Attendance Information

Is your child under the weather?

Remember a parent note - include student's first and last name please

Absent three (3) or more consecutive days, a Doctor's note is required

Will your child be missing a day of school because of an appointment?

Remember your Doctor's note from the appointment

Don't worry! Just call our Attendance Line to report your child's absence.

717-920-0322

(If you get a busy signal, please try again after a few minutes.)

Attendance & Absences

The school law of Pennsylvania requires the regular attendance of all students between eight (8) and seventeen (17) years of age. The following reasons constitute a legal absence: illness of the student, death in the immediate family, exceptionally urgent reasons that affect the child as determined by the administration, impassable roads as determined by the school administration, and educational trip experiences pre-approved by the parent and the principal. All other absences are considered illegal.

Upon returning to school following an absence, the student shall bring a note signed by the parent or guardian giving the date of the absence and the reason for the absence. A receipt from the office is available upon student or parent request when the note is submitted. Requests for receipts for absence notes can also be made to the building principal.

If an excuse is not furnished within three (3) days after the absence, the secretary will record the absence as an illegal absence. After a student has been illegally absent for a total of three (3) days during the school year, an official notice will be mailed to the parents.

Parents who fail to comply with the provisions of the compulsory attendance law may, on summary conviction thereof, be required to pay a fine plus court costs. A student having three (3) or more unlawful absences during the school year is considered habitually truant under definitions set forth by the PA Department of Education.

In the case of excused absences, the student will be expected to make up assignments or tests that may have been missed and for this purpose will be granted a period of time equal to the length of the absence. As a general policy, unexcused/unlawful absences will not permit make-up privileges; however, the building administrator may give consideration to extenuating circumstances beyond the child's control.

Secondary students will need to be in attendance for the "equivalent of two instructional periods" in order to be considered present for the a.m. or p.m. session. Students who arrive at school after Block 2 will be recorded as absent for one-half day. Students who arrive at school after Block 4 will be recorded as absent for the whole day. Students with early dismissals will need to be in attendance for a minimum of two blocks during that part of the school day to be considered present for that session.

Compulsory Attendance Laws

Penalties for violation of compulsory attendance requirements are set forth in section 1333 of The Public School Code of 1949 (Amended by Act 29 of 1995) and are:

"Every parent, guardian or person in parental control or charge of any child or children of compulsory school age who shall fail to comply with the provisions of this act regarding compulsory attendance shall, on summary conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine for the benefit of the District in which such offending person resides, not exceeding three hundred dollars ($300) per offense, and in default of the payment of such be sentenced to the county jail, perform community service, or any combination thereof."

Students above the compulsory attendance age while not subject to arrest, are subject to the same attendance procedures and consequences to include a zero (0) in school work and disciplinary consequences for unexcused absences.

Doctor's Certificate

It will be necessary to present an original written statement or doctor's certificate from an attending physician to the office for three (3) or more consecutive days of absence. Such certification shall indicate that the student was seen by the physician, indicate the date of the visit and date the student may return to school. It must be presented to the school within three (3) days of the student's return to school. Such certification may also be required for every absence if and when  student's absences exceed 10 percent of the number of days school has been in session.

Failure to present validation may result in the day(s) being declared unlawful.

Early Dismissal

If a student must be excused from school prior to the end of the school day, a note from the parent or guardian must be presented to the office releasing their child from the school. It is understood that early dismissals should seldom be requested and should be restricted to circumstances that are otherwise unavoidable. All work missed due to the dismissal must be completed. A student leaving school property must sign out at the main office before departing. An excuse from the physician/dentist/funeral home/Penn-Dot etc... must be submitted to the office upon the student's return. A parent note will not be accepted to excuse the child's absence.

Students will not be released to the custody of a person other than the parent or guardian unless written permission is granted by the parent. Permission will generally not be granted for early dismissal in order for a student to attend counseling, tutoring, or private instructional lessons.

Board Policy 231 Educational Trips & College Visitation

The Board recognizes the value of educational trips which enhance and enrich the school experience for the children of this School District.

There may be occasions during the school year when educational trips and tours are scheduled that are not school sponsored. Such activities during the school term require a written request from the parent or guardian. The Assistant Superintendent will appraise the value of the trip, provided the trip is at parental expense and that the pupil participants are subject to direction and supervision by adult persons acceptable to the parents of the pupils concerned and to the Assistant Superintendent.

Philosophy

The requests submitted for educational trips have become more numerous and diverse each year. The West Shore School District recognizes that trips by students during the school year can have significant educational value if planned properly. In making a determination on each individual request, it is necessary for the principal to evaluate the parental information and apply a set of guidelines to arrive at a decision. The mere fact that the student is traveling is not enough supportive evidence to warrant approval. The following factors will be part of the decision process:

1. The age and grade level of the student.

2. A link, i.e., correlation, with he student's curriculum under study would be a necessary part of the trip to gain approval.

3. By PA School Code, Farm Show attendance/participation is permitted under this policy for student participation in a project sponsored by an organization that is eligible to apply for a grant under the "PA Agricultural Fair Act".

4. The student should be able to demonstrate the educational value of the trip upon his/her return, in written form. The absence will not be considered excused unless this requirement has been met.

5. Since the student will be missing all facets of his/her regular educational experience during the trip, it is imperative that a commitment to make up work assignments be consummated before leaving on the trip.

Make-Up Work

In the case of an approved educational trip, a student will be granted make-up privileges. After a student's return, make-up work must be submitted within a time frame equivalent to the number of school days approved for the trip; i.e., for a two-day trip two (2) school days will be granted for make-up work to be completed.

Requests For Approval

The following procedures shall be followed in requesting approval for an educational trip:

1. Parents shall submit the appropriate form no less than five (5) school days in advance of the proposed trip. Failure to follow this procedure will result in denial of the educational trip request.

2. A family having children enrolled in more than one building who will be participating in the trip shall submit one (1) request form. The form shall list the name of each child for whom permission is sought to participate in the trip and shall be submitted to the principal serving the youngest child's building. The principal receiving the form will take responsibility for notifying the principal(s) of the other building(s) and will consult with them on the appropriate response. A copy of the form will be forwarded to each principal.

3. The principal receiving the request will notify the parents in a timely manner of the decision to approve or disapprove the trip.

4. The cumulative number of days for educational trips that will be considered for approval during a given year shall not exceed five (5) school days per child. The cumulative number of days that will be considered for approval of college visitations also shall not exceed five (5) school days per child.

5. Educational Trips and College visitations will not be approved for the first five (5) school days of the school year, nor the final ten (10) days of each school term.

6. Requests for educational trips, including college visitations, will be considered in terms of student absence guidelines delineated in Board Policy 204.

7. Approved trips will be recorded as excused absences and will not be considered as days of attendance for consideration of perfect attendance.

8. The student will submit a written report about the trip to the principal within five (5) school days following the student's return from the trip. This report must be one typed page for each school day missed

The Decision For Approval

The basis for approving a request for an educational trip shall be its direct relevance to the needs of the student, and whether or not the request coincides with the recognized date for the activity, for example, "Take Your Daughter/Son to Work Day." The ease with which the same trip could be made at times other than during the school year or day will also be considered.

The following specific categories of trips will not be approved as educational trips:

1. Shopping, hunting, fishing, visits to relatives, etc.

2. Events or places which could be visited outside of school time because they are nearby and/or scheduled for substantial hours beyond the school day.

3. Trips to educational sites for which a  previous request has been approved. Site in this instance refers to a specific place; for example, it would be possible to schedule several trips to New York City without visiting the same sites.

4. Trips for more than five (5) school days duration (cumulative within a given school year). Absences beyond five (5) days will be recorded as "unlawful" or "unexcused", as appropriate, and subject to provisions outlined in Attendance Policy 204.

5. Accompanying the family to locate a new home due to a planned move.

6. Trips taking place during the time period in which District testing or final examinations are being administered.

Should the family disregard a principal's decision to disapprove a trip request, then the absence(s) will be marked as unlawful. The building administrator may exercise discretion concerning makeup privileges for work missed during such unapproved and unexcused absences.

Appeal of Denial

When a request for an educational trip has been denied at the building level, the parent may submit a written request to the principal to reevaluate the issue. This request, accompanied by a recommendation from the principal, will be submitted to the Assistant Superintendent for review.
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