Attendance Process 2019

General

Accurate attendance accounting is critical for informing parents, teachers, and students of the students’ time in and out of their educational setting. It is also used in state and federal reports, most recently becoming a component of Every Student Succeeds Act, by which schools and districts are held accountable for the education of their children.

Stillwater Area Public Schools uses a half-day calculation method for determining a student’s attendance.  Under this method, attendance is calculated as Full Day, Half Day, or Zero Day based on the number of minutes or periods missed. In elementary school, 150 minutes (2.5 hours) is considered Half Day.  In secondary schools, the calculation depends on the number of periods in a day (See Calculating Secondary Attendance).

Negative Absence Calculations

Attendance is calculated using a Negative Attendance Model.  This means that students are presumed to be present unless marked absent.  As such, it is imperative that all classrooms take proper attendance and all sites make appropriate corrections every day. Failures to correctly mark a student as absent will communicate that the student was incorrectly present.

Responsibility for Attendance

Ultimately, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure accurate attendance is recorded. Parents and students of an appropriate age should monitor attendance using the Skyward App or by logging into the Skyward Parent Portal. Attendance errors can always be corrected, however an excuse notes will only be accepted up to 48 hours after the student’s return to school.

Attendance processes, rules, and discipline can vary from site to site.  Links to the site attendance procedures can be found at the end of the document. 

Absence Types

Depending on the reason for the absence, an absence may be excused or unexcused. Both Excused and Unexcused absences add to a student’s total number absences by contributing equally to half-day and full-day absence counts. The purpose of an excused absence is to communicate that the absence was for an acceptable reason that permits the student to make up work that was missed. The purpose of an unexcused absence is to communicate to the parent and teacher(s) that the student did not have a valid reason for missing class and is considered truant for that time period.   When a child obtains an unexcused absence, their teacher is not required to provide makeup work and the child may be disciplined per district and school policies related to truancy. All absences are unexcused until a valid reason is supplied and accepted by the school (Principal or designee). 

In addition to excused and unexcused absences, students may be marked with an (A)cademic Absence. The Academic absence code signifies that while the student is/was not in class, it is because they were at another academic function. Students should have their attendance marked as Academic when they are taking standardized tests, detained in the office, seeing their counselor, or for any other academic reason that they are being permitted to miss class. Academic absences are treated as non-absences in attendance so they do not count towards a student’s absence totals.

 

Attendance Type Codes

Code

Description

Category

Reason

A

Academic

Present

Student was absent from class, but present in an academic activity elsewhere

E

Absence Excused

Excused

Student was absent from class, with a valid and excusable reason

U

Absence Unexcused

Unexcused

Student was absent from class, without a valid or excusable reason.

L

Tardy Excused

Tardy

Student was late for class, with a valid and excusable reason

T

Tardy Unexcused

Tardy

Student was late for class, without a valid or excusable reason

S

Arrived Late/Left Early +15 Excused

Other

Student missed more than 15 minutes of class with a valid or excusable reason. ELEM ONLY

Z

Arrived Late/Left Early +15 Unexcused

Other

Student missed more than 15 minutes of class without a valid or excusable reason. ELEM ONLY

 

* Code ‘D’ has been added to reflect a Distance Learning absence during the Covid-19 response.

Absence Type Examples by Category

Excused Absences

Unexcused Absences

Academic

Parent Verified Illness
3 consecutive days or 8 total

Car trouble

Testing: MCA, ACT, ACT Aspire, AP, ASVAB, etc.

Doctor Verified Illness
3+ consecutive days or 8+ total

Overslept OR alarm didn't work

Counselor or Principal visit

Medical/dental appointments
(requires medical slip)

Needed at home OR Needed at work OR Babysitting

Detained in the office; including for discipline

Missed bus (bus was late)

Missed bus (student was late)

Special School Events

Funeral
4 days

Leaving school during the regular school day without approval

Field Trip

Family vacation – Prearranged
5 days

Family vacation – No arrangement

 

Family emergencies
3 days

No call or note from parent or guardian verifying the absence.

 

Religious instruction or holiday
with advanced notice

Religious instruction or holiday
without advance notice

 

Suspension

  

 

NOTE: If the school approves a student absence for any reason, the student will receive an E - Absence Excused on their attendance record. While an excused absence does not count for discipline or truancy purposes, it does count towards the student’s absence total which can contribute to a student’s chronic absenteeism. Absence Reasons

Absence reasons help track the reasons why students are missing school. In cases of chronic absenteeism, it is important to know what the past reasons provided were in order to identify any patterns and provide appropriate interventions.  Office staff should always attach a reason to a verified absence.

Absence Reason Codes

Code

Description

Type

Code

Description

Type

AA

ACA Admin

Academic

MA

Medical Appt.

Excused or Unexcused

AC

ACA Counselor

Academic

MH

Illness - Hospital

Excused

AI

ACA In

Academic

MI

Illness - Home

Excused or Unexcused

AN

ACA Nurse

Academic

MN

Medical Note

Excused or Unexcused

AO

ACA Out

Academic

OE

Emergency

Excused or Unexcused

AS

ACA ISS

Academic

OF

Funeral

Excused or Unexcused

AW

ACA Wellness

Academic

OH

Homebound

Excused

AY

ACA YCAP

Academic

OP

Pre-Arranged

Excused

   

OS

Suspension

Excused

   

OV

Vacation

Excused or Unexcused

SS

School Sponsored – Spectator

Excused or Unexcused

SP

School Sponsored – Participant

Excused

TS

Student Reason

Excused or

Unexcused

TP

Parent Reason

Excused or Unexcused

ZZ

Other

Excused or Unexcused or Academic

TT

Truant

Unexcused

 

Attendance Notification Process

Automated Notification will occur through the telephone system for all students at 10:00AM.  These automated messages go out to the primary phone number of each child who currently has unverified (Web Unexcused) attendance in the system for that day. A second automated call will occur through the telephone system for all students at 6:00PM if they still have unverified absences. 

Office staff will make contact with parents/guardians of any student who misses consecutive days of school, as appropriate, to check on their health and wellbeing.  The purpose of these calls is to ascertain the nature of illness and begin educational planning for missed days of school relative to the expected duration of child’s absence.

Truancy (statutes)

District 834 works with Washington County Truancy Services and follows their guidelines. According to the Washington County “School Attendance Intervention Program” brochure (8-12), “The law is ‘designed to provide a continuum of intervention and services to support families and children in school and in combating truancy. “At 3-5 unexcused absences, the school will notify the parent or guardian that the child is a ‘continuing truant.’ Students and parents will also receive a letter from the County Attorney’s Office. “If the child has 7 unexcused absences, they are then considered ‘habitually truant.’ The school is required to report the student to Washington County after 7-10 unexcused absences.” For more information, go to Washington County’s website www.co.washington.mn.us.

Elementary Classroom Attendance Process

Classroom attendance should be taken after 15 minutes but before 30 minutes of the first bell. Students who arrive 0-15 minutes late marked as tardy (T – Tardy Unexcused).  Students who arrive 15+ minutes late should be marked short (S – Short Day/ALLE). Students who are absent during this time should be marked as absent unexcused (U – Absent Unexcused).  Students who arrive at school 15+ minutes after the first bell must check in at the main office to receive a tardy pass that logs their arrival. When a student hands the tardy pass to their teacher, this communicates to the teacher that the office has accounted for the student’s attendance in Skyward.  If a student arrives 15+ minutes after the bell, but without a tardy pass, the teacher may adjust their attendance in skyward from an unexcused code to a tardy code. When a student arrives 30 minutes or more after the first bell, the student must have a tardy pass; this applied through the course of the entire day.

Teachers are not responsible for making corrections to their student’s attendance resulting from late arrivals after they have already taken and submitted attendance in Skyward. While a teacher may correct attendance up to 30 minutes after the first bell, standard procedure dictates that students will check into the main office and receive a tardy pass if they are 15+ minutes late. 

Students leaving school early for the day must also check out through the office.  A parent or emergency card contact may sign the student out in the Attendance Log.

Elementary Office Attendance Process

The office is responsible for logging student’s arriving and departing from school starting 15 minutes after the first bell and continuing through the end of the school day.  School offices must keep a record of late arrivals (Tardy Pass Log Book), and early leaves (Attendance Sign-out Log).  Both of these logs need to be processed each day.

The Tardy Pass Log Book should contain carbon copies of each tardy slip. By providing these slips to students, the office is communicating to the classroom teacher that the office has processed the late arrival into Skyward. It is critical that the tardy slip include the (1) time of the arrival, (2) whether tardy is excused or unexcused, and (3) indicates if the student arrived more than 2.5 hours after first bell (record # of minutes missed or time). 

Students that leave school early must be signed out using the Attendance Sign-Out Log. The Log should include the student’s name, parent’s name, parent’s signature, reason for leaving, indication of excused/unexcused incident, time-out, and indicate if the student will be missing more than 2 hours and 30 minutes of school (# of minutes missed or time).

Calculating Elementary Attendance

Period 1 

Period 1

Period 2

Period 2

Minutes

 

0-150 Minutes

150+ Minutes

150+ Minutes

0-150 Minutes

Missed

Explanation

 

 

 

 

0

Student present all day

 

 

U/E

 

> 150

Student 1/2 day absence, left 2.5 hours early

 

 

 

S/Z

< 150

Student present all day, left early & missed < 2.5 hours

T/L

 

 

 

< 15

Student present all day, arrive late

T/L

 

U/E

 

> 150

Student 1/2 day absence, arrived late & left 2.5 hours early

T/L

 

 

S/Z

< 150

Student present all day, arrived late and left early but missed < 2.5 hours

S/Z

 

 

 

< 150

Student present all day, arrived late but missed less than 2.5 hours

S/Z

 

U/E

 

> 150

Student ½ day absence, arrived late and left early and missed > 2.5 hours *

S/Z

 

 

S/Z

< 150

Student present all day, arrived late and left early but missed < 2.5 hours

 

U/E

 

 

> 150

Student 1/2 day absence, arrived 2.5 hours late

 

U/E

 

S/Z

> 150

Student 1/2 day absence, arrived 2.5 hours late & left early

 

U/E

U/E

 

> 300

Student 1 day absence, missed > 5 hours.

* If student arrives late and leaves early and misses a total of > 150min of school, then indicate a U/E for period 2 even in either the morning or afternoon absence is > 150 minutes. This indicates to the system that the student missed > 150 minutes and calculates a 1/2 day absence in accordance with ISD#834 policy.

 

Secondary Classroom Attendance Process

Classroom attendance should be taken within 15 minutes of the bell; however teachers must update attendance for students arriving late to class.  Students who arrive after the bell should be marked tardy (T – Tardy Unexcused).  Students who are absent for more than 15 minutes of class shall have their attendance marked with an absence (U – Absent Unexcused).  These updates may all be handled at the end of class.

Teachers are responsible for making corrections to their student’s attendance resulting from late arrivals even after they have already taken and submitted attendance in Skyward.

Students leaving school early for the day must check out through the office.  A parent or emergency card contact may sign the student out in the Attendance Log.  Verifiable notes will be accepted excusing students to leave school early.  Students who will need to leave during class must visit the attendance office beforehand to receive a Permit to Leave Early slip or they may not be excused from class.

Attendance Coding

Tardy incidents apply to any student arriving after the bell and shall be coded at tardy (T – Tardy Unexcused) for that period.  

Tardy Incidents of more than 30 minutes shall be coded with an absence (U – Absent Unexcused) for that period.

Absences will always be marked as U – Absence Unexcused and Tardies will always be marked as T – Tardy Unexcused by teachers. Correcting unexcused absences or tardies requires providing the attendance office with a valid note for an excusable reason within 48 hours of returning to school, as defined in the school handbook.

Secondary Office Attendance Process

The office is responsible for correcting student attendance as logged by parent phone calls, skyward access, permission to leave early slips, attendance logs, absence notes and manual attendance forms.  School offices must keep a record of late arrivals (Tardy Pass Log Book), and early leaves (Attendance Sign-out Log).  Both of these logs need to be processed each day that school is in session.

Students that leave school early must be signed out using the Attendance Sign-Out Log. The Log should include the student’s name, parent’s name, parent’s signature, reason for leaving, indication of excused/unexcused incident, time-out, and indicate the class periods the student will miss.  Students & Parents may visit the office early to sign-out ahead of time and receive a Permit to Leave Early slip.  Students who have a valid Permit to Leave Early slip do not need to sign out again.

Calculating Secondary Attendance

Secondary Attendance Combinations

6 Period Day

 

 

Fully Present

Half Day Absent

Full Day Absent

0-2 Period Absent

3-4 Periods Absent

5-6 Periods Absent

   

7 Period Day

  

Fully Present

Half Day Absent

Full Day Absent

0-3 Period Absent

4-5 Periods Absent

6-7 Periods Absent

   

8 Period Day

  

Fully Present

Half Day Absent

Full Day Absent

0-3 Period Absent

4-5 Periods Absent

6-8 Periods Absent

 

 

Absence Reason Explanations

AA

ACA Admin

Academic

Student is with school administrator

AC

ACA Counselor

Academic

Student is with school counselor

AI

ACA In

Academic

Student is in other setting in school / on campus

AN

ACA Nurse

Academic

Student is with a nurse or health para

AO

ACA Out

Academic

Student is in other setting out of school / off campus

AS

ACA ISS

Academic

Student is serving and in school suspension

AW

ACA Wellness

Academic

Student is visiting the wellness center

AY

ACA YCAP

Academic

Student is at YCAP

MA

Medical Appt.

Excused or Unexcused

Student has a medical appointment including dentist, doctor, therapist, etc. (medical slip required)

MH

Illness - Hospital

Excused

Student is hospitalized

MI

Illness - Home

Excused or Unexcused

Student is sick

MN

Medical Note

Excused or Unexcused

Student is sick, visited doctor’s office.

(medical slip/note required)

OE

Emergency

Excused or Unexcused

Family emergencies are major events beyond the family's control including; home fire, injury of a family member, law enforcement event, or other major crisis.

OF

Funeral

Excused or Unexcused

Funeral of a family member.

OH

Homebound

Excused

Special education assigned

OP

Pre-Arranged

Excused

Site administrator approved pre-arranged absence

OS

Suspension

Excused

Student is suspended from school

OV

Vacation

Excused or Unexcused

Family vacation (one) pre-arranged and pre-approved by site administration.

SP

School Sponsored – Participant

Excused

Student is attending a school sponsored event as a player or direct participant (band, sports, club member)

SS

School Sponsored – Spectator

Excused or Unexcused

Student is attending a school sponsored event as a spectator or audience participant.

TP

Parent Reason

Excused or Unexcused

Student is tardy due to parent behavior or circumstance.

TS

Student Reason

Excused or

Unexcused

Student is tardy due to student behavior or circumstance.

ZZ

Other

Excused or Unexcused or Academic

Anything not otherwise listed here.

TT

Truant

Unexcused

Student does not have a valid excuse for their absence or no communication with the parent has been received.

Information Sources

MDE Q&A for Attendance

Minnesota Attendance Statutes

Required Instructional Hours Statute

Truancy Statutes

Stillwater Schools Board Policy

Stillwater Area High School & ALC Attendance Policy

Stillwater Middle School Attendance Policy

Oak-Land Middle School Attendance Policy

Elementary Attendance Policy