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Policy 9010 – Attendance

The purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for student attendance, provide guidance for attendance monitoring and recording, and identify structures that support students’ attendance.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is committed to ensuring that a quality education is provided for each student in a welcoming environment. Daily attendance is essential to student achievement and required in order to demonstrate mastery of material and receive credit for a course. The Board recognizes the strong correlation between regular attendance, academic achievement, and the completion of school and future success. The Board of Education further believes that regular attendance is a shared responsibility of the family, the student, and the school.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for student attendance, provide guidance for attendance monitoring and recording, and identify structures that support students’ attendance.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Absence – The failure of a student to be present in school/class or at a school-related activity.

  2. Attendance – The act of being present at school or school-related activities.

  3. Attendance Source Documents – Electronic records that are maintained by classroom teacher, homeroom teacher, substitute or other school-based employee that document the student’s attendance.

  4. Chronically Absent – A year-to-date absence rate of 10% or more, including both lawful and unlawful absences.

  5. Discretionary Absence – Absence requested by a parent/guardian and approved by a school administrator that satisfies the criteria in Section III.H.11. below.

  6. Emancipated Student – A student who meets one or more of the following conditions:

    1. The student is under age 21 and married,

    2. The student is under age 18 and has been declared emancipated by the court,

    3. The student is age 18-21 and is living independently of the student’s parents.

  7. Habitual Truant – A student who met ALL of the following criteria during the school year:

    1. The student was age 5 through 20.

    2. The student was enrolled in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) for 91 or more days.

    3. The student was unlawfully absent for 20% or more of the days of enrollment.

  8. Lawful Absence – An excused absence for any portion of the day under the following conditions:

    1. Death in the immediate family

    2. Illness of the student

    3. Pregnancy and parenting needs

    4. Court summons

    5. Hazardous weather conditions

    6. Work approved or sponsored by the school

    7. Observance of a religious holiday

    8. State emergency

    9. Suspension

    10. Lack of authorized transportation

    11. Other emergency or set of circumstances which, in the judgment of the Superintendent or designee, constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence from school.

  9. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101(c) (Informal Kinship Care) or has been issued a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Verification of Release form entering into a custodial arrangement with the federal government.

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article §5-507.

  10. Parenting Student – A student who is a parent of a child. This includes the mother and father.

  11. Religious Holiday – A traditional and customary day of religious observance, excluding regular weekly prayer, services, or practices. (Policy 3000 Religious Observances)

  12. School-Related Activity – Any school system activity, whether held on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g., school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being there (e.g., spectator at a school event).

  13. Truant – A student who is absent for a day or any portion of a day for any reason other than those cited as lawful in COMAR 13A.08.01.03 and/or failure to bring a note written by a parent to verify a lawful absence.

  14. Unlawful Absence – An unexcused absence, including absence for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed as unlawful and may constitute truancy. Students unlawfully absent are considered truant. (COMAR 13A.08.01.04).

IV. Standards

  1. Annual Notification

    Attendance guidelines will be communicated annually to all students, parents, and school-based employees.

  2. Attendance Expectations

    All students are expected to attend school regularly in accordance with state law and regulation and this policy and may be excused from class or school only for reasons as specified in state law and regulation and this policy.

  3. Discipline

    Disciplinary consequences for unlawful/unexcused absences will be applied as outlined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. Students cannot be suspended or expelled solely for attendance-related offenses.

  4. Entry/Exit

    For enrollment purposes, students will be entered and exited using the procedures outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  5. Make-up Work

    1. A student may make up work missed due to lawful absence and receive a recorded grade in accordance with Policies 8010 Grading and Reporting: Prekindergarten through Grade 5 and 8020 Grading and Reporting: Middle and High School.

    2. A pregnant or parenting student may choose one of the following alternatives to make up work that the student missed:

      1. Retake a semester;

      2. Participate in an online course credit recovery program; or

      3. Allow the student six weeks to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date.

  6. Monitoring of Attendance

    Teachers will maintain daily/period attendance records for all students.

  7. Retention of Attendance Source Documents

    Attendance source documents will be retained in accordance with guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  8. Support for Students

    Proactive supports and interventions will be provided through the HCPSS attendance strategies and school problem-solving teams for all students.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will monitor standards and procedures related to attendance as set forth in state law and policy.

  2. Principals will inform students, employees, and parents annually of the provisions of this policy.

  3. Principals will assign and oversee personnel to monitor the recording of daily/period attendance, report student absences (lawful and unlawful), and enter and withdraw students for purposes of enrollment.

  4. Teachers will maintain daily/period attendance electronically in accordance with guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  5. The Technology Department will retain attendance source documents in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Maryland Student Records System Manual.

  6. Teachers will provide make-up work for students who are lawfully absent.

  7. Students will be in school or attend a school-related activity each day school is in session.

  8. School-based problem solving teams will develop interventions and provide support to students who are chronically absent or habitually truant.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §§7-301 through 7-305

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.02, Age for School Attendance

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.03, Lawful Absence

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.04, Unlawful Absence

C. Other

  • Maryland Student Records System Manual

  • Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

  • Student Code of Conduct

VIII. History

ADOPTED: April 23, 1992

REVIEWED: July 1, 2012

MODIFIED: September 19, 2017

REVISED: June 10, 1999, June 21, 2005, October 27, 2005, June 20, 2006, July 14, 2011, June 11, 2020

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2020