Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy

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Policy Selection

I chose the Attendance Policy, because Dyett High School continues to struggle with their monthly attendance percent and their selection of students they are regulating via
regular school attendance is vitally important to a student??™s academic achievement, so it is important that staff, parents and students be familiar with Dyett High School Attendance Policy. Beginning this school year, students are more aware that make-up work for credit and grade will be allowed for all excused absences, including suspensions. In the case of a suspension, it is the student??™s responsibility to obtain and complete assignments. All work is due on the day the student returns to school.

The purpose of Dyett High School Attendance Policy is to ensure the maintenance of an adequate record of verifying the attendance of all students during the days of instruction and to establish a mechanism by which the patterns of student??™s absence can be examined to develop effective intervention strategies.

To implement a successful attendance policy, Dyett will need the cooperation of all members of the educational community, including parents, students, teachers, administrators, and support staff. Through the implementation of this policy Dyett High School expects to reduce the current level of unexcused absences, lateness and early dismissals.

Attendance Policy

Policy History and Background

Attendance is a national and state level initiative that recognizes the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success. It aims to reduce chronic absence starting as soon as children enter school. Dyett High School along with the Chicago Public School Guidelines communicates the initiative with three key objectives to maintain a positive attendance percentage. First would be to build public awareness and political will about the need to address chronic absence. This includes extensive media outreach as well as working with key national organizations to spread the word and explore the role federal government can play. Secondly, foster state campaigns by developing coalitions to advocate for reform and by exploring policy opportunities that would promote the tracking and reporting of attendance for individual students in schools and on longitudinal data bases. Finally schools should encourage local practice by providing technical assistance and tools to help school districts track, report and act on chronic absence. This includes creating peer learning networks and tapping resources in state and national organizations.

Although the Illinois School Code mandates parent/guardians enroll and ensure attendance of their children in a public or private school, non-compliance by the parent/guardian is not considered negligence and therefore not prosecutable. Schools must motivate and engage parent/guardians to become a stake-holder in their child??™s education. Parent/guardians need to understand and embrace the unique and interrelated
Attendance Policy
roles of the home, school and community on student behavior and academic performance; truancy and its impact on academic achievement; and the need for all parties to create a seamless support system of partners that can make better student development and learning possible.
The School Code of Illinois, Section 26-1 states: Whoever has custody of any child between the ages of seven and sixteen years shall cause such child to attend some public school in the district wherein the child resides the entire time it is in session during the regular school term. Responsibility for regular school attendance lies with the student and parent/ guardian. The State Compulsory Attendance Law states that the parent is obligated to see that the student is in school.
What does this mean for schools It means if the American Daily Attendance rate falls below 97 percent, as it does on many campuses, school officials need to dig deeper into the data to see how many students are chronically absent, what patterns emerge and what sort of interventions would bring students back to school. Too much chronic absenteeism can not only drag achievement for the missing students but slow down instruction for the whole class. And in Chicago that base school funding on attendance, absenteeism can cost schools money. A high chronic absence rate may signal systemic problems in the building, such as a negative school climate, ineffective discipline practices or chaotic classrooms. Or there may be community and family challenges, such as a lack of access to health care, unreliable transportation, high levels of violence or unaffordable housing.

Attendance Policy

Gap Analysis

Each absence, late and early dismissal will be recorded as excused or unexcused along with a code noting specific reason for absence. Excused absences will be defined as:
An absence due to personal illness, illness or death in the immediate family, and the observance of religious holiday. All other absences, lateness, or early dismissals will be considered unexcused.

Attendance will be taken during each class period, including division/homeroom and compiled via IMPACT. Teachers are responsible for inputting class absence daily.
Any student absent from school upon the student??™s return to school must provide a written excuse for their absence. The written note should include student??™s name, date of absence, reason for the absence, and parent??™s signature. This note should be given to the Attendance Office, when he/she returns to school and before the student??™s first period class. Each day a student is absent a phone call from the school is sent out via a telephone system called SAMAPER; however, all absences will be recorded as unexcused until a written note is received. All disciplinary actions per student will be communicated through designated office personnel to address attendance procedures.

Communication with parents will be verbal (via telephone) and face-to-face if possible. Home visits as necessary will also take place to communicate with parents. A letter will
Attendance Policy

be the final resort if verbal communication is unsuccessful. Teachers are required to contact parents and attendance office if a student misses two to three days of class or develops a pattern of absences. Teachers will submit call logs of parent contacts to the Attendance Office. The call logs will be made available to administrators. Attendance reports are distributed daily to administrators for early intervention with unexcused or excessive absences.

Therefore, when a student reaches 3 absences during the semester, the teacher for that class will call the parent and discuss an intervention, but if cutting is the cause of absence an In-School Suspension will be allocated. When the student reaches 5 absences, the
Attendance Office must mail a warning letter to the parent or guardian, for a meeting at the school to discuss intervention. When the student reaches 10 unexcused absences, the Attendance Office must mail a certified letter to the parent or guardian, for a meeting at the school to develop a plan for interventions with an outside agency ??“ Knock at Midnight. When the student reaches 18 unexcused absences, the Attendance Office will begin the process of eliminating the student from the schools rooster as a lost child and he will be drop from the enrollment.

It is the commitment of Dyett High School to ensure each student is successful in reaching his/her full academic and personal potential. Through education, this outcome can be achieved. However, it requires students to be at school every day, on time and
Attendance Policy

ready to learn. With the support of our students and families, the 2011-2012 Attendance Policy will assist Dyetts students in being successful. It will take the entire staff at Dyett High School to support the importance of education and stress the need to be at school every day.

Action Plan

In every letter to a student??™s parent(s), a request will be made for the parent to meet with the child??™s counselor. The impact of excessive absences on the student??™s education, possible intervention strategies to eliminate the problem, and the consequences associated with the student??™s absenteeism will be discussed. When contact between the parent(s) and the school is made, the school will have an outside agency (Knock at Midnight) for additional support in addressing the attendance problem. The prime responsibility for the student??™s attendance in class rests with the student.

Therefore, the first plan of action is meetings with parents to discuss strategies for improving student attendance. As well as develop a plan for possible solutions including community support services ??“ ???Grand Boulevard Federation??™s???, Co-Co Community Services; develop a plan for possible solutions within the school for student support ??“ Male and Female mentoring encounters. Finally developing a plan for possible solutions within the classroom for educational support ??“ ???Socratic Learning???, ???Aim High???, ???Failure Free Reading???, and ???Cambridge??? are some of the rigor areas that are being
Attendance Policy

implemented. When Dyett implement this action plan this will resolve issues that interfere with school attendance. The ???whole child??? (achievement, behavior, family issues, social/emotional development, health, etc.) was considered when developing this action plan.

There will also be an area of incentive as the action plan provide for an increase in attendance percentage as students are more likely to participate in strategies with a higher potential if given items of interest as rewards for participation. Good attendance pays, poor attendance costs, sometimes more than we thought possible. Parents who have tough and consistent expectations for school attendance reap the rewards of graduation and watching their sons and daughters experience success in life. Students who average between 10 and 29 unexcused absences per school year will be more likely to receive failing grades in one or more classes, become involved with disruptive incidences at school, are at a higher risk of suspension and expulsion, and may become involved with truant behavior.

Therefore, incentives encourage better attendance, including an increase in average of grades per class. Incentives are important in establishing lifelong habits that one day may provide a scholarship due to hard work and focus. Some incentives that are given will provide a value, and it will make students want to come to school every day. Dyetts

Attendance Policy

incentive selections will vary from MP3 players, CD players, Movie tickets, and McDonald??™s gift card to Movie Day at Dyett.

Dyett??™s Attendance Action Plan will target a four (4) percent increase in the 2nd Semester of 2011-2012 Average Daily Attendance Rate. This will increase the 2011-2012 average of 66% to 70%. Through the use of preventive strategies Dyett will strive to have 60% -70% of their students having no more than 10 unexcused absences. With targeted intervention strategies in place, 10% – 20% of Dyett??™s student will have no more than 15 unexcused absences. Less than 10% of Dyetts students will then require more intensive intervention strategies.

Reflection

I believe that once any school learns that a combination of early intervention, family involvement, cooperation with the community and take a positive approach to the environmental class of students that are in the school will curb truancy. It is important to recognize the early signs of trouble and to develop proactive interventions. Encouraging students and their families to do better is a critical part of this process; it takes their work as well to prevent truancy.

Early exposure to the issues of students not attending school on a daily basis and understanding that students within their schools environment are exposed to many
Attendance Policy

negative things in their environment; especially when gangs are present, putting them at a higher risk for gang involvement themselves. Communities with large numbers of low income families often have high rates of gang activity therefore, students are more likely to participate in gang activities then attend school. Parents who have poor communication skills, past gang involvement, poor parenting skills, drug problems contribute to the challenges of their child being in school. In addition, when families do not value the importance of an education, commitment to school may not be important to them. Also, when parents have a limited educational background, children are often not prepared for school.

Regular attendance and punctuality are of the utmost importance for academic achievement. Students are expected to attend school each day and be on time. When a student is not in school, it is recorded as an absence. It is the responsibility of parents, students, classroom teachers, and school administrators to ensure that a student is in attendance. It is important for a child to be in school, therefore, the environment outside the school need to be addressing early and appropriate interventions put in place to prevent truancy and keep the attention of every student focus on academic success.

As Dyett continues to struggle with their attendance rate due to lack of implementing interventions in a timely manner and communicating with parents as an ongoing process, truancy and low academic achievement has eventually made the school status to “Phasing
Attendance Policy

Out”, in which no new students will be enrolled in the school. That being the status of the school for the next two (2) years, hopefully they will implement positive strategies to increase attendance with the students enrolled now.

Attendance Policy

References

CPS Policy Handbook.
www.cps.edu.il.k12

Dyett Attendance Plan
www.cps.edu/Dyett

Board of Education Improves New Performance Plan. www.chitowndailynews.org/Chicago_news/Board_of_Education

U.S. Department of Education
www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education

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