Coles Elementary School Attendance Plan

According to Virginia Law Code 22.1-256 and Prince William County Public School regulation 724-1, all children of compulsory attendance age shall be expected to attend school each day that school is in session. Parents/Guardians are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school regularly. The following attendance plan has been established to make the stakeholders (teachers, parents, students, and staff) aware of the procedures that will be followed in maintaining Virginia Law and Prince William County Public School regulations regarding attendance, tardies and early dismissals.

A. General Information
a. School begins daily at 9:00 am and ends at 3:40 pm.
b. Students are expected to be in their classrooms and ready to begin their instructional day at 9:00 am.

B. Attendance Policy Absences

If a student does not come to school, they are considered absent. Absences are considered excused for the following reasons based on the Prince William County Regulation 724-1:

1. Personal illness of the student. A written note signed by the student’s medical provider certifying that the student has a bona fide medical reason for his/her absence, may be required by the school principal or his/her designee after a student has accrued 10 or more absences for the school year, and for every additional absence thereafter.

2. Medical and dental examination and/or treatment of the student when such appointments cannot be scheduled other than during school hours.

3. Death in the student’s immediate family (defined as father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister, spouse, son, daughter, or grandparent), not to exceed five consecutive days..

4. Religious, faith, or commemorative observances. Students will be allowed to make up any missed work and complete any missed assessments. Students will not be required to take missed assessments or turn in missed work the day after the absence for religious, faith, or commemorative observances. Teachers will work with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure that timely access is granted to missed assessments.
5. Parents/guardians retain the option of not permitting their child to attend school in circumstances when, in the judgment of the parent/guardian, the roads or walkways in their neighborhood are too hazardous to use. The parent/guardian shall give the school prior notice of such absence by electronic or telephone communication. In such cases, the student shall be given an excused absence, but shall be required to make up the work missed.
6. Students may be granted up to five days excused absence for the purpose of visiting with a parent/guardian who has been called to active duty, is on leave from this duty, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting. The student must satisfy the requirements for an excused preapproved absence as set forth below.

7. Preapproved absences are discouraged and will only be granted on a caseby-case basis by the principal or his/her designee. We encourage family trips to be scheduled during school holidays and over summer break. Absences for family trips will not be excused unless accompanied by extraordinary circumstances. A determination of whether extraordinary circumstances exist lies in the discretion of the principal, in collaboration with the Office of Student Services. Preapproved absences which become excessive in length may result in the absences being marked unexcused and a referral made to the attendance officer for compliance with the compulsory education laws. Preapproved absences that are extended by the student/parent/guardian beyond 15 school days will result in the withdrawal of the student from school in accordance with Virginia Department of Education regulation. In order for any preapproved absences to be classified as excused, the principal must be notified in writing of the request for preapproval, of the reason for the absence, and the duration of the absence within a reasonable time prior to the absence; Grades; and Attendance records.

8. Students experiencing homelessness, as defined in Regulation 718-1, “Students Experiencing Homelessness,” who are awaiting processing of a transportation request shall be considered excused. All other absences are considered unexcused. All unverified absences will become unexcused absences after three days if no written communication is received.

Parent Responsibilities:
• Call the Absentee Line (703-794-2311) and state the name of the student that will be absent, his/her homeroom teacher’s name, and reason for the absence.
 • Upon the student’s return to school, send a written notice regarding the student’s absence. Student Responsibilities
• To obtain and complete all missing assignments (both classwork and homework) within a timely fashion. (i.e. if you are absent one day, you have one day to complete your work. If you are absent two days, you have two days to complete your work, etc.)

Teacher Responsibilities:
 Mark the student’s absence in SMS.
• Contact parent about 3 unexcused absences and document contact in SMS.
• Teacher will collect missed work throughout the day to be completed for homework upon the students return. Teacher will NOT be expected to stop teaching class to collect homework for an absent child.
• Teacher discretion shall determine whether students shall make up work for approved prearranged absences. Attendance

Secretary Responsibilities:
 • Review messages on absentee line.
 • Mark all students excused or unexcused in SMS based on reason given for absence by 10 AM.
• SMS will call the number the parent/guardian provided as main number of contact as well as an email. School Counselor Responsibilities:
 • Once a student has missed 4 unexcused days, the counselor will meet with student.
• Once a student has missed 6 unexcused days, the counselor will meet for a second conference with student, parent and administrator.
• Once a student has missed 7+ unexcused days, the counselor will meet for an interagency meeting. Principal/Assistant

Principal Responsibilities:
• Sign attendance referrals for unexcused absences.
 • Establish initial conference to discuss attendance issues.
• The principal MAY require a doctor’s note after the student has accrued ten or more absences for the school year.

All students that arrive to school after 9:00 AM are considered tardy and must be accompanied by an adult to the office to be signed in. The student will be given a tardy pass, noting the reason for the tardy, whether it is excused or unexcused, and escorted to his/her classroom.
An excused tardy is one for the following reasons as it states in Prince William County Regulation 724-1:
1. All items for excusing absences as listed above.
2. Emergency situations arising from unusual weather conditions.
3. All tardies resulting from late buses shall be excused. Tardies to school due to the late arrival of a bus shall be recorded separately from tardies for other reasons.

Parent Responsibilities:
• Escort child into the building.
• Sign the tardy binder giving child’s name and reason for tardy.

Teacher Responsibilities:
 • Accept student into class without drilling the student about being tardy and help student to get into the class routine. Attendance Secretary Responsibilities:
• Write the tardy pass.
• Evaluate the reason for tardy based on regulations.
• Change the absence to the specified tardy in SMS (Excused Tardy, Unexcused Tardy, or Bus Tardy) Counselor Responsibilities:
• Make courtesy phone call to parent to discuss excessive excused tardies to offer assistance as needed.

Social Worker Responsibilities:
• Call parent to establish a meeting to discuss attendance when student reaches 10 unexcused tardies.

Early Dismissal
Students leaving school early must have a note explaining the reason for early dismissal. The parent or guardian must come in to the office, provide the proper ID, and sign-out their child. Please leave ample time for student to be retrieved from the classroom. Students will not be called down to wait for a parent. If the student returns to school before the end of the day, the parent or guardian must escort the student into the building and sign the student in. The student will receive a return slip and be escorted to class. 

Work Habits and Absences
 Students will have same number of days to complete assignments missed during an excused absence as the student was absent (one for one, two for two, etc.). If students accumulate 10 excused or unexcused absences and are not completing missed assignments, they may be considered for retention, unless otherwise suggested by the teacher.

Attendance Standards
If a student is tardy for an accumulation of 360 minutes, then they have missed a full day of school. If a student is taken out of school (early dismissal) for an accumulation of 360 minutes, then this is equivalent to a full day of school.

Parent Notification
Parents will be notified of their child’s absences through automatic communication. Letters will be sent home as stated above for attendance issues.