Attendance

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, “attendance” means students who are in class or in a school-approved activity.  If a student is in attendance up to one half the total instructional time during a school day, the student will be counted as having attended one-half of a school day.  If the student attends school for more than one-half of the total instructional time, the student will be counted as having attended for the full day.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “habitual truant” means a student who has accumulated the equivalent of ten (10) or more unexcused absences within a school year.

For the purposes of this procedural directive, “student in need of early intervention” means a student who has accumulated five unexcused absences within a school year.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

Schools shall comply with the Albuquerque Public Schools Student Behavior Handbook when determining excused and unexcused absences.

Excused Absences

Absences may be excused for the following reasons with proper notification:

  • Illness (including chronic illness documented on a health plan, IEP or 504 plan)
  • Limited family emergencies
  • Family deaths
  • Medical, health or legal appointments
  • Suspensions
  • Religious commitments
  • College visits
  • Deployment of a military parent
  • Limited extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the school principal

Interscholastic Activities and Absences

No student shall be absent from school for school-sponsored interscholastic activities in excess of fifteen (15) days per semester, and no class shall be missed in excess of fifteen (15) times per semester.

Religious Instruction Excusal

A student may, subject to the approval of the school principal, be excused from school to participate in religious instruction for not more than one class period each school day with the written consent of the student's parents at a time period not in conflict with the academic program of the school.

Pregnant/Parenting Student Excusal

Albuquerque Public Schools shall permit at least ten (10) days of excused absences for a student who provides documentation of the birth of the student’s child and parentage.  Albuquerque Public Schools shall provide additional excused absences to a student after the birth of the student’s child if deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician.

Albuquerque Public Schools shall permit four (4) days of excused absences, in addition to the number of days of excused absences provided under other provisions of Board of Education policy and administrative procedural directive, for a student who provides appropriate documentation of pregnancy or that the student is the parent of a child under the age of thirteen needing care.

Unexcused Absences

All absences for reasons not included under excused absences shall be considered unexcused.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-school sponsored activities or trips
  • Family vacations outside of the normally scheduled school breaks

Attendance Monitoring in Albuquerque Public Schools

New Mexico state statute states:

Any parent, guardian or person having custody and control of a person subject to the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law is responsible for the school attendance of that person.

Students in need of early intervention or students with attendance problems may be referred to the school Student Assistance Team and/or school Health and Wellness Team for intervention.  Please refer to the “School Assistance Team” procedural directive for further information.

Elementary and Middle School Attendance Monitoring Process

Each elementary and middle school shall, at a minimum, explain the school’s attendance monitoring process and solicit recommendations and suggestions from families at least annually.  The school process shall include at least the following:

  • Parents/legal guardians shall call the school to report the absence of their student.
  • Schools shall request that calls regarding absences be completed as early in the school day as possible, however, schools shall accept calls regarding absences until the end of the instructional day.
  • If the school has not been given prior notice by phone, the parent/legal guardian shall provide the school with a written explanation concerning all student absences upon the student's return to school.
  • The school shall record absences daily.
  • Parents/legal guardians shall be informed at each official reporting period of the number of absences for each student.
  • Teachers shall be informed of calls concerning student absences.
  • Parents/legal guardians shall notify the school of anticipated absences because of trips, family emergencies, and medical or agency appointments.
  • As a means of early intervention, each school shall attempt to investigate unexcused absences through telephone contact or home visits with parents/legal guardians as soon as possible and advise them regarding the importance of regular school attendance and the legal implications involved.  This contact attempt shall be documented by the end of the fourth day on any unexplained absences of three consecutive days.
  • The school shall keep a record of excused and unexcused absences.
    • In compliance with state regulation, all unexcused absences of two (2) or more classes up to fifty percent (50%) of an instructional day shall be reported a one-half day absence and an unexcused absence of more than fifty percent (50%) of an instructional day shall be reported as one full-day absence.
    • For elementary schools the instructional day shall be determined by the school daily schedule

High School Attendance Monitoring Process

Each high school shall, at a minimum, explain its attendance monitoring process and solicit recommendations and suggestions from families at least annually.  The school process shall include at least the following:

  • Parents/legal guardians are expected to contact the school regarding student absences within twenty-four (24) hours after date of absence.
  • Teachers shall record absences each class period electronically and in their grade books, as a back-up to reporting such absences to the attendance office to be recorded.
  • The school shall keep a record of excused and unexcused absences.
    • In compliance with state regulation, all unexcused absences of two (2) or more classes up to fifty percent (50%) of an instructional day shall be reported a one-half day absence and an unexcused absence of more than fifty percent (50%) of an instructional day shall be reported as one full-day absence.
    • Parents/legal guardians shall be informed on the nine-week and semester report cards of the number of absences for each student.
    • As a means of early intervention, each school shall attempt to investigate unexcused absences through telephone contact, intervention meeting(s) with parents/legal guardians and students and/or home visits with parents/legal guardians as soon as possible to determine a truancy reduction intervention plan and advise them regarding the importance of regular school attendance and the legal implications involved. If family problems appear to be involved, families may be counseled to see help from appropriate community services. The contact attempt(s) shall be documented by the end of the fifth day on any unexcused absences of three consecutive days.

Students Who Have Exceeded Absence Limitations and Who Move to New Attendance Areas

A student in this category shall be allowed to enter school in the attendance area to which the student has moved if the student has not been long-term suspended or expelled from the prior school.    The student and parents/legal guardians shall be advised that prior absences shall be taken into consideration if a pattern of absenteeism recurs at the school of new enrollment.

Chronic Attendance Problems

In compliance with state statute, students who have not been in school and who request to enroll late shall be enrolled.  Grades and credits for the semester shall be determined by the teacher(s) in consultation with the principal, or his/her designee, and are dependent upon the effort and achievement demonstrated by the student during the time the student is enrolled. The student and his/her parents/legal guardians shall be made aware of this provision upon enrollment.

For students in need of early intervention the principal, or his/her designee, shall hold a conference with parents/legal guardians, student, nurse, counselors, teachers and/or the school Health and Wellness team.  This conference shall attempt to investigate the reason(s) for the student’s unexcused absences, establish a truancy reduction intervention plan and advise parents/guardians regarding the importance of regular school attendance and the legal implications involved.  If family problems appear to be involved, families may be counseled to seek help from appropriate community services.  This conference shall be documented as part of the school intervention efforts to reduce or eliminate truancy.

Should the conference described above fail, and the student is a habitual truant, a summary of the problem with documentation of the school's efforts shall be transmitted to the Albuquerque Public School Attendance /Special Projects Manager.  The Attendance/Special Projects Manager shall take appropriate action in compliance with state statute.  At this point, referral of the student and family shall be made to the probation services office of the judicial district where the student resides.  Probation may refer the student and family to the court.  The court may issue legal notice be served on the parents/legal guardians or other persons having custody of the student.

If all intervention efforts have been exhausted and if the student has another unexcused absence within seven (7) days of the receipt of notice, the school shall notify the Attendance/Special Projects Manager who shall then take appropriate action under the provisions of state statute and the child shall be disenrolled.

Albuquerque Public Schools may refer students who are habitual truants to the probation office of the judicial district where the student resides. The probation office may contact the district attorney if habitual truancy by a student may have been caused by the parent/legal guardian.

Out-of-school suspension and expulsion shall not be used as punishment of unexcused absences and/or habitual truancy.

Make-up Work and Grades

When a student is absent from school due to an excused absence that student shall be allowed to make up work missed. Parents/legal guardians shall be notified through newsletters, school handbooks, or any other community communication, that it is the parent/legal guardian’s responsibility to notify the school of the student’s absence and the reason for the absence.

If the student is or will be absent, the parent/legal guardian may call the school and request make-up work.  Teachers shall be granted at least twenty-four (24) hours from the time of request to compile the assignments.

It is the student's responsibility to request make-up assignments upon return from excused   and/or unexcused absences.  Failure to request make-up assignments shall not minimize the importance of make-up assignments and their impact on the student's progress.  The student shall have the opportunity to complete the work in a period of time equal to the number of days absent unless this creates an undue hardship for the student. When a student is absent, make-up work may be adjusted from the original assignment so that learning needs are met without overburdening the student, teacher, or parent/legal guardian.

No student shall be refused permission to make up work missed during an excused absence. In general, for authorized or excused absences the student shall be afforded the opportunity to make up all work without penalty within a reasonable length of time.  In cases of unauthorized or unexcused absences exceeding ten (10) days, the principal, or his/her designee and teacher shall judge the merit of providing make up work.  Each judgment shall be made on a case-by-case basis.

Grades shall not automatically be reduced because of attendance or disciplinary action. Grading plans may include participation grades as a part of an overall grading method.  Student’s grades may suffer as a result of mathematical averaging of missed assignments or zero participation grades. However, grades shall not be reduced as a direct penalty for non-attendance.

Exemptions from School Attendance

Albuquerque Public Schools shall permit exemptions from school attendance only for reasons outlined in state law.  Applications for exemption from school attendance, in accordance with state law, shall originate with the student and parent or legal guardian. Upon receiving a request for exemption from compulsory school attendance, a conference with the school counselor and principal shall be arranged within five (5) school days to discuss alternatives and the reasons for the request. After a conference with the counselor and principal, the request for exemption, accompanied by the student's transcript and the counselor’s recommendation, in memo form, shall be forwarded to the superintendent or his/her designee within three (3) days.

If the student leaves school before the application for exemption process is complete, an educational neglect suit may be filed with district court or with the Children Youth and Family Department. Exemption from school attendance becomes official when the request is signed by the superintendent or his/her designee. The student shall remain on the school roll until officially exempted.  Completed forms shall be on file in the Student, School and Community Services Office.

Exemptions from public school attendance shall not be final and irrevocable. Re-admittance to public schools at a later date shall be considered if the student and/or parent or legal guardian makes a request to the school principal.

Administrative Position:

  • Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Support

Department Director:

  • Director of Coordinated School Health
  • Director of Student, School and Community Service Center

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-12-1 et. seq. NMSA 1978
  • NMAC 6.10.8

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JHD

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: July 1998
Reviewed: September 24, 2010
Reviewed: October 15, 2010
Reviewed: November 8, 2010 (Exemptions from School Attendance; Absences, Make-up Work and Grades; Attendance Monitoring)
Reviewed: May 8, 2013
Revised: May 22, 2013


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