attendance line by 8:30 a.m. at 333-6701. When your child returns to school, a note needs to be sent to the office, indicating the nature of the absence. Students must report to the office for a pass if, for any reason, they arrive at school after the 8:15 a.m. bell. The Faribault Public Schools (FPS) Board believes that school attendance is important. Educators and parents must work together to prepare students to earn a living and to function as informed, critical citizens in a democratic and globalized society. The stakes are high. Regular attendance at school maximizes learning for all students. FPS has designed programs to support families and children in keeping children in school and combating truancy and educational neglect. It is the district’s obligation to have systems in place to work with children and families when children do not attend school.
Important Attendance Information (Please Read)
Who is required to attend school?
Minnesota law requires that every child between seven and 17 years of age must receive instruction (Minn. Stat. 120A.22, Subd 5). Once a child under the age of seven is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade in public school, the child is subject to compulsory attendance provisions.
What is a tardy?
A tardy is any time a student arrives to class after the bell. At the beginning of the day, a student who arrives within the first 25 minutes of the school day will be marked tardy. After 25 minutes the student will be marked absent.
What is an excused absence? (per School Board policy 503)
An excused absence is any absence that is reported by a parent or guardian to be due to:
1. Medical Illness. *
2. Serious illness in the student’s immediate family.
3. A death or funeral in the student’s immediate family or of a close friend or relative.
4. Medical, dental, or orthodontic treatment, or a counseling appointment.
5. Court appearances occasioned by family or personal action.
6. Religious instruction.
7. Official school field trip or other school-sponsored outing.
8. Removal of a student pursuant to a suspension.
9. Family emergencies.
10. Administrative pre-approved absences.
* A doctor’s note may be required for absences due to illness that exceed four (4) consecutive day. What is an unexcused absence? (per School Board policy 503) An unexcused absence is any absence that does not meet the definition of excused absence. For example, 1. Leaving school without permission. 2. Any absence that does not meet the criteria specified in an excused absence.
What about family vacations?
Family vacations may be deemed as excused with prior authorization from the building administrator. Authorization forms need to be completed by the student’s parent/guardian at least two weeks before the intended vacation. Administrators will review student progress and attendance before approving the absences. Parents may be requested to meet with Administrators prior to approval. Vacations not approved will be considered unexcused absences. Students whose absences are excused are required to make up all assignments missed or to complete alternative assignments as deemed appropriate by the classroom teacher. 6 Work missed because of absence must be made up according to school guidelines. Any work not completed within this period shall result in “no credit” for the missed assignment. However, the building principal or the classroom teacher may extend the time allowed for completion of make-up work in the case of an extended illness or other extenuating circumstances. If a student misses fifteen (15) consecutive school days during the regular school year, without receiving instruction in the home or hospital setting, the School District must drop the student from its enrollment roll and classify the student as withdrawn. (Minn. Stat. 126C.05, Subd. 8). The School District may also be required to file an Educational Neglect or Truancy report with the student’s county of residence.
What are the parent/guardian's’ responsibilities?
Parents of a school aged children are responsible for assuring that their child attends school. Parents are required to report absences to the school as soon as they know that their child is not going to be in school on a particular day.
What is truancy? (Minn. Stat. 260C.007, Subd 19)
“Habitual truant” means a child under the age of 17 years who is absent from school without excuse for seven school days if the child is in elementary school or for one or more class periods on seven school days if the child is in middle school or high school or a child who is 16 or 17 years of age who is absent from school for one or more class periods on seven school days and who has not lawfully withdrawn from school.
What is Educational Neglect?
Educational neglect refers to a child under the age of 12 years who is absent from school without excuse for more than seven school days and is in need of protection or services due to habitual truancy. For students under the age of 12 years, an absence from school without excuse is considered educational neglect by the parent rather than truancy by the child.
How will the district notify me if my child is absent from school?
Parents are expected to notify the school when their child will not be in school for any reason. When parents do not notify the school, the schools have procedures in place for notifying parents of student absences on the same day they are absent from school.
What is the procedure for Unexcused Absences?
Step 1: Parents report absences to the school attendance line if a student will be absent from school. If the parent does not notify the school the parents will be notified by the school on the day of the absence. An absence is considered unexcused until the parent has provided an explanation that meets the requirements of an excused absence.
Step 2: When a student has three unexcused absences a letter is sent to the parents notifying them of their child's attendance and the consequences of continued unexcused absences.
Step 3: After the fifth unexcused absence a second letter is sent to the parent/guardian. A phone contact is made by the School Social Worker/School Counselor to arrange a School Attendance Agreement meeting. The school may implement a number of interventions or impose a number of consequences as part of the School Attendance Agreement.
Step 4: Once the student reaches seven unexcused absence a final letter is sent to the parent/guardian notifying them that the student is considered habitual truant and the possible consequences of continued unexcused absences.
Step 5: Any further unexcused absences may result in an educational neglect report to the student's home county or a referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) to discuss possible filing of truancy petition with the court.
What is the procedure for Excused Absences?
Step 1: The parent/guardian reports absences to the school attendance line if a student will be absent from school. If the parent/guardian does not notify the school, the parent/guardian will be notified by the school on the day of the absence. An absence is considered unexcused until the parent/guardian has provided an explanation that meets the requirements of an excused absence.
Step 2: When a student has seven excused absences a letter is sent home to parents/guardian notifying them about their student's attendance and concerns about continued absences which may lead to requiring a doctor's note in order to excuse the student from school. 7
Step 3: When a student has eleven*** excused absences a letter is sent notifying the parent/guardian that a doctor's note may be required in order to excuse further absences. If the parent/guardian is unable to take the student to the doctor, the school nurse may be used to assess whether a child should attend school or remain home. If no doctor's note is not obtained the absence will be considered unexcused and the unexcused absence procedure will be followed.
*** Individual circumstances will be considered in regards to number of days missed and the need to require a doctor's excuse.