A copy of the District's Policy 204: Attendance can be viewed here.
Pennsylvania law states that
- 3 or more unlawful absences is considered truant.
- After 6 unlawful absences, student will be referred to the Solutions/SAP Team.
Chester Upland's district policy allows the parents up to 10 unlawful absences before the parent is referred to District Court for truancy.
- Parents receive the 1st written notice after the 3 unlawful absences and a 2nd notice after 6 unlawful absences, with a 3rd written notice at 10 unlawful absences.
- Students who have displayed questionable patterns or excessive patterns of lateness will be subject to penalties associated with compulsory school attendance law.
The Chester Upland School District and the City of Chester Police Department will cooperatively implement a Truancy intervention Program (TIP).
Counseling strategies and interventions will be implemented to help prevent future truancy. This program encourages parent involvement, district/school collaboration and community partnerships to reduce truant behaviors and improve the social emotional health of students and their families.
The Truancy Program consists of seven basic components:
- Removal of Students who are truant or in violation of day time curfew during the school day, from city streets and/or local businesses from 8:30am – 3:00pm.
- Citations will be issued to students, parents, home/store owners and or employees of establishments wherein truants may be found.
- Services will be received from the Attendance Improvement Center staff. The staff will provide comprehensive and student-specific, family-specific support tailored to address truancy risk factors.
- Referrals will be made to District Court, for violations of Pennsylvania State Law in regards to compulsory school attendance.
- Strategies from research, parents, school based teams, community and Faith Based Institutions will be encouraged to address/support student-specific strategies.
- Hotline Services has established a 24-Hour Hotline for parents and residents to report truancy and provide student-specific strategies. The Truancy Hotline number is 610-499-2666.
- Evidence-Based Reporting from the program administrator will be submitted quarterly to the Superintendent regarding program impact on truancy reduction and student follow-up.
Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in the schools during the days and hours that the school is in session, except that a principal or teacher may excuse a student for temporary absences when she/he receives satisfactory evidence of such mental, physical, or other urgent conditions which may reasonably cause the student’s absence.
Prior to an anticipated student absence for the observance of a religious holiday (not listed on the approved school calendar), the parent must submit a written request to the Principal for an approved absence. All absences which are approved by the Principal for observance of a religious holiday shall be considered excused absences, and those excused students shall not be deprived of an award or eligibility to compete for an award, or the opportunity to make-up a test given on the religious holiday.
Attendance need not always be within the school facilities, but a student will be considered to be if attendance present at any place where school is in session by authority of the Board, or at the place where the student is receiving approved tutorial instruction or health care, or at the place where the student is engaged in an approved and properly supervised work-study or career education program, or at home when the student is receiving approved homebound.
Students with repeated infractions of Board policy requiring the attendance of enrolled students must come before the school-based team to mitigate the problem.
Rules to follow when absent:
- A note from a parent is necessary to excuse any absence and must be submitted within 3 days of returning to school.
- Lawful absences are those for reasons of students illness, death in the immediate family, religious observances,
- Violent/hazardous weather, school emergency, state emergency or work/activity accepted by local school authorities.
- Students are responsible for making up work missed during absences.
Board shall excuse the following students from the requirements of attendance at the schools when:
- students are certified by a physician or who have submitted other satisfactory evidence and on approval of the Department of Education, or students who are unable to attend school or apply themselves to study for mental, physical or other reasons so urgent as to preclude regular attendance.
- students are enrolled in nonpublic or private schools in which the subjects and activities prescribe, by law are taught, except that such students as students attending college who are also enrolled part-time in the schools of this district shall be counted as being in attendance in this district.
- students who are 16 or 17 years of age whose enrollments in a private trade or business school have been approved.
- students who are16 years of age regularly employed during the school session and holding a lawfully issued employment certificate.
The Board may report to appropriate authorities’ infractions of the law regarding the attendance of students below the age of seventeen. The Board shall issue notice to those parents and guardians who fail to comply with the statutory requirements of compulsory attendance that such infractions of the statute will be prosecuted.
A student who has been absent shall be required to bring a parent-signed excuse upon return to school. An excuse must be on file for every absence. The district may investigate when the authenticity of a note is questionable.
The Principal or designee is charged with classifying absences as excused or un-excused when:
- students are required to make up class work within five days upon returning to school.
- students are responsible for obtaining class work from their teacher or teachers at the secondary level.
- after three days of un-excused absences, the parents will be served a legal notice concerning the violation. Legal action will be taken to enforce compliance with the law.
- whenever parents request an excused absence for any educational experience, which may include a family trip, the principal should monitor the experience and consider approval for an excused absence whenever the student:
- is in good academic standing
- has a good attendance record
- and arranges in advance for make-up work
District Wide Attendance
Attendance district wide will be set at 95% for elementary schools and 90% for secondary schools.
Absences During Suspension
Best practices suggest that teachers provide make up work for students during suspensions that are longer than three days.
Summer School Attendance
Students who have missed more than 18 days during the school year will not be eligible to make up courses for credit/promotion through summer school.
The Superintendent shall develop procedures by which to implement this policy. All teachers and principals shall assume responsibility for enforcing compulsory attendance laws.