The Importance of School Attendance
Did you know?
Starting in preschool and kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
Missing 10%, or 2 days a month, over the course of the school year, can affect a student’s academic success.
Students can still fall behind if they miss just 1 or 2 days every few weeks.
Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.
By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
By 9th grade, attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
What can you do?
Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day.
Help your student maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor or another parent.
Try to schedule dental and non-Covid-19/Infectious related medical appointments and extended trips when school isn't in session.
If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors and other parents for advice on how to make your child feel comfortable and excited about learning.
If your child must stay home due to illness or quarantine, ask the teacher for resources and ideas to continue learning at home.
(adapted from www.attendanceworks.org/
Harlem's Attendance Procedures
Attendance is an important factor in achieving academic success. Students who are frequently absent or tardy often miss important information covered in class, fall behind, and/or lose interest in school. As a result, the Harlem School District adheres to the following attendance policy.
Valid reasons for excused absences include illness of the student, injury, unavoidable accident or emergency and anticipated absence with administration approval prior to the absence.
Prior to the appointment, the parent should call the school and give the following information:
Name and grade of student
Time of appointment
Type of appointment (Doctor, Dentist, etc.)
Time to be released from school
Approximate time of return to school
On the day of the appointment, students should come to the office and receive a pass in order to be released from class at the designated time. The parent/guardian must sign the student out through the office (K-8). When the student returns (K-12), they must sign in back through the office, with a written note statement from the doctor verifying the appointment. No appointments will be classified as excused without written proof from the doctor, dentist, etc.
The following are examples of unexcused absences. This is not an all-inclusive list.
Lack of ride to school
Missing the school bus
Parent calls exceeding the 5 excused
Participation in non-school sponsored events
Private vehicle breakdown or failure to start
The determination as to whether an absence is excused or unexcused will be made by school administration according to Illinois School Code section 105 ILCS 5/26-2A.
7:70 Attendance and Truancy Compulsory School Attendance
This policy applies to individuals who have custody or control of a child: (a) between the ages of six (on or before September 1) and 17 years (unless the child has graduated from high school), or (b) who is enrolled in any of grades kindergarten through 12 in the public school regardless of age.
Subject to specific requirements in State law, the following children are not required to attend public school: (1) any child attending a private school (including a home school) or parochial school, (2) any child who is physically or mentally unable to attend school (including a pregnant student suffering medical complications as certified by her physician), (3) any child lawfully and necessarily employed, (4) any child over 12 and under 14 years of age while in confirmation classes, (5) any child absent because of religious reasons, including to observe a religious holiday, for religious instruction, or because his or her religion forbids secular activity on a particular day(s) or time of day, and (6) any child 16 years of age or older who is employed and is enrolled in a graduation incentives program.
The parent/guardian of a student who is enrolled must authorize all absences from school and notify the school in advance or at the time of the student’s absence. A valid cause for absence includes illness (including mental or behavioral health of the student), observance of a religious holiday, death in the immediate family, attendance at a civic event, family emergency, other situations beyond the control of the student as determined by the Board, voting pursuant to policy 7:90, Release During School Hours (10 ILCS 5/7-42 and 5/17-15), other circumstances that cause reasonable concern to the parent/guardian for the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or safety, or other reason as approved by the Superintendent or designee. Students absent for a valid cause may make up missed homework and classwork assignments in a reasonable timeframe.
Absenteeism and Truancy Program
The Superintendent or designee shall manage an absenteeism and truancy program in accordance with the School Code and School Board policy. The program shall include but not be limited to:
1. A protocol for excusing a student from attendance who is necessarily and lawfully employed. The Superintendent or designee is authorized to determine when the student’s absence is justified.
2. A protocol for excusing a student in grades 6 through 12 from attendance to sound Taps at a military honors funeral held in Illinois for a deceased veteran.
3. A protocol for excusing a student from attendance on a particular day(s) or at a particular time of day when his/her parent/guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat-support postings.
4. A process to telephone, within two hours after the first class, the parents/guardians of students in grade 8 or below who are absent without prior parent/guardian notification.
5. A process to identify and track students who are truants, chronic or habitual truants, or truant minors as defined in 105 ILCS 5/26-2a.
6. A description of diagnostic procedures for identifying the cause(s) of a student’s unexcused absenteeism, including interviews with the student, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s), and staff members or other people who may have information about the reasons for the student’s attendance problem.
7. The identification of supportive services that may be offered to truant, chronically truant, or 7:70 7:70 1 of 3 chronically absent students, including parent-teacher conferences, student and/or family counseling, or information about community agency services. (See Board policy 6:110, Programs for Students At Risk of Academic Failure and/or Dropping Out of School and Graduation Incentives Program.)
8. A process for the collection and review of chronic absence data and to: a. Determine what systems of support and resources are needed to engage chronically absent students and their families, and b. Encourage the habit of daily attendance and promote success.
9. Reasonable efforts to provide ongoing professional development to teachers, administrators, Board members, school resource officers, and staff on the appropriate and available supportive services for the promotion of student attendance and engagement.
10. A process to request the assistance and resources of outside agencies, such as, the juvenile officer of the local police department or the truant office of the appropriate Regional Office of Education, if truancy continues after supportive services have been offered.
11. A protocol for cooperating with non-District agencies including County or municipal authorities, the Regional Superintendent, truant officers, the Community Truancy Review Board, and a comprehensive community based youth service agency. Any disclosure of school student records must be consistent with Board policy 7:340, Student Records, as well as State and federal law concerning school student records.
12. An acknowledgement that no punitive action, including out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or court action, shall be taken against a truant minor for his or her truancy unless available supportive services and other school resources have been provided to the student.
13. The criteria to determine whether a student’s non-attendance is due to extraordinary circumstances shall include economic or medical necessity or family hardship and such other criteria that the Superintendent believes qualifies. [For high school and unit districts only]
14. A process for a 17-year-old resident to participate in the District’s various programs and resources for truants. The student must provide documentation of his/her dropout status for the previous six months. A request from an individual 19 years of age or older to re-enroll after having dropped out of school is handled according to provisions in 7:50, School Admissions and Student Transfers To and From Non-District Schools.
15. A process for the temporary exclusion of a student 17 years of age or older for failing to meet minimum attendance standards according to provisions in State law. A parent/guardian has the right to appeal a decision to exclude a student.
Pursuant to State law and policy 2:240, Board Policy Development, the Board updates this policy at least once every two years. The Superintendent or designee shall assist the Board with its update.