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APS School Attendance Guidelines

Attending school regularly helps all students, whether receiving general or special education services, develop the skills and habits they will need to succeed as adults. APS provides instruction 180 of the 365 days in a year. This provides students with limited time to learn all that is needed at each grade level so they can successfully and confidently proceed to the next school year and beyond. Significant changes were made to State Law regarding student attendance during the 2019 legislative session for the 2020-2021 school year. APS policy will be adjusted to follow the new regulations. Please check the APS website for updated information.

Unexcused Absences

  • 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.
  • Schools will provide intervention strategies to support students and help parents in getting their student to school each day.
    • The State of New Mexico and APS define a student with 5 unexcused absences as a Student in Need of Early Intervention Services.
    • The State of New Mexico and APS define a student with 10 unexcused absences as a Habitual Truant
    • The State of New Mexico and APS may report students who are defined as habitual truants and for whom interventions have not been successful in improving attendance to Juvenile Probation for additional intervention. Juvenile Probation may forward the case to the District Attorney where the parent may face fines or possible jail time.

All Absences

  • An enrolled student is chronically absent if they have missed 10% or more of the academic year, for any reason (excused or unexcused). This amounts to approximately two (2) or more days of school within a month (excused or unexcused).
  • A student must attend more than half of the school day in which they are enrolled to be considered present for the day.
  • Schools will support students with interventions to help stop excessive absences.
  • Schools will do what they can to minimize absences.
    • School related activities that take a student out of class will not count toward excessive absence totals
    • Schools will not allow more than 10 school- related absences per class per semester
    • Schools may not suspend students for excessive excused or unexcused absences.
    • Schools may withdraw for absences only if the parent has not contacted the school, and the school cannot reach the student or family to provide supports.

It is understood that sometimes families may need support to help their child be successful. School staff can assist with locating possible resources within the school community.

Attendance Policy

  • Please notify the school each day your child is absent even if you know he or she will be absent for multiple days. Check with your child’s school to determine the best way to let them know about your child’s absence(s).
  • Report your child’s absences within three days of the absence.
  • If your child needs to leave school early for any reason, please notify the school and follow the school’s rules for early dismissal.
  • Absences may be excused for the following reasons with appropriate documentation:
    • Illness, which prevents a child from being at school (including chronic illness documented on a health plan, IEP or 504 plan)
    • Limited family emergencies; family deaths
    • Medical, health or legal appointments
    • Suspensions
    • Religious commitment
    • College visit for 12th grade students or other students with principal approval
    • Limited extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the school principal
  • Absences must be excused for the following reasons with appropriate documentation:
    • At least ten (10) days, per school year, after the birth of their child for students who notify the school of the child’s birth and provide proper documentation to the school. Both the mother and the father of the child are entitled to the excused absences. Additional excused absences to the student after the birth of the child if deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician.
    • An additional four (4) days, per semester, for the students who provide appropriate documentation of the pregnancy or that the student is the parent of a child under the age of thirteen needing care.
    • Deployment of a military parent as defined in the “Military Children” procedural directive
  • Absences will be unexcused for the following reasons:
    • Illness of another sibling, parent or family member that is not an emergency.
    • Family activities or trips during the school day.

APS understands that life is sometimes complicated and seeks to support academic success for every student. Please reach out to staff at your child’s school if you are having problems getting your son or daughter to school on time.

Make-up Work

  • 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.
  • Teachers will provide makeup 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.
  • Students will be provided make up work for excused absences and up to 10 unexcused absences.
  • Students who have been identified as Habitually Truant (more than 10 unexcused absences) may request makeup work.
  • The teacher and school administrator may grant the request or may request a meeting with the parent/guardian to determine if makeup work will be completed.
  • Students will be expected to take final exams and End of Course exams on the day they are scheduled. Students may be allowed to make up finals or End of Course exams if the absence is excused. Students requesting to make-up a final or End of Course exam will require advanced approval from the teacher and/or school administrator.

Interventions

  • Families of elementary-aged students will be provided a safety call in the morning if the student is absent or comes to school after the automated call is scheduled.
  • 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.
  • Families will receive an automated call if their child has 5 unexcused absences.
  • 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 to team with the parent on strategies and support.
Interventions for Students with Excessive Absences, Listed by Number of Unexcused Full-day Absences
Type of Intervention2 Full
Days
5 Full
Days
10 Full
Days
10+ Full
Days
Parent/Guardian Contact Yes Yes Yes Yes
School Interventions and Strategies Yes Yes Yes Yes
Written Notice to Parents from District Yes
Phone Call to Parent from District Yes Yes
Parent & Student Conference with School Staff Yes Yes
Referral to School Attendance Team and/or Principal Yes
Students who miss more than one-half of their school day are considered absent a full day.

Tardy

Students who come to school after the tardy bell has rung 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.
  • Middle school and high school students who miss more than 50% of a class period will be counted as absent for that class period.
  • Schools may provide additional supports to discourage tardiness and encourage on time attendance.

Student Drop Off/Pick Up/Visits

It is not safe to drop children off more than 15 minutes before school or to leave them more than 15 minutes after the school day ends

  • Parents must not leave their children on a school campus longer than fifteen (15) minutes either before or after the school day.
  • School grounds are not supervised except during the school day.
  • If extenuating circumstances prevent a family from picking up a student on time, the school must be notified within fifteen minutes of the end of the school day.
  • If students are repeatedly left on campus outside of the school day hours, an administrator will attempt to contact the family to discuss and resolve the problem.
    • If your child is often on school grounds during unsupervised times school staff may provide parents/guardians with information on before and after school programs in the area.
  • Schools are required to contact law enforcement if a child is left on school grounds during unsupervised times and the parent/guardian cannot be reached.
  • APS schools will do their best to abide by parenting plans provided to them but are not responsible to enforce specific pick-up days.
  • Parents/guardians on campus during the school day need to check-in at the main office and wear a visitor or volunteer nametag at all times.
  • Visits to classrooms should be arranged 24 hours prior to the visit and should be limited to twenty minutes. Parents/guardians may only visit classrooms where their child is enrolled.