DISTRICT ATTENDANCE POLICY
Upper Merion Area School District believes that in order for students to realize the opportunities and benefits from school, they must be in attendance. Furthermore, we believe that families are a key factor in ensuring that students attend school every day. This policy will allow families and schools to develop a collective approach to ensure that students attend school and benefit from their education.
The student school day begins at 7:35 a.m. and ends at 2:21 p.m. Students who walk to school should plan to arrive between 7:20 and 7:30. Bus students should be at their stop ten minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. ONCE THE STUDENT ARRIVES ON SCHOOL PROPERTY, THE STUDENT IS NOT PERMITTED TO LEAVE SCHOOL PROPERTY. Students may not leave the school building after they arrive, whether the school day has begun or not, until after 2:21 or until they are properly dismissed. Students who arrive by bus must enter the building immediately and remain. Walkers may not leave the building after they enter, nor leave school grounds after they arrive. Students who take the bus may not leave school grounds between 2:21 and 2:30 when the buses leave. Students who violate these rules will be subject to reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, and will be deemed to have consented to be searched. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
Frequently used terms:
- Compulsory School Age: under 17 years old
- Unlawful (UL): refers to absences of students who are of compulsory school age (under 17.)
- Unexcused (UX): refers to absences of any students who are NOT of compulsory school age (over 17.)
- Excused (EX): refers to absences of any students who have handed in permission notes from parents/guardians within three (3) days of the absence.
- CMTHS: Central Montgomery County Technical High School (Tech School)
- Students who are absent must bring in a note signed by a parent/guardian within three (3) school days upon their return to school and turn it in to the attendance office. Absence notes cannot be accepted after three (3) school days of the student's return. The legally accepted reasons for absences are described below.
- Until the note is turned in, the absence is considered UL or UX. When the note is handed in, the absence is changed to EX and students will receive an "Excused Absence Pass" to show to teachers, which will allow missed work to be made up.
- Parents and/or guardians will be sent a letter after each of the first three (3) unlawful absences.
- After the third (3rd) letter for unlawful absences, a meeting will be scheduled with the parents/guardians to develop a School Attendance Improvement Plan.
- When a student of compulsory school age has accumulated six (6) unlawful absences, the principal will send a letter by registered mail and/or first class mail advising that a criminal complaint will be lodged with District Court without further notice.
- Students who accumulate over 15 absences excused or unexcused, must bring in a note from a doctor for any subsequent absences.
- Students who know in advance that they will be absent may bring in a note prior to the day of the absence. This will be an Excused Absence (EX) as long as the reasoning for the absence is legitimate (ex: funeral, college visit, etc.)
- Educational Trips/Family Travel: Students who plan on going on vacation during the school year must first get approval from their assistant principal. Only five (5) days per year shall be considered for educational trips. Parents/guardians must fill out Educational Trip Request Form at least two (2) weeks in advance of the trip, explaining the educational value of the trip.All school work and tests shall be made up at the initiation of the student and reasonable convenience of the teacher.
- CMTHS students are required to sign in at the Attendance Office upon arrival to the High School for the AM Tech session. Students who attend the PM Tech session will be dismissed from the HS at 11:25 a.m.
- CMTHS students must provide both UMAHS and CMTHS attendance office notes for absences and latenesses/tardies.
Lateness / Tardy
- Students are considered late / tardy if they do not arrive in Homeroom by 7:35 a.m.
- Students who are late / tardy must bring in a note signed by a parent/guardian within three (3) school days of the day of their lateness and turn it in to the attendance office. The legally accepted reasons for absences are described below.
- Unexcused lateness / tardiness will result in after school detention if the student’s lateness is over 45 minutes, a combination of latenesses greater than 45 minutes, or the student has 4 unexcused latenesses.
- Students who have accumulated 15 or more latenesses, excused or unexcused, will be required to obtain medical verification for each subsequent lateness to be excused.
Acceptable Reasons for Absence and Lateness / Tardiness from School
- The Public School Code of Pennsylvania and the State Board Regulations include a number of specific reasons for which a child may be excused from school for all or part of a school day. These include:
- Observance of religious holidays.
- Religious Instruction - Excused absences for religious instruction are restricted by law to a maximum of 36 hours per school year.
- College visitations.
- Approved Educational or Family Travel. (see Educational Trip Request)
- Health Care- Absence for a portion of the school day may be excused for a medical or dental appointment which cannot be arranged after school hours when requested in writing by a parent/guardian. Verification of the appointment from the doctor's office, stating date, time, duration of visit and purpose of visit, will be required upon the student's return to school.
- Other examples of urgent reasons may include:
- Illness or recovery from an accident
- Quarantine of the home
- Death of an immediate family member (parent/guardian, sibling, grandparent)
- Family emergency (unavoidable)
Students are required to attend all classes and school appointments including lunch. Written tests are not the only measure of a student's performance; class participation is also an integral part of the learning experience. Students are evaluated on the basis of many activities that can be accomplished only in the classroom. For this reason, unlawful/unexcused absences or latenesses could result in the student's quarterly average being lowered. Students who are absent legally are still responsible for work missed. An assignment with a due date must be turned in on the due date, or on the first day the student returns after an excused absence, even if the excused absence(s) occur(s) between the day the assignment was issued and the due date. The same is true of tests or quizzes which are announced. These must be taken on the date announced or on the first day the student returns after an excused absence.
For work other than assignments with due dates, or other than announced tests and quizzes, students have the same number of days to make up for missed lessons and assignments as the duration of the absence. In cases of long term absence, students should confer with their teacher about make-up work. Students who know they will be absent at least three consecutive days may request homework assignments from the guidance counselor or attendance clerk. Requests require at least 24 hours for processing.
To benefit from the instructional program and to develop habits of self-discipline and responsibility, every student is required to attend all scheduled classes, study hall sessions and lunch. A student who willfully cuts classes or studies will not be dropped from the class or study hall. All report cards and transcripts will indicate that the student was enrolled in the particular class. Failure to meet requirements of the course will result in the grade of "F", with no credit earned. Furthermore, the student who cuts classes, study halls or lunch is subject to discipline as outlined in the discipline code of conduct.
- The conseqeunce for cutting class is an after-school detention. Progressive discipline practices will be followed after multiple class cuts, resulting in parent meetings and ISS.
- Leaving school without permission results in a Saturday detention.
A student requesting early dismissal shall present a written excuse to the attendance office with the date, time and reason, signed by the parent or guardian. A student will not be dismissed from class until the specified date and time. A parent/guardian must either contact the attendance office by telephone (for a student leaving in his/her own transportation) or in person to sign the student out.
On Prom Days (Junior/Senior), students attending the Prom must have an early dismissal note from a parent/guardian and may not leave prior to 12:41 pm.
When a student leaves any room during the day, he/she must have a valid pass signed by the teacher in charge of the instructional area or activity from which he/she was excused.
Passes should also list the name of the student, destination, date and time dismissed.
Students are not to remain in the building after 2:21 p.m. unless they are supervised by a teacher, sponsor or coach. Students who are not in the presence of an adult supervisor must have a permission slip to indicate their destinations and purposes. Students may not ride the late buses unless they have a bus pass. The Middle School building and grounds are always off-limits for high school students. High School students are never permitted to ride the Middle School bus.
Physical Education Excuses
An excuse for physical education for one day must be written by the parent or guardian and countersigned by the school nurse, for the class to be recorded as an excused absence. Students with a parent note countersigned by the nurse must attend class, but are not required to dress for class. Notes must be presented to the school nurse before school, during homeroom, or upon arrival from morning tech school classes.
A receipt for a bill from a doctor's office will not be accepted as an excuse for a student's absence/non-participation in class; a note from the doctor is the only acceptable document for a medical excuse.
Students who need to be excused for more than one day because of illness or injury must present a medical excuse to the school nurse and the physical education teacher. The medical excuse must be signed by a physician and include exact information on diagnosis, length of expected rehabilitation and instructions on limits of physical activities for the specific class. This excuse must be presented during the marking period in which the illness or injury occurs, and is filed with the student's health records. Copies are also sent to the counselor. Attendance in class is still mandatory. Students must continue to report to the instructor to work on assignments related to the class activities.