515 Attendance of Classes and Instructional Time

The philosophy of Central Decatur Community is that consistent and punctual attendance is of vital importance and is a prerequisite for completing an education. Attendance is a shared responsibility and requires cooperation and communication among students, parents, and school. Attendance at school on a regular basis is an extremely important ingredient for success in school. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of the education program. Participation in class discussion, developing an appreciation for the views and abilities of other students, and forming the habit of regular attendance are legitimate class objectives. Excessive absence has been labeled one of the major factors leading to school failure. Learning lost, due to an absence can never be replaced. Regular attendance and being well prepared for class helps students in school as well as prepares students for adulthood. However, in the event of a long-term illness, we wish to be of assistance to you and to help provide services to keep your child from falling behind.

Students will be expected to attend school regularly and be on time to receive maximum benefit from the instructional program, to develop habits of punctuality, respect, self-discipline, and responsibility, and to assist in keeping disruption of the educational environment to a minimum. Irregular attendance or tardiness by students not only impedes their own studies but also interferes with the progress and attitudes of those students who are regular and prompt in attendance. Missed work will need to be completed in a timely fashion.  Teachers will allow 2 days for every day missed, up to a maximum of 6 days for full credit.

Students who have good attendance are more likely to achieve higher grades, enjoy school to a greater degree, and have more employment opportunities after leaving school. Prospective employers expect promptness and regular attendance from employees and are reluctant to hire persons who have not established good habits of responsibility and self-discipline.

Attendance is required of all students in all regularly scheduled classes and instructional time. The superintendent shall, in cooperation with the school administration, staff, parents/guardians, and students, prepare rules and regulations to implement this policy.

Elementary, Middle and High School Attendance Procedures

The Board and faculty of the Central Decatur Community School District consider regular attendance highly important and have established the following policy to deal with student absence and tardiness in the elementary school(s).

I. Absences

A. The following absences may be excused, providing the excuse has been provided by the parent or guardian in advance of the absence, or at the time of personal illness or by the next school day:

  • Personal illness;
  • Family death or emergency;
  • Medical appointments that must be made during school time;
  • Court appearance if validated by the assigned time on the ticket, and the appearance is validated by the Clerk of the Magistrate Court and/or District Court.
  • Family trips and other extended absences, which can be justified from an educational standpoint. These must be approved by the principal well in advance and arrangements made with each teacher involved for the make-up of work to be missed.
  • School initiated absence (no parent excuse required).

B. The following absences may be treated as unexcused:

  • Any absence not properly excused before the occurrence, or at the time in the case of personal illness. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to notify the school if a student is to be absent and the absence is to be excused. However, to satisfy a mutual concern of parents/guardians and the school for the welfare of unaccounted-for students, the office will contact parent/guardian should a student be found absent for whom no parent/guardian excuse has been received. This call will be to confirm the whereabouts of the student but will be considered after the fact for attendance purposes and will not be considered excused if the school has to call to find a student;
  • Leaving the building during the day without parental excuse and authorization of the principal’s office.

C. Final determination for classification of an absence (excused or unexcused) will be made by the building principal.

D. Chronic Absenteeism

  • Chronic Absenteeism is closely monitored and tracked by Central Decatur School District and the Iowa Department of Education.  Students will be considered attendance at-risk if they meet any of the following criteria:
  • Missing 8 or more days of previous school year
  • 5 or more tardies in previous school year
  • 2 absences in first 2 weeks of school
  • 2-3 absences in first 4 weeks of school
  • 4 absences in first 8 weeks of school

If a student meets one of the above criteria, the parents may be contacted by the school office, by mail or phone. The school administration may then request a meeting in order to identify and remove barriers to consistent attendance. This may include the development of an attendance contract. After 8 missed days- school administration may involve juvenile court authorities, Decatur County attorney and/or other officials as appropriate.

II. Tardiness

A. Tardies are unexcused absences that are thirty (30) minutes or less in nature. Up to four (4) tardies will be given without penalty per school year. After the fourth (4) tardy, parents/guardians will be notified and a meeting will be held between the principal and the parent/guardian. An attempt to resolve the tardy issue will be made.    

B. Unexcused tardies beyond four (4) will be considered truant. Those children who are truant and have accumulated fifteen (15) unexcused absences during a three-year period MAY be considered in violation of the state’s mandatory attendance laws. These cases will be referred to the County Attorney for mediation or prosecution.

Students are expected to be in class on time. A student spending a half-day (or more) in the nurse’s office will be counted absent from the classroom for that half day. Students arriving at school after 9:00 a.m. or leaving before 2:30 p.m. will be marked absent for that half day. Students arriving to school late, between the time of the tardy bell and 9:00 am will be counted tardy.

A student who is absent from school, for any part of or all the class day, of an evening event/activity (i.e.: concerts, sports events) shall be ineligible to participate unless the cause of his/her absence is of the type for which it is authorized by the principal. Examples may include: funeral or serious family emergency.

Attendance notice:

1) The school will notify the parents by letter when a child’s absences meet or exceed 10% of days enrolled. This includes excused or unexcused absences. Absences will be calculated every 20 days and notices sent directly afterwards.

2) If the attendance problem continues, a home visit and/or conference will be arranged with the parents. The purpose of the visit/conference will be to develop a plan to remedy the problem.

3) If the attendance problem persists (ten (10) days of school per semester) the principal will arrange a conference with the parents, and one or all of the following alternatives, but not limited to, may be utilized: make up time missed from school, require summer school attendance, if available, and legal authorities may be notified.

4) Students who have 10% unexcused absences in a class, may have their overall quarter grade dropped by 1 letter grade (A to B, A- to B-, etc).