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Attendance Policy Overview

Attendance Officer

The Chelsea Public Schools Attendance Officer is Mr. Phillip Carangelo who may be contacted at 617.466.5043.

All students must attend school regularly if they are to earn a diploma or certificate of attendance. We expect that students will miss no more than eight (8) days during the entire 180-day school year. It is important that both students and parents understand the details of the attendance policy explained in this section.

A student may have no more than two (2) unexcused absences during each quarter. If a student has three (3) or more unexcused absences in a quarter, consequences will apply.

Important Attendance Definitions

  • Absence: A student is considered absent if they are not present in a class regardless of the reason. The only exceptions are school events that require the student to be out of class.
  • Excused Absence: An absence is considered excused if the student brings a note signed by a parent within three (3) days of the absence. There is a limit of three (3) parent notes per quarter. (See absence note procedures.) Situations that require a student to miss more than three days will be handled on an individual basis.
  • Excused Absences Impact on Grades: Students have the right to make up 100% of all missed work opportunities that impact their course grade when they are out of school because of an excused absence. Students who are absent from school are responsible for completing any class work and homework missed. Teachers will allow students a minimum of two school days for each excused absence day to make up work. In situations where it is not possible for the student to make up work such as a lab, performance assessment or an activity that required the student to be present, the teacher will provide an alternative assignment with an equal point value. If no alternative assignment is provided, the missed work cannot be included in the student’s grade calculation.
  • Unexcused absence: An absence is considered unexcused if the student does not bring a note or the absence note is not considered excused by the administration. See the detailed consequences of unexcused absences below.
  • Attendance Failure Penalty: A student with a passing grade in a class who accumulates three (3) or more unexcused absences for that class will receive a quarter grade of “E,” which indicates the student has been given a lower grade (E grades represent a score of 60) because of poor attendance. This penalty can be temporary – see below.

Consequences for Unexcused Absences

An unexcused absence will result in the student losing the privilege of participating in any after school activity, including but not limited to athletic games and practices, dances, club activities and all other extracurricular events. If the unexcused absence occurs the day before a weekend or holiday, the loss of privileges includes the any school activity or event that takes place during the holiday and or weekend.

Students will receive a quarter grade of “E,” or an attendance failure (E grades = 60), for any class in which they have three (3) or more unexcused absences. Attendance failures (E grades) are considered 60 percent in Aspen; E’s are not F’s in terms of GPA or credit for a course, although they certainly affect GPA and may result in credit loss depending upon other quarter grades earned in a course. A student who receives a letter grade of “E” for any class, will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular or after school activity. This includes but is not limited to athletic teams, dances and club activities.

Changing an Attendance Failure to a Passing Grade

If a student receives a quarter grade of “E,” an attendance failure, they will have one opportunity to earn a passing grade as long as the class continues on to the next quarter. To earn their passing grade, a student must have no more than two (2) unexcused absences in the quarter after they receive the “E.”

Example 1: If a student has earned a letter grade of “C” for the 1st quarter in a World History class, but has three (3) unexcused absences, the student’s 1st quarter grade will be reported as an “E,” attendance failure (60). If at the conclusion of the 2nd quarter the student has two (2) or fewer unexcused absences, the 1st quarter grade will change from an “E” to a “C” in the World History class.

Example 2: If a student has earned a letter grade of “B” for the 1st quarter in their Algebra 1 class, but has three (3) or more unexcused absences, the student’s 1st quarter grade will be reported as an “E,” an attendance failure (60). If in the 2nd quarter the student again has three (3) or more unexcused absences the grade of “E” will appear for both the 1st and 2nd quarters. If a student has three (3) or more unexcused absences in the 4th quarter, there is no opportunity to raise the attendance failure grades of E (60).

Unexcused Absence Rules Applicable to All Quarters.

  1. Students cannot recover grades for the 4th quarter of full-year courses, or for courses shorter than a semester (quarter-length electives).
  2. Students cannot recover grades for the 2nd quarter of half-year (semester-length) courses.

The Principal or a designated representative can excuse an absence, under the guidelines listed below, provided a parent or guardian submits a written request (note) for an absence to be excused. The Principal will accept parent notes only on the three days immediately following a student’s return to school from an absence. Excused absences include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:

  • Illness or injury verified with a parent/guardian note (limited to three days per quarter for a student with zero unexcused absences, two days per quarter with one unexcused absences and one day with two unexcused absences)
  • Illness or injury verified with a doctor’s note
  • Emergency medical/dental visit with a parent/guardian note
  • Bereavement (death in the immediate family) with a parent/guardian note
  • Court/legal obligation with a parent/guardian note
  • College visit (seniors only – limited to two days per quarter) with a parent/guardian note
  • Extraordinary circumstances on a case-by-case basis
  • The Principal or designated representative will not excuse routine medical/dental appointments or other non-emergency events that can be scheduled after school.

Students who are absent from school are responsible for completing any class and homework missed. Teachers will allow students a minimum of two days to make up each day of missed work. At the end of each quarter, the Principal will convene an Attendance Appeal Board to hear parent/guardian appeals. Daily attendance calls will be made to the parent/guardian of absent students.

Absence Note Procedures

Teachers will take attendance for each class during each period of the day.

A student returning to school from an absence will bring a note from a parent/guardian within the three days immediately following the student’s return to school. The purpose of the note is to request an “excused” absence under one of the categories listed below:

All notes must include the following:
a. Student’s full name (printed);
b. Student identification number;
c. Date(s) of the absence;
d. The reason for the absence;
e. Supporting documentation (for 3. b. above);
f. A contact telephone number so the school can confirm the note with the
parent/guardian;
g. The parent’s/guardian’s printed name and signature.

The student will turn in the note to the Main Office from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. or from 2:20p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students will complete an informational Attendance Review form located in the main office, after two days it is the students’ responsibility to check their Aspen account on the computer system for the final decision. The school will not accept notes received after the third day of the student’s return to school. In these cases, the parent/guardian will have to request a hearing before the Attendance Appeal Board at the end of the quarter.

A designated representative will make an “excused” or “unexcused” determination as quickly as possible and provide the decision to the student in Aspen.

Parents/guardians may request a hearing before the Attendance Appeal Board by contacting the Attendance Office. The Attendance Appeal Board will meet at the end of each quarter to consider parent/guardian attendance appeals.

A student may have no more than two (2) unexcused absences during each quarter. If a student has three (3) or more unexcused absences in a quarter, consequences, outlined in the attendance policy overview, will apply. The school principal, or designee, shall be responsible for viewing attendance records and initiating appropriate actions to address repeated pupil absences and tardiness, and the principal and superintendent will retain discretionary judgment to modify these practices should exceptional circumstances warrant.

Communication: The school will make an automated phone call home in the evening on the day of a student’s absence. When students are absent the parent/guardian must send a note explaining the absence within three days of the student’s return to school. If a student is absent for more than three days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) during any academic quarter, the school administration, officer of attendance, or designee, will determine through whatever means available, the reasons for the absence, provide additional assistance, and otherwise engage student and parents/guardians to prevent repeated and unexplained patterns of absence.

In addition, parents will receive written notification from the attendance officer if students are absent more than three days in a quarter. Parents/guardians are requested to attend a meeting with the attendance officer to resolve the issue or create an attendance plan. Letters are sent home to parents when students are absent seven days or more during a school year. Parents/guardians are required to set up a meeting with the Supervisor of Attendance to review or create an attendance plan.

Referrals: Students and parents requiring help or support will be referred to appropriate programs for additional support. Examples may include, but are not limited to making a referral to a student support team, Instructional Support Team, mentoring program, social worker and/or guidance counselor, health centers, substance abuse programs, and/or community based agencies.

Consequences: Absence on the day of an event, or the day before a weekend event results in the student losing the privilege of participating in any school sponsored activity, including but not limited to athletic games and practices, dances, club activities, or any other extracurricular events.

Sanctions/Further Interventions for excessive absences, tardiness or truancy:

If a child’s absence or tardiness becomes excessive (three days per quarter or seven cumulative days within a six month period) the principal may notify the Truant Officer. A child is considered habitually truant when absences exceeds 8 school days in a quarter.

Reports of unresolved truancy, chronic tardiness and/or absenteeism or habitual truancy may result in the filing of one or more of the following with the Suffolk County Juvenile Court: (a) “ child requiring assistance” (CRA) Petition (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 119, sec. 21); (b) a Failure to Cause Complaint (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76, sec. 2); (c) an Inducing Absenteeism of a Minor, Complaint (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76, sec. 4 or (d) a 51A for educational neglect with the Department of Children and Families.

Inducing Absences: Whoever induces or attempts to induce a minor to absent himself unlawfully from school, or unlawfully employs him or harbors a minor who, while school is in session, is absent unlawfully there from, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars. Amended by St. 1969, C.543.

Massachusetts General Law: Chapter 76, s 4.

Early Dismissal from School

Students will not normally be dismissed during school hours except for family or medical emergencies that are readily verifiable, personal illness that is verified by the school nurse, and school sponsored activities. (NOTE: NON-EMERGENCY APPOINTMENTS ARE STRONGLY DISCOURAGED AND SHOULD BE SCHEDULED AFTER SCHOOL HOURS.)

In order to be dismissed from school students must bring a parent/guardian note to the Main Office before 7:55 a.m. Notes received after 7:55 a.m. may not be accepted. Walk-in and/or telephone dismissals after 7:55 a.m. are difficult to process, may result in a delayed dismissal, or may not be accepted.

Contacting parents/guardians by cell phone to initiate a walk-in dismissal is strongly discouraged. Students who are dismissed early are responsible for meeting with their teachers to get missed assignments. The student must complete and pass in all work by a date determined by each teacher. Additionally, students must return documentation to the school, in accordance with the attendance policy to have their absence from class(es) excused.

Notes for dismissal from parents or guardians will be followed up with a telephone confirmation to verify the dismissal and time. Parents, guardians, or students contacts MUST be listed on the computer system in order for a student to be released to them. Students who are 18 years old and are not identified as their own guardian will NOT be allowed to write a dismissal note or dismiss themselves.

Any student denied early dismissal who leaves school grounds without permission will receive up to three days of in-school suspension and be considered absent from any classes missed during the unauthorized absence.

Failure to Report to a Class (Skipping Class)

Failure to report to any class is a serious offense and adversely impacts academic performance. Students who fail to report to class will accrue an absence for the class missed and forfeit class credit as determined by the teacher. Administrators or the dean of students may require a meeting with the student’s parent/guardian or with a counselor, and/or may assign the student a detention or a suspension.