Policy Manual: Attendance

6.  Attendance 

The Jefferson County Board of Education recognizes that a direct relationship exists between students’ daily school attendance and academic performance, graduation, and good work habits. This attendance policy promotes students’ daily school attendance. Daily attendance is necessary for students to meet their schools’ academic program standards as each day’s learning builds on the work previously completed. While students and parents/guardians have the ultimate responsibility for daily school attendance, the laws of West Virginia require school administrators to enforce compulsory school attendance, and to provide an environment conducive to, and encouraging of, attendance.  It is the Board’s intent to increase attendance by creating a positive safe environment conducive to learning and committed to helping students develop responsibility, self-discipline, and other good work habits and developing a system enlisting parental/guardian support for daily school attendance by students.
6.1. Definitions
 6.1a. Absence - Not being physically present in the school facility for any reason.
 6.1b. Allowable Deductions for Schools - Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the only allowable deductions that result from school approved curricular/co-curricular activities are, failure of the bus to run/hazardous conditions, students not in attendance due to disciplinary measures and school/county directed placements outside the traditional classroom environment including but not limited to homebound placement and in-school suspension.
6.1.c.  Attendance – For statistical purposes, attendance will be reported and aggregated to the nearest half day according to the definitions in sections 6.1.d. and 6.1.e.

6.1.d. Full-day attendance means being present at least .74 of the school day. 
Perfect Attendance is being present every day at least .74 of the school day.
Faithful Attendance is not being absent more than five days during the year.
6.1.e. Half-day attendance means being present at least .50 of the school day.
6.1.f. Attendance Rate – The number of days present divided by the number of days of membership, multiplied by one hundred, equals attendance rate for students on the attendance registers in grades K-12.
6.1.g. Dropout – A dropout is an individual who:
6.1.g.1. was enrolled in school at some time during the previous school year and    was not enrolled on October 1 of the current school year; or
6.1.g.2. was not enrolled on October 1 of the previous school year although expected to be in membership (i.e., was not reported as a dropout the year before); and
6.1.g.3. has not graduated from high school, obtained a Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) diploma, or completed a state- or district approved education program; and
6.1.g.4. does not meet any of the following exclusionary conditions:
a. transfer to another public school district, private school, home school, or state- or district-approved education program;
b. temporary school-recognized absence due to suspension or illness; or
c. death.
6.1.h. Dropout Date – The school day after the dropout’s last day of attendance.
6.1.i. Enrollment - A student is officially enrolled when one of the following conditions occur:
6.1.i.a. student was enrolled the previous year;
6.1.i.b. student appears at school to enroll with or without a parent/guardian; or
6.1.i.c. student and/or parent/guardian appear(s) at school to enroll with or without records.
6.1.j. Enrollment Count - A status count that reports the number of students on the attendance register as required by the West Virginia Department of Education (hereinafter WVDE).
7. Excused Student Absences – Excused Student Absences include:
7.1. Absences that result from school-approved curricular/co-curricular /extra-curricular activities; failure of the bus to run/hazardous conditions, Student Assistance Team (SAT) Plan, Improvement Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan and other county board approved excused absences.
7.2. Personal illness or injury of the student.
7.3. Personal illness or injury of the student’s parent, guardian, custodian, or family member, provided, that the excuse must provide a reasonable explanation for why the student’s absence was necessary and caused by the illness or injury in the family.
   7.4. Medical or dental appointment with written excuse from physician or dentist.
          7.5. Documented chronic medical conditions that may require multiple or regular           absences.  These conditions must be documented annually with a valid           physician’s note that explains the condition and anticipated impact on attendance.  The necessity for the absences must be approved and reviewed quarterly by the SAT, IEP, or 504 team (See §126-81-5.3.c.4.).

7.6 Participation in homebound or hospital instruction due to an illness or injury or other extraordinary circumstances that warrants home or hospital confinement.

7.7. Documented disabilities consisting of any mental or physical impairment that substantially limit one or more major life activities and are documented annually with a valid physician’s noted that explains the disability and the anticipated impact on attendance.  The necessity for the absences must be approved and reviewed quarterly by the SAT, IEP, or 504 team (See §126-81- 5.3.c.4).

7.8. Calamity, such as fire or flood.

7.9. Death in the family.

7.10. Judicial obligation or court appearance involving the student.

7.11. Military requirements for student enlisted or enlisting in the military.

7.12. Personal or academic circumstances approved by the principal up to five (5) days per semester.

7.13 Leaves of Educational Value adhering to these stipulations:
- Prior approval of school administrator (a minimum of forty-eight hours prior to the absence).
- Prior submission and approval of education plan detailing and activities.
- Leave not to exceed ten days and verification implementation of the education plan upon student’s return, or
- Leave to extend more than ten days requires county board approval.
Parents should be warned that extended leave is not a wise practice and could be detrimental to the student’s academic achievement.  Furthermore, no teacher will be required to provide free tutoring for the student.

Such other situations as may be further determined by the county board:
Provided, that absences of students with disabilities shall be in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Educations Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) and the federal and state regulations adopted in compliance therewith.



8.  Documentation Required for Excused Absences
When returning from school after an absence, all documentation relating to absences shall be provided to the school no later than three instructional days after the first day the student returns to school. The documentation should include a note from the student’s parent, guardian or custodian, the reason for the absence, and a valid signature of the parent/guardian, physician, dentist, or self if an adult student.  
West Virginia Code §18-8-4 Jefferson County School’s excused absences are include:
Personal illness or injury of the student, illness of student must be verified in writing or by email (but no telephone calls) by custodial parent/guardian, adult student or emancipated minor not to exceed 5 days per semester. The reviewing administrator may require documentation by a physician if absences exceed three consecutive days.  
Personal illness or injury of the student’s parent, guardian, custodian, family member; provided, that the excuse must provide a reasonable explanation for why the student’s absence was necessary and caused by the illness or injury in the family; Provided, however, that the principal may request additional documentation including , but not limited to, a statement from a medical, osteopathic or chiropractic physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner confirming the existence of the family member’s illness or injury;
Medical and/or dental appointment which cannot be scheduled outside the school day when the absence is verified, in writing, by the physician or dentist;
Chronic medical condition or disability that impacts attendance;
Participation in home or hospital instruction due to an illness or injury or other extraordinary circumstance that warrants home or hospital confinement;
Calamity such as fire or flood;
Judicial obligation or court appearance involving the student with verification;
Military requirements for student enlisted or enlisting in the military;
Death in the family is limited to three days for each occurrence except in extraordinary circumstances;
School approved extracurricular activities;
Observance of religious holidays;
Personal or academic circumstances approved by the principal up to five (5) days per semester. 
Leaves of Educational Value adhering to these stipulations:
 
- Prior approval of school administrator (a minimum of forty-eight   hours prior to absence). 
- Prior submission and approval of education plan detailing objective   and activities. 
- Leave not to exceed ten days and verification of implementation of the education plan upon student’s return, or 
- Leave to extend more than ten days requires county board approval.   Parents should be warned that extended leave is not a wise practice and could be detrimental to the student’s academic achievement.   Furthermore, no teacher will be required to provide free tutoring for the student. 

 9. Unexcused Absences - shall be any absence not specifically included in the definition of “excused absence.”
10. Homeless Children and Youths - as defined in the McKinney-Vento Act means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes:
A. children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals;
B. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
C. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
D. migratory children who qualify as homeless because the children or youth are living in circumstances as described in the above descriptions.
10.1. Under McKinney-Vento Act, children in a homeless situation have the right to:
Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there;
Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest; the school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled;
Receive transportation to and from the school of origin;
Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records;
Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school arranges for the transfer of records;
Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students including transportation and supplemental educational services;
Attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; segregation based on the student’s status as homeless is prohibited.
10.2. Membership Days - The days present plus the days absent.
10.3. Transfer - A process by which a student ends enrollment or attendance in one location and begins enrollment or attendance in a second location (e.g., within a county, between counties, or out-of-state). This can be evidenced through a transcript request or other documentation that the student is continuing elementary or secondary education.
11. §126-81-5.  Responsibility
Each county board of education shall:
11.1. employ a certified county director of school attendance as required by W. Va. Code §18-8-3.
11.2. support and require the county attendance director to implement and execute the duties as defined in W. Va. Code §18-8-4:
a. The county attendance director and his/her assistants shall diligently promote regular school attendance. They shall ascertain reasons for unexcused absences from school of students of compulsory school age and students who remain enrolled beyond the compulsory school age birthday and take such steps as are, in their discretion, best calculated to encourage the attendance of students and to impart upon the parents and guardians the importance of attendance and the seriousness of failing to attend school regularly.

b. In the case of three (3) total unexcused absences of a child during the school year, the attendance director or his/her assistant may serve written notice to the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student that the attendance of the student at school is required, and that if the student has five (5) unexcused absences, a conference with the principal or other designated representation will be required. 

c. In the case of five (5) unexcused absences, the attendance director or assistant shall serve written notice to the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student that within five (5) days of receipt of the notice the parent, guardian, or custodian, accompanied by the student, shall report in person to the school the student attends for a conference with the principal or administrative head or other chief administrator of the school in order to discuss and correct the circumstances causing the unexcused absences of the student, including the adjustment of unexcused absences based upon such meeting.
d. In the case of ten (10) total unexcused absences of a student during the school year, the attendance director or assistant may make complaint against the parent, guardian, or custodian before a magistrate or the county.  If it appears from the complaint that there is a probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the accused has committed it, a summons or a warrant for the arrest of the accused shall be issued to any officer authorized by law to serve the summons or to arrest persons charged with offenses against the state.  More than one parent, guardian or custodian may be charged in a complaint.  Initial service of the summons or warrant issued pursuant to the provisions of W. Va. Code §18-8-4 shall be attempted within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of the summons or warrant and subsequent attempts at service shall continue until the summons or warrant is executed or until the end of the school term during which the complaint is made, whichever is later.
e. When calculating unexcused absences for the purpose of making complaints against a parent, guardian, or custodian before a magistrate, unexcused absences resulting from suspensions or expulsions from school shall not be considered.
f. The magistrate court clerk, or the clerk of the circuit court performing the duties of the magistrate court as authorized in section eight (8), article one (1), chapter fifty (50) of this code (§50-1-8), shall assign the case to a magistrate within ten (10) days of execution of the summons or warrant.  The hearing shall be held within twenty (20) days of the assignment to the magistrate, subject to lawful continuance.  The magistrate shall provide to the accused at least ten (10) days’ advance notice of the date, time and place of the hearing. 
g. When any doubt exists as to the age of the student absent from school, the attendance director has authority to require a properly attested birth certificate or an affidavit from the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student, stating age of the student.  In the performance of his or her duties, the county attendance director has authority to take without warrant any student absent from school in violation of the provisions of this article and to place the student in the school in which he or she is or should be enrolled.
11.3. Each parent, guardian, or custodian shall be responsible for fully cooperating in and completing the enrollment process by providing: immunization documentation (W. Va. Code §16-3-4), copy of a certified birth certificate or affidavit (W. Va. Code §18 2-5c), signed suspension and expulsion document (W. Va. Code §18-5-15), and any other documents required by federal, state, and/or local policies or code.

13.  §126-81-7.  School attendance as condition of licensing for privilege of operation of motor vehicle
Rationale
13.1. The West Virginia Board of Education (hereinafter WVBE) and the Jefferson County Board of Education recognizes that driving a vehicle is a privilege and that West Virginia Code requires young people at least fifteen but less than eighteen years of age to maintain specified driver eligibility requirements related to school attendance, personal behavior and academic progress in order to obtain and maintain a West Virginia license or instruction permit for the operation of a motor vehicle.  While the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (hereinafter WVDMV) has the authority to deny and suspend a license or instruction permit for the operation of a motor vehicle, the West Virginia Code places certain responsibilities on school administrators to identify students who do not meet any or all of the driver eligibility requirements and communicate this information to the WVDMV.  The identification of students not meeting the driver eligibility requirements must be done using uniform measures across all of the fifty-five county school districts; the definitions provided in this policy have been designed to assure consistent application of driver eligibility throughout West Virginia.
   13.2. Definitions
13.2a. Circumstances outside the Control of the Student – shall include, but not be limited to, medical reasons, familial responsibilities and the necessity of supporting oneself or another.  Suspension or expulsion from school or imprisonment in a jail or a West Virginia correctional facility is not a circumstance beyond the control of the student, and for purposes of this policy, shall be considered an unexcused absence.
13.2b. Driver’s Eligibility Certificate – documentation provided by the county to the  student verifying that the student has met the attendance, behavioral and academic expectations set forth by W. Va. Code §18-8-11 that are required to obtain a license or instruction permit to drive a motor vehicle.
13.2c. Satisfactory Academic Progress – attaining and maintaining grades sufficient to allow for graduation and course-work in an amount sufficient to allow graduation in five years or by age nineteen, whichever is earlier (beginning with the completed 2008-09 school year).
13.2.c.1.This would calculate in the minimum annual earning of five credits  to allow graduation in five years based on the graduation requirements set forth in  §126CSR42, WVBE Policy 2510:  Assuring the Quality of Education, Regulations for Education Programs.
13.2.c.2. Three of the five credits earned annually must be from the core requirements identified in W. Va. §126CSR42, WVBE Policy 2510:  Assuring the Quality of Education, Regulations for Education Programs.
13.3. Withdrawal – for the purpose of driver’s license eligibility, withdrawal is defined as the following reasons for which the county shall deny or revoke a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate from any student at least fifteen but less than eighteen years of age:
13.3.a. More than ten consecutive or fifteen total days unexcused absences during a school year.
13.3.b. Suspension pursuant to W. Va. Code §18A-5-1a and §18A-5-1b which include the following behaviors when committed on the premises of an educational facility, at a school-sponsored function, or on a school bus:
a.  assault and/or battery on school employees,
b.  possessing deadly weapons,
c.  sale of a narcotic drug,
d. committing an act or engaging in conduct that would constitute a felony under West Virginia Code if committed by an adult, and/or
e. unlawfully possessing a control substance governed by the uniform controlled substances act as described in W. Va. Code §60A-1.1 et seq.
13.4. Responsibility
13.4.1. The WVBE has the responsibility to encourage daily attendance and appropriate student conduct, to set academic graduation requirements for public schools and to mandate that county school systems collect and report student performance data regarding these student behaviors.
13.4.2. The WVBE has the responsibility for defining Driver’s Eligibility Certificate criteria in uniform quantifiable measures to assure that the process is applied equally to all students ages fifteen to eighteen who are enrolled in West Virginia public schools.   
13.5. The Jefferson County Board of Education shall:
13.5.1. support and require the county attendance director and all school administrators to implement and execute the duties defined in W. Va. §126CSR81, WVBE Policy 4110:  Attendance.
13.5.2. incorporate the appropriate components of this rule into existing county attendance, expected behaviors and academic requirement policies respectively.
13.5.3. support and require the county attendance director and all school administrators to implement and execute the following duties defined in W. Va. Code §18-8-11. Regarding driver’s eligibility for a license or instruction permit to operate a motor vehicle:
a. provide, upon request, a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate on a form (hard-copy or electronic) approved by West Virginia Department of Education (hereinafter WVDE) to any student at least fifteen but less than eighteen years of age who is in satisfactory standing with regard to attendance, behavior and academic progress in a school under the jurisdiction of the official for presentation to the WVDMV on application for or reinstatement of an instruction permit or license to operate a motor vehicle.
b.  provide notification to the WVDMV whenever a student at least fifteen but less than eighteen years of age withdraws from school, is suspended pursuant to W. Va. Code §18A-5-1a and §18A-5-1b and/or fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress, except when the withdrawal or failure to make satisfactory academic progress is due to circumstances outside the control of the student.  Notification must be provided to the WVDMV no later than five days from the date of the withdrawal and/or suspension.  Notification must be provided to the WVDMV no later than five days from the end of the school year for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
c.  provide the opportunity, upon request, for a student who has been denied a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate or has received a revocation notice, to have a hearing before the county superintendent of schools or his/her designee concerning whether the student’s withdrawal from school or failure to make satisfactory academic progress was due to a circumstance or circumstances beyond the control of the student.  The county superintendent, with the assistance of appropriate staff, shall be the sole judge of whether any of the grounds for denial or suspension of a license or instruction permit are due to a circumstance or circumstances beyond the control of the student.
13.6. Provide a review process that allows students to have their Driver’s Eligibility Certificate reinstated upon demonstration of satisfactory progress as follows:
a.  reinstatement requests related to withdrawal for unexcused absences shall be reviewed, as outlined in W.Va. §126CSR81, WVBE Policy 4110:  Attendance, at the end of the semester following that in which the withdrawal occurred.
b.  reinstatement requests related to failure to make satisfactory academic progress shall be reviewed at the end of each school year for the purpose of reinstating the Driver’s Eligibility Certificate.
c.  reinstatement requests related to withdrawal for suspension pursuant to W. Va. Code §18A-5-1a and §18A-5-1b shall be reviewed after all disciplinary sentences have been served for the purpose of reinstating the Driver’s Eligibility Certificate.   

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