ATTENDANCE

(Taken from the 2018-2019 Student Handbook & Code of Conduct, except where indicated by 'LHS')

Attendance Office Personel: Jennifer Wilson

COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AGE

St. Mary's County Public Schools' student attendance policy is based on the overriding premise that success is dependent upon continuous and consistent classroom instructional experience. Students need opportunities to master essential academic knowledge and skills, to develop an appropriate sense of self-worth, to establish satisfactory peer relationships, and to develop a sense of responsibility. The school cannot educate students or provide support and assistance to students when they are absent. The school stands in loco parentis during school functions and, therefore, must take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its students.

Under law, every child who resides in St. Mary's County and is five (5) years or older and under eighteen (18) shall attend a public school regularly during the entire school year, unless the child is elsewhere receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age. This applies only to students who turn age seventeen (17) on or after July 1, 2018.

LHS Policy

For adult students, eighteen (18) years or older, parent(s)/legal guardian in conjunction with Principal or appointed designee may determine the sign in/out procedures for the student.

STUDENT DISMISSAL PRECAUTIONS

 

 

Permission to Leave School During the School Day

When leaving school early, students are required to bring a written request from the parent(s)/legal guardian(s). A student under the age of 18 must be signed in or out by his/her parent(s)/legal guardian(s). A valid photo identification must be presented when signing students out of school.

LHS Policy - Permission to Arrive Late or Leave School Early

Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) may report a student tardy or give permission to be picked up early by phone, email to the Attendance Office, or written note. Appropriate documentation should include the following:

child’s name, student id, grade;

date(s) of tardy/dismissal;

reason for tardy/dismissal; and

parent(s)’/legal guardian(s)’ signature or doctor’s office signature (for written notes)

If no documentation is provided or available, the parent/legal guardian may also accompany the student into the building for check in/out procedures. LHS requires parent/guardian permission for students age 18 years or older to leave school prior to the end of their scheduled school day.

LHS Students with Parking Privileges

When a student needs to leave school early, a written note must be provided to the Main Office (Attendance Secretary) at the start of the day, allowing time to verify information and make sure that the appropriate communication has taken place. In case of a family emergency, the parent/guardian may call or e-mail the Attendance Office; however, please be patient with us as we verify information and allow time for us to locate the student. Requests through the online submission option will not be accepted!

The legal parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student is responsible for signing the student out in person unless the note specifies that the student can be picked up by someone currently listed in the student's file as a parent/guardian or emergency contact. In cases where the student has a driver's license, vehicle, and valid LHS parking permit, the provided note must specify that the student has permission to transport themselves. Any student leaving early must sign out or be signed out through the Main Office prior to leaving the school campus.

Early Dismissal

Students should not be dismissed early from school for religious instruction classes, music, dance, gymnastics, or similar classes.

STUDENT ABSENCES AND EXCUSES

The parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of a student must provide the necessary documentation for absences on the day that the student returns to school. If the necessary documentation is not received by the school within three (3) school days, the absence(s) will be coded unlawful. Appropriate documentation of absences should include the following:

child’s name, student id, grade;

date(s) of absence;

reason for absence; and

parent(s)’/legal guardian(s)’ signature or doctor’s office signature (written notes)

The documentation may be provided by phone, email, school website portal, or written note.

Days Absent

A student is counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance four hours or more of the school day. A student is counted present for one-half (½) day if in attendance for at least two hours of the school day, but less than four hours. A grade 12 student scheduled for less than a full day is to be counted present based on the amount of time he/she is scheduled. For example, a grade 12 student scheduled for a two hour block of time will be counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance for that block of time. If the student is absent for that block of time, the student will be counted absent for a full day. A grade 12 student scheduled for a two hour block of time will be counted present for one-half (½) day if the student is in attendance for one hour.

Lawful Absences

The following reasons are deemed lawful absences:

  • death in the immediate family;
  • student illness, for which the principal may require a physician's certificate;
  • court summons;
  • hazardous weather conditions;
  • work, if approved or sponsored by the school;
  • observance of a religious holiday;
  • state of emergency;
  • suspension;
  • lack of authorized transportation; and
  • other circumstances which, in the judgment of the principal or designee, constitute a good and sufficient cause for absence from school

Excessive Absences

If a student is absent twenty-five (25) or more days, the student will be referred to the Pupil Services Team (PST) for consideration of retention for the following year and/or credit withholding to ensure that the student has had an appropriate opportunity to learn and master grade level skills and/or course content. Students who are excessively absent from school may be referred to the Interagency Committee on School Attendance (ICSA).

Truancy

A truant student means a student who is unlawfully absent from school for more than:

  • Eight (8) days in any marking period
  • Fifteen (15) days in any semester
  • Twenty (20) days in a school year

Tardiness

A student is tardy if absent at the time a given class and/or half (½) day of attendance begins, provided that the student is in attendance before the close of that class or half (½) day. All students must be signed in at the appropriate office when late to school.

LATE means you are not present in your class or designated area when the bell rings at the start of the school day.

Late for School:

  • Sign in.
  • Present documentation stating reason for tardiness or have your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) sign you in.
  • Tardies are marked either lawful (T) or unlawful (TU). Missing the bus or running late is marked UNLAWFUL.

Late for Class:

  • Late for class means that you are absent when the class begins and present before the class ends.
  • If you come to class late, you must present the teacher with an official pass.
  • Class tardies are marked either lawful (CT) or unlawful (UCT).

LHS Policy for Unlawful Tardiness

1st offense:  Verbal warning issued by teacher

2nd offense: Verbal warning and a call home to parent by teacher

3rd offense: Call to parents and 1 day of teacher assigned lunch detention (30 min)

4th offense:  Referral to grade level administrator (student will serve 1 day of 60 minute LD)

5th offense:  Referral to grade level administrator (student will serve 2 days of 60 minute LD)

6th offense: Referral to grade Level administrator (student will serve 3 days of 60 minute LD)

  • Each offense thereafter will result in a referral and the grade level administrator will assign ISI.
  • Tardiness resets to 0 after each semester.
  • Each offense should be documented.  When a referral is submitted, teacher interventions and dates will be shared with the grade level administrator.

Inclement Weather

When inclement weather may cause the schools to delay the regular opening time or close for the day, the information will be posted on the St. Mary’s County Public Schools website and social media, and a system-based “phone out” will be made to all student households. Radio and television stations will be notified before 6:00 a.m. so that notices may be broadcast as early as possible.

When school is unexpectedly dismissed early, the school cannot call parent(s)/legal guardian(s). Please discuss this important matter with your child. The school will assume an early bus dismissal schedule. Information will be posted on the St. Mary’s County Public Schools website and social media, and a system-based “phone out” will be made to all student households. Radio and television stations will be notified.

Delayed Openings

In the event that the opening of schools is delayed two hours to permit buses to run their routes under safer conditions, the following will apply:

  • All buses will run their routes two hours later than their usual times.
  • Dismissal in each school will follow the regular schedule.
  • Lunch will be served in each school.
  • If there is a two-hour delayed opening, morning (AM) Prekindergarten, morning (AM) Head Start, and the first session at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center (Forrest Center), will be canceled, unless otherwise announced.

Emergency Early Dismissal

If conditions exist which cause a decision for early dismissal due to inclement weather or extreme heat and humidity, radio and television stations will be notified as early as possible so that parent(s)/legal guardian(s) are informed. Information will be posted on the St. Mary’s County Public Schools website and social media, and a system-based “phone out” will be made to all student households. Radio and television stations will be notified. Early dismissal will be decided by the Superintendent of Schools. Radio and television stations will carry the announcement whenever possible.

The school will assume an early bus dismissal schedule and the following will apply:

  • Buses will run their afternoon routes in the same order as on the regular school day.
  • All afternoon and evening meetings and activities are automatically canceled. Any exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Superintendent of Schools.
  • All afternoon (PM) prekindergarten classes, afternoon (PM) Head Start classes, and third session Forrest Center classes are canceled.
  • All morning (AM) prekindergarten and morning (AM) Head Start students will be dismissed at 11:00 a.m. or as close to that time as possible.

The following stations will carry the announcements:

RADIO STATIONS -

WMAL AM 630

WBAL AM 1090

WPTX AM 1690

WTGB FM 94.7

WPGC FM 95.5

WGRQ FM 95.9

WMDM FM 97.7

WSMD FM 98.3

WOLC FM 102.5

WKIK FM 102.9

WTOP FM 103.5

WTOP FM 103. 9

WGRX FM 104.5

WMAL FM 105.9

WRQX FM 107.3

WTOP FM 107.7

TELEVISION STATIONS -

WRC TV - Channel 4

WTTG TV - Channel 5

WJLA TV - Channel 7

WUSA TV - Channel 9

Educational TV Ch. 96 (in St. Mary’s County)

 Resources:

2017-2018 Student Handbook & Code of Conduct

2017-2018 Secondary Handbook Presentation

 (Updated 6/13/18 - lcf)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are college visits considered excused absences?

Yes, the day(s) of an actual visit are excused with approval from the Assistant Principal or designee. Please fill out the PS-143 Request to Visit College Campus Form and return it to your Assistant Principal or the Attendance Office for approval. Form may be found in the LHS Main Office or online at (www.smcps.org/student-services/forms PS 143 Request to Visit College Campus PDF).

Are vacations considered excused absences?

According to the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct vacations are considered unlawful absences.

LHS realizes that some absences are unavoidable, but we also know that when students miss too much school, regardless of the reason [lawful or unlawful], it can cause them to fall behind academically. Please direct all correspondences and/or requests for a student’s extended absence to the Attendance Secretary and the grade level Assistant Principal. E-mail addresses may be found on the Staff List page of the LHS website. Your student’s attendance will be updated once approval from the grade level Assistant Principal is received.

In addition, the SMCPS Student Handbook outlines that it is the responsibility of the student and/or parent/legal guardian to request the makeup work and turn in completed assignments within five school days upon return to school.  Please remember to check with your teachers upon your return. Although we cannot ask the teachers to provide classwork or other assignments ahead of a family trip, many of our teachers are willing to provide any work that they may have available when the request is made. As a reminder, the Home Access Center (HAC) and the teacher’s Moodle/IXL websites are good resources for staying up to date on homework assignments and due dates.

How will I be notified of my student’s excessive absences?

At least once a quarter, the Attendance Committee meets to discuss students with excessive absences. A letter is then sent to the parent/guardian informing them of the absence dates and codes, either lawful or unlawful. A request may be made for the parent to provide reasons for each of the absences, sign and date, then return the attachment to the school. The Attendance Secretary will update your student’s attendance once the signed form is received.

How do I report a full day absence for my student?

The parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of a student must provide the necessary documentation for absences on the day that the student returns to school. If the necessary documentation is not received by the school within three (3) school days, the absence(s) will be coded unlawful. Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) may report a student absence using the following methods:

  • written note from the parent or legal guardian
  • phone call to the Attendance Office
  • online submission
  • e-mail to the Attendance Office
  • a note from appointment, provided by the place of business (i.e. doctor’s office, dentist office, etc.)

Appropriate documentation for absences should include the following:

  • student name;
  • student id;
  • grade;
  • date(s) of absence;
  • reason for absence; and
  • parent(s)/legal guardian(s) signature or doctor office signature

How do I report when my student will be arriving late to school?

The parent(s)/legal guardian(s) of a student must provide the necessary documentation for absences on the day that the student returns to school. If the necessary documentation is not received by the school within three (3) school days, the absence(s) will be coded unlawful. Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) may report a student absence using the following methods:

  • written note from the parent or legal guardian
  • phone call to the Attendance Office
  • email to the Attendance Office
  • note from appointment, provided by the place of business (i.e. doctor’s office, dentist office, etc.)

Appropriate documentation for tardiness should include the following:

  • student name;
  • student id;
  • grade;
  • date(s) of absence;
  • reason for absence; and
  • parent(s)/legal guardian(s) signature or doctor office signature

If no documentation is provided or available, the parent/legal guardian may also accompany the student into the building for check in procedures.

Students arriving late to school due to missing the bus, sleeping in, long lines at local businesses, parking lot traffic, etc., will be marked unexcused with or without proper documentation as these are unlawful excuses. If the student has a valid parking permit and drives to school, it is their responsibility to allow enough time so they arrive to their first class on time.

How do I report when my student will be picked up early from school?

When it is necessary for a student to leave school early or be transported by other means, please follow these procedures:

  • Send in a note or e-mail the school attendance office stating the date, time of departure, and who will be signing the student out from the school office.
  • In all cases, parent(s)/legal guardian(s) or designated person must show photo identification in order to sign a student out of his/her school.
  • The teacher will be notified to send the student to the office to leave school.

If your student will be riding a different bus, all correspondences should go through Mrs. Wilson

How may I get makeup work for my student?

  • If you are absent from school, you may request make-up work through your student’s teacher either by e-mail or phone call.
  • Homework assignments are posted in the Home Access Center (HAC) and some corresponding worksheets may be downloaded from HAC.
  • If an absence is lawful, you may receive full credit for any make-up work.
  • You are allowed to make up assignments and take alternative exams and tests.
  • You will have five (5) school days to make up work and turn in completed assignments.
  • If your absences are unlawful, you may still make up the work, but may need to forfeit the opportunity to earn credit for the work.

 

If you have any further questions/concerns, please feel free to contact the Attendance Office at (301)475-0200 extension 27104.