Attendance

Definitions

Student Attendance Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, “attendance” means students who are in class or in a school-approved activity.  If a student attends 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, “absence” means a student who is not in attendance for a class or school day for any reason, whether excused or not; provided that "absent" does not apply to participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities. Students are provided no more than fifteen (15) days per semester for interscholastic extracurricular activities.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “chronic absenteeism” means a student who has been absent for ten (10) percent or more school days for any reason, whether excused or not, when enrolled for more than ten days in the school.  Students with chronic absenteeism receive early intervention strategies. In the full instructional calendar for Albuquerque Public Schools, ten percent is eighteen (18) days.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “excessive absenteeism” means a student who has been absent for twenty (20) percent or more school days for any reason, whether excused or not, when enrolled for more than ten days.  Students with excessive absenteeism receive intensive support strategies. In the full instructional calendar for Albuquerque Public Schools, twenty percent is 36 days.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “tardy” means when a secondary student (7th-12th grade) arrives to any class period during the school day after the scheduled tardy time  or when an elementary student (K-5th grade) arrives after the official start time of the school day. A tardy shall not be recorded as an absence. A student who arrives after 51 percent of the period/school day has occurred will be counted as absent.

School and District Attendance Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, “attendance team” means a group that may include school-based administrators, teachers, staff, other school personnel and community members who collaborate and coordinate the implementation of a school attendance improvement plan and/or attendance activities.

For purposes of this procedural directive, "chronic absence rate" means the percentage of students, in the aggregate and disaggregated subgroups required per the Every Student Succeeds Act, in a public school and a school district who have been enrolled for at least ten days and who have missed ten percent or more of school days since the beginning of the school year.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “district attendance performance framework” means a data-informed system for the district to identify, support, and report improvement of school attendance improvement plans and activities.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “early warning system” means a data system that utilizes classroom and student attendance data to track and identify students at risk of chronic absenteeism or excessive absenteeism.

For purposes of this procedural directive,  “school attendance improvement plan” means an annual school plan to implement a tiered and data-informed system in which schools develop and implement whole-school prevention and intervention strategies and provide attendance intervention strategies to students who are chronically or excessively absent.  The tiers consist of:

  • “whole school intervention” includes universal, whole-school prevention strategies for all students, including students who have missed less than five percent of classes or school days for any reason
  •   “individualized prevention” includes targeted prevention strategies for individual students who are missing five (5) percent or more but less than ten (10) percent of classes or school days for any reason
  • “early intervention” includes interventions for students who are missing ten (10) percent or more but less than twenty (20) percent of classes or school days for any reason (also known as chronically absent)
  • “intensive support” includes interventions for students who are missing twenty (20) percent or more of classes or school days for any reason (also known as excessively absent)

For purposes of this procedural directive, “suspension” means the removal of a student from school and all school-related activities.  Schools shall not utilize out-of-school suspension or expulsion as punishment for absences. Absenteeism is not considered a student discipline issue.  In-school suspension, out-of-school suspension and expulsion are prohibited as punishment for absences. Out-of-school suspension counts as a student absence that may require intervention and support. In-school suspension does not count as an absence and must provide the same opportunity to quality of educational setting as a normal school day.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “long-term suspension” means the removal of a student from school and all school-related activities for more than ten (10) days, the remainder of the semester or longer as determined by the hearing officer in cases that are near the end of a given semester.  A student receiving long-term suspension may lose credit for the semester unless placed in an alternative school setting.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “short-term suspension” can be in school or out-of-school and means the removal of a student from school and all school-related activities for no more than five (5) days.  A student receiving short-term suspension shall be allowed to make up work.

For purposes of this procedural directive,  "in-school suspension" means suspending a student from one or more regular classes while requiring the student to spend the time in a designated area at the same school or elsewhere.  In-school suspension shall include restorative practices and instruction. In-school suspensions may not be counted toward absences from school.

Attendance for Success

Student attendance is a critical educational process component. Students, families and APS personnel must work together to promote student success by encouraging daily student attendance. Attendance positively correlates to student success and should not be treated as a disciplinary issue, but rather lead to conversations with students and families to improve attendance.

Except as otherwise provided in the Public School Code, a school-age person shall attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution until the school-age person is at least eighteen (18) years of age unless that school-age person has graduated from high school, received a high school equivalency credential or withdrawn from school on a hardship waiver.  A parent/guardian may give written, signed permission for the school-age person to leave school between the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) in case of hardship approved by the local superintendent or private school. A school-age person subject to the provisions of the Attendance for Success Act shall attend school for the length of time established in that school-age person's school district, charter school or private school.  The school district or private school shall not excuse a school-age person from attending school except as provided in that act.

The parent/guardian of a school-age person, subject to the provisions of the Attendance for Success Act, is responsible for their attendance.

Attendance improvement plans, activities and interventions shall focus on:

  • Keeping students in an educational setting
  • Prohibiting out-of-school suspension or expulsion as the punishment for absences
  • Assisting a student's family to remove barriers to the student's regular school attendance or attendance in another educational setting
  •  Identifying solutions to improve a student’s attendance and discuss necessary interventions for the student or the student’s family
  • Providing additional educational opportunities to students who are struggling with attendance
  • Reintegrating students with chronic absences back into an educational setting
  • Limiting a student’s ability to withdraw only after all intervention efforts have been exhausted.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

Schools shall comply with state statute and the Albuquerque Public Schools Handbook for Student Success when determining excused and unexcused absences. Unexcused and excused absences and out-of-school suspensions all count toward student absences that require student intervention plans when the number of absences reach the standards for chronic or excessive absenteeism. Differentiating between excused and unexcused absences is only helpful in informing success student attendance intervention plans. Students may obtain make-up work for any absence, excused or unexcused. Make-up work is not provided for long-term suspension and expulsion.

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
  • Religious commitments
  • College visits
  • Deployment of a military parent/guardian
  • Limited extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the school principal
  • Tribal obligations

Interscholastic and Extracurricular Activities and Absences

No student shall be absent from school for school-sponsored interscholastic and extracurricular 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 parent(s)/guardian(s) at a time period not in conflict with the academic program of the school.

Tribal Obligations Excusal

A student maybe excused from school to participate in tribal obligations with the written consent of the student's parents/guardians.

Pregnant/Parenting Student Excusal

Albuquerque Public Schools shall permit ten (10) days of excused medical 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.  In addition, pregnant and parenting students of a child under the age of thirteen (13) shall be permitted four (4) days of excused absences for a child needing care upon the provision of proper documentation.

Alternative School or Program Excusal

A student who attends an Alternative School or Program (e.g. New Futures, Freedom Magnet, School on Wheels Magnet) with off-site attendance through his or her participation in an online /virtual education course (when available) shall not be counted as absent if his or her participation can be verified.

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

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.  Out-of-school suspension and expulsion shall not be used as punishment for absences. 

Student Attendance Monitoring and Intervention

General Requirements and Expectations

Schools shall establish the following attendance best practices to support school-wide attendance systems, as well as monitoring and intervention of students:

  • Schools shall establish process and systems to ensure accurate and timely attendance
  • Beginning on the first day of school, each classroom teacher or that teacher's adult designee shall be responsible for taking and data entering accurate daily attendance for every student assigned to each instructional class.
  • Substitute teachers shall also report accurate and timely attendance
  • Schools will collect information to code the type of absence and enter into the data system in a timely fashion to allow for student safety calls to parents/legal guardians
  • 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
  • Parents/legal guardians shall notify the school of anticipated absences and may notify the school of reasons for absences as early in the school day as possible or within twenty-four (24) hours by
    • Documenting the absence through the parent gradebook system
    • Coming into the school to speak to the attendance clerk
    • Calling the school
    • Providing the school with a written explanation upon the student’s return to school
  • Parents/legal guardians who intend for their child to claim an excused absence due to a medical condition, pregnancy or parenting must communicate the student's status to the appropriate school personnel and provide required documentation
  • Schools shall inform parents/guardians of their student’s absences for each grade reporting period and the cumulative absences for the school year
  • Schools shall document all contacts, interventions, plans and outcomes into the student information system
  • Schools may only withdraw a student due to chronic or excessive absence after all intervention efforts by the school and/or the Children, Youth and Families Department to keep the student in an educational setting have been exhausted
  • Schools shall engage in partnerships and data sharing, which is compliant with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, with community-based organizations to provide more personalized interventions and supports to students
  • Schools shall create school attendance teams that utilize early warning systems, chronic absenteeism, and other attendance data reports to identify whole school interventions, as well as create tiered interventions for students who are in need of individualized prevention, early intervention, and intensive support 
  • School attendance teams should begin meeting no later than three weeks from the first day of school and should meet a minimum twice a month
  • School attendance teams shall review student attendance data quarterly and assign students to tiers of support as indicated by the data
  • Schools shall provide to parent(s)/guardian(s), within five days of the parent’s/guardian’s written request, attendance data for a student, including information about any intervention strategies used to improve a student’s attendance
  • Principals shall review reporting of attendance by teachers and provide monitoring and feedback in a timely manner to ensure accurate and timely attendance data
  • Schools shall employ attendance improvement plans that focus on keeping students in an educational setting and shall not use out-of-school suspension or expulsion as punishment for absences
  • Schools shall provide additional educational opportunities for students who are struggling with attendance

Whole School Intervention Strategies

Schools shall develop whole school intervention strategies for all students, including strategies for students who have missed less than five percent of school days for any reason. Prevention strategies may include:

  • Attendance awareness activities (poster contests, announcements, assemblies, etc.)
  • Staff training
  • Family and community events
  • Mentoring programs
  • School climate programs that positively recognize student attendance
  • Attendance incentive programs
  • Student and family contacts

Individual student prevention plans

A school shall provide interventions to students who may be absent, chronically absent, or excessively absent, which includes assessing student and family needs and may include matching those needs with the appropriate providers.

Individual student prevention strategies

The school will utilize prevention strategies to improve student attendance for any individual students who miss five (5) percent or more but less than ten (10) percent of school days for any reason. In the full instructional calendar for Albuquerque Public Schools, in general, five (5) percent is nine (9) days and ten (10) percent is eighteen (18) days. These strategies include:

  • Parents/legal guardians shall be notified when their student has missed five percent of school days for any reason
  • Staff shall make contact via telephone, school meetings, or home visits with parents/legal guardians as soon as possible and talk to them regarding:
    • Inform the parent/guardian of the student's attendance history
    • Discuss the impact of student absences on student academic outcomes.
    • Identify and offer interventions or services available to the student or family
    • Notify  the parent/guardian of the possible consequences of further absences, which could include referral to the Children, Youth and Families Department for excessive absenteeism
    • Identify the root causes/functions of the student’s absences
    • Document all attempts to notify parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Parents/legal guardians and student will work with the school to create a student attendance for success intervention plan and goal(s)

Early intervention plans

Schools shall create and document plans for early intervention for students who are chronically absent, which means the student has missed ten (10) percent or more but less than twenty (20) percent of school days for any reason. In the full instructional calendar for Albuquerque Public Schools, in general, ten percent is 18 days and twenty percent is 36 days. Early intervention plans include:

  • Parents/legal guardians shall be notified when their student has missed ten percent of school days for any reason.  Notifications will be in writing by mail or personal service and shall include a date, time and place for the parent/legal guardian to meet with the school to develop intervention strategies that focus on keeping the student in an educational setting
  • Staff shall make contact via school meetings, or home visits with parents/legal guardians as soon as possible and talk to them regarding:
    • Inform the parent/guardian of the student's attendance history
    • Discuss the impact of student absences on student academic outcomes
    • Identify and offer interventions or services available to the student or family
    • Notify the parent/guardian of the possible consequences of further absences, which could include referral to the children, youth and families department for excessive absenteeism
    • Document all attempts to notify parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Parents/legal guardians and student will work with the school to create a student attendance for success early intervention plan, which may include:
    • Analysis of attendance data – patterns, acuity, etc
    • An assessment of the root causes of the chronic absence
    • Monitoring of future absences, including progress monitoring
    • Incentives or supports
    • Signed agreement of the student and parent/legal guardian.
    • Identification, referral and coordination to school, district, and community resources (through school-based and off-site delivery systems) such as, but not limited to:
      • Counseling, training and placement for employment
      • Albuquerque Public Schools Parent Involvement Program for drug and alcohol abuse counseling
      • Family crisis counseling and mental health counseling
      • Family support and parent education programs
      • Services or goods that a student or the student's family needs to assist the student to stay in school and succeed
      • Health care and social service providers
      • Civic, corporate and professional organizations for sponsorships, internships, recreational, social, and out-of-school time programs
      • Referral to the Children, Youth and Families Department for family services

Intensive support intervention plans

Schools shall create and document plans for any student who is excessively absent, which means the student misses twenty (20) percent or more of school days for any reason. In the full instructional calendar for Albuquerque Public Schools, twenty percent is 36 days. The intensive support intervention plans include:

  • Parents/legal guardians shall be notified when their student has missed twenty (20) percent of classes or school days for any reason.
  • Notifications will be in writing by mail or personal service and shall include a date, time and place for the parent/legal guardian to meet with the school principal and the attendance team to develop intervention strategies that focus on keeping the student in an educational setting 
  • Notifications will include language stating that the student may be referred to Juvenile Probation for family services
  • Staff shall make contact via school meetings, or home visits with parents/legal guardians as soon as possible and talk to them regarding:
    • Review the student's attendance history and continued absences
    • Review the contacts, interventions and plans attempted
    • Identify and offer interventions or services available to the student or family
    • Notify the parent/guardian that further absences may include referral to the Children, Youth and Families Department for excessive absenteeism

School staff shall document all attempts to notify parent(s)/legal guardian(s)The student will be placed on a specific Intensive Support Plan that includes:

  • Non-punitive consequences at the school level
  • Specialized supports to help the student address the underlying causes of excessive absenteeism
    • Analysis of attendance data – patterns, acuity, etc.
    • Monitoring of future absences, including weekly progress monitoring
    • Incentives, goals and supports
    • Signed student and parent/legal guardian agreement
    • Identification, referral and coordination to school, district, and community resources (through school-based and off-site delivery systems) such as:
      • Counseling, training and placement for employment
      • Albuquerque Public Schools Parent Involvement Program for drug and alcohol abuse counseling
      • Family crisis counseling and mental health counseling
      • Family support and parent education programs
      • Services or goods that a student or the student's family needs to assist the student to stay in school and succeed
      • Health care and social service providers
      • Civic, corporate and professional organizations for sponsorships, internships, recreational, social, and out-of-school time programs

Referral to External Agencies

After exhausting all school-based interventions to improve student attendance, schools, in consultation with the superintendent or his or her designee, shall refer the student with continued unexcused absences to the Juvenile Probation Services Office.

  • Students shall be reported to CYFD after written notification to the family that the student has been designated excessively absent twenty (20) percent or more absent and not responding to interventions) and has continued unexcused absences per APS policy
  • The record of the school's interventions and student's and parent's/legal guardian’s responses to the interventions shall be provided to the Juvenile Probation Services Office within ten business days of the student being identified as excessively absent 
  •  If the Juvenile Probation Services Office determines that the student is a child in a family in need of family services, the school shall allow a caseworker to meet with the family at the public school in which the student is enrolled to determine if there are other intervention services that may be provided
  • The meeting shall involve the school principal or other school personnel and, unless the parent/guardian objects in writing, appropriate community partners that provide services to children and families. The Children, Youth and Families Department shall determine if additional interventions, including monitoring, will positively affect the student's behavior

Make-up Work

When a student is absent from school due to an absence (not long-term suspension or expulsion) 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. No student shall be refused permission to make up work missed during an absence, with the exception of those with long-term suspensions or expulsions.

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 the 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.

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.  Grades shall not be reduced as a direct penalty for non-attendance.

School Improvement Plans

Schools shall establish and implement an annual school attendance improvement plan. The plan and process will include:

  • Review and planning of school-wide, sub-population, and student-level attendance data, progress, processes, and areas in need of improvement
  • Review and planning of attendance team functioning and representation
  • Review and planning of current whole-school systems, interventions and strategies for all tiers of chronic absenteeism
  • Review of previous annual school attendance goal
  • Development of an annual school attendance goal

Schools with five percent or greater of students with a chronic absence rate during the prior school year, or with five percent or greater of one or more subgroups of students with a chronic absence rate during the prior school year, shall develop an attendance improvement plan to be submitted to the Public Education Department.

Schools shall track, utilize, and report the following data in support of the School Attendance Improvement Plan:

  • Attendance data for each of the preceding two school years and the current school year, including:
    • The overall absence rate
    • Chronic absence rates disaggregated by student subpopulation
    • Chronic absence rates disaggregated by grade level
    • Student attendance for every day of the school year
  • School-wide identification of potential root causes of chronic and excessive absenteeism through one or more of the following:
    • National or local research
    • Analysis of supportive factors and barriers
    • Student surveys or focus groups
    • Youth participatory research
    • Other appropriate school-based research methods
  • Identification of strategies for each tier of the School Tiered Approach to Attendance Improvement:
    • Identification of performance measures for each strategy
    • A data-collection plan for performance measures
  • For each chronically or excessively absent student:
  • Attempts to notify a parent/legal guardian that the student was absent from class or the school day
  • Attempts to improve attendance by talking to a student or parent/legal guardian to identify barriers to school attendance, identify solutions to improve the student's attendance behavior, and to discuss necessary interventions for the student or family
  • The intervention strategies implemented to support keeping the student in an educational setting, including additional educational opportunities offered to the student

District Attendance Performance Framework and Reporting

The district shall establish and implement an annual School Attendance Performance Framework. The attendance performance framework will include:

  • Placing schools into performance quartiles based on chronic absenteeism rates (33% or more, 26-32%, 11-25%, and 10% or less)
  • Establishing expectations for schools with targeted deliverables around school attendance efforts
  • Establishing targeted district supports to schools with a priority based on school need
  • Monitoring and reporting of school and district activities, progress and needs
  • Implementing capacity building efforts to scale innovation
  • Reporting of progress to the Board of Education and to the public (via the district’s website)

The district shall track, utilize, and report the following data in support of the District Attendance Performance Framework:

  • Specific district supports and resources available to schools at each level to further the implementation of their attendance improvement plans
  • Attendance improvement targets for schools or subpopulations with chronic absence rates of ten percent or greater, developed in collaboration with each school
  • An overall attendance improvement target for the district

The district shall report its attendance improvement plan to the Public Education Department no later than forty-five (45) days after the beginning of the school year. The district plan shall differentiate public schools and student sub-groups based on their chronic absence rates into no fewer than four categories. The district improvement plan will include:

  • specific school district supports and resources available to public schools at each level to further the implementation of their attendance improvement plans
  • attendance improvement targets for public schools or subpopulations with chronic absence rates of ten percent or greater, developed in collaboration with each public school an attendance improvement target

At the end of each school year, each school district shall report to the local school board and to the public on the school district's website, the progress made on its attendance improvement plan, to include:

  • a description of the supports and resources provided to public schools at each tier of the attendance improvement plan the extent to which public schools with chronic absence rates greater than ten percent achieved their attendance improvement targets
  • the extent to which the school district achieved its attendance improvement targets
  • barriers and challenges to reducing chronic absence rates, as reported by the public school and school district personnel
  • effective school-based practices, as evidenced by decreased chronic absence rates
  • recommendations for improvement during the next school year at both the public school and school district level

Remote, Online and Hybrid Learning

Remote and hybrid learning also require compliance monitoring of daily attendance for student intervention and supports for adherence to the Attendance for Success Act. Schools shall develop and demonstrate efforts to maintain and document student engagement for any expected instructional time outside of school. Schools shall develop strategies and accountability reporting to demonstrate student engagement for remote, online and hybrid learning. 

For schools that enter remote-only instructional models as a result of an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the school’s attendance policies, along with the Attendance for Success Act, shall provide the basis for how attendance is taken. Attendance during remote-only instruction must continue to be taken and reported to NMPED.

A student’s ability to participate in remote learning opportunities is inherently inequitable. While some students will have time, space, equipment and support to participate in instructional activities remotely, others will not. School policies on attendance must account for those inequities when providing for how student attendance in remote learning is determined. For instance, if attendance is taken during a synchronous online learning activity, students should have the opportunity to call in, participate in an asynchronous learning activity, or otherwise provide evidence of their engagement with the curriculum. 

Administrative Position:

  • Associate Superintendent for Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Supports
  • Chief Operations Officer
  • Associate Superintendents for Learning Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4

Department Director:

  • Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Support
  • Director of Coordinated School Health
  • Director of Student, School and Community Service Center
  • School Principals

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-8-2 NMSA 1978

  • §22-12A-1 to §22-12A-14 NMSA 1978

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

  • APS Handbook for Student Success

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
Reviewed: September 16, 2020
Revised: October 2, 2020