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APS School Attendance For Success

The State of New Mexico requires that students between the ages of 5 and 18 attend a public or private school (including charter and alternative schools) or register with the Public Education Department if a parent is providing home school or the student is in a state institution. 

Student attendance in school is a critical component of the educational process. Students, families and APS personnel must all work together to promote student success through regular attendance in school every school day as it is an important element of student success. Attendance positively correlates to student success and should not be treated as a disciplinary issue, but rather lead to conversations with students and families about the means to improve attendance. 

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 student attendance intervention plans. Students may obtain make-up work for any absence, excused or unexcused with the exception of long-term suspensions and expulsions. Suspension shall not be used as a consequence for 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 
  • 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 parents at a time period not in conflict with the academic program of the school. 

Tribal Obligations Excusal 

A student may, subject to the approval of the school principal, be 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. Further days of excused medical absences may be granted depending on the circumstances. In addition, pregnant and parenting students of the age of thirteen shall be permitted four (4) days of excused absences for a child needing care upon the provision of proper documentation. 12 

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 participation in an online / virtual education course (when available) shall not be counted as absent if 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

Make-up Work

  • Students are entitled to make-up work for any absence, excused or un-excused. 
  • Upon return from an absence(s), students shall request makeup work and will have one day per one day of absence to make up the missed work unless the teacher and/or school administrator allow additional time. 
  • The teacher and school administrator may request a meeting with the parent/guardian to determine a timeframe/plan to complete the make-up work. 
  • Teachers will provide make up work but may need one full school day to gather the make-up work. 
  • If families know ahead of time when an absence will occur, it is best practice to ask for make-up work before the absence occurs. 


  • Families will be provided a call in the evening notifying the parents of each child’s absence for any part of the day so parents can accurately track their child’s attendance. 
  • Interventions for students with disabilities who have IEPs (other than students receiving “gifted” services only) will involve consultation with the IEP team and/or performance of a Functional Behavior Assessment. 
  • Parents/guardians are asked to schedule an appointment with their child’s school to discuss the absences and develop a plan to improve attendance. 
  • School staff may contact the family and schedule an appointment with the parent on strategies and support, especially when the student has not attended 5/10/20 percent of the required attendance days. 
  • Ten (10) percent of school is approximately two (2) days per month (18 days for the school year).
Interventions for Students with Excessive Absences of Any Kind
Parent/Guardian Contact Yes Yes Yes Yes
School Interventions and Strategies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Written Notice to Parents from District Yes Yes Yes
Phone Call to Parent from District Yes Yes Yes Yes
Parent & Student Conference with School Staff Yes Yes Yes
Referral to Principal Yes
Referral to CYFD/JPO Yes
Interventions are based on the number of unexcused full day absences. Students who miss more than half of their school day are considered absent a full day.


Students who come to school after the scheduled start time are missing important learning opportunities and are a disruption to the learning process for other students.

  • Students who come late to school will need to check in at the front office. Elementary aged children must be taken into the office by a parent/guardian.
  • Students who are often late may need to make up the lost instructional time. Check with your child’s school to find out if your child needs to make up the lost instructional time and when it will happen.
  • Schools may provide additional supports to discourage tardiness and encourage on time attendance.