Attendance Information! School Attendance Matters!

Attendance Information! School Attendance Matters!
Posted on 10/06/2016
School Attendance Matters

School Attendance Information

Shannon Boyd, BSW

School Social Worker

************* Please read the following information carefully**************

Attendance Summer School

Children who accumulate 14 or more absence may be required to participate in attendance Saturday school or summer school.  Excused absences, unexcused absences, tardies, and early dismissals are counted.  Children are expected to be present every school day.  We understand some absences are unavoidable.  Parents should not assume “children have 14 days they can miss during the school year.” 


Being Tardy to School or Leaving School Early

Tardies and early dismissals are recorded.  At the end of the school year, tardies and early dismissals will be considered when determining which students are referred to attendance Saturday school or summer school.

Being Counted Present

In order to be counted present for the day, students must be in attendance one-half of the school day.

Notes Documenting your Child’s Absence

Parents are required to give notes to teachers when the student returns to school.  Teachers are responsible for coding absences as excused or unexcused in our computer system.  Occasionally, teachers do not receive parent notes.  Suggestion: parents may want to contact their child’s teacher to discuss the best method for communicating, and ensuring that the teacher receives parent notes.

Doctor’s Notes

Parents are encouraged to obtain a doctor’s note when a child has an appointment during the school day.  Doctor’s notes must state the date the child was seen and the date the child may return to school. 

Family Trips/Travel

Parents may request prior to the absences that an absence be excused due to educational opportunities, such as travel.  Please be advised that excusing such absence(s) is at the discretion of the principal. 

6 Unexcused Absences Policy and Court Action for Truancy

According to Buncombe County Schools attendance policy (#4400), an individual attendance plan will be developed for every student who accumulates 6 or more unexcused absences.  These plans will address ways in which families can avoid referral to the court system for truancy.  If your child accumulates 6 unexcused absences, the School Social Worker will contact you to develop this plan.  Parents can be charged for failing to comply with the North Carolina Compulsory Attendance Law if the child has 10 or more unexcused absences.  A child’s past attendance history can impact the decision of whether or not charges are filed.  It is critical that parents participate in the conference with the School Social Worker and principal if their child has 6 or more unexcused absences.  At the conference, parents will meet to:

  1. Discuss reasons for the child’s absences
  2. Review the Buncombe County School Attendance Policy and the North Carolina Compulsory Attendance Law.
  3. Review notes the parent has sent to school.
  4. Review the child’s attendance record and make corrections if needed.
  5. Develop a plan for improving the child’s attendance and documenting absences.
  6. Assess child and family’s needs.
  7. Utilize the School Social Worker’s knowledge of resources and supports that the family and child can access.
  8. Refer to BCS Policy #4400 for more information.

Your School Social Worker

The School Social Worker (SSW) in your school is available to provide support to parents, students, teachers and other school staff.  Monitoring attendance is one of many tasks the SSW performs.  The SSW can help advocate for services for students and families.  The SSW can assist with evaluating student and family needs in and outside of the school setting.  Your SSW is familiar with community resources and can help make referrals.  The SSW works in the school setting, conducts home visits, attends community meetings and works in collaboration with other service agencies in Buncombe County.

For parents who are charged with failure to comply with the North Carolina Compulsory Attendance Law:

Your SSW can be one of your best advocates in court.  The SSW, parents, teachers, and principals must all work together to positively impact the outcome of the parent’s court case.  The SSW can help document positive achievements parents have made to improve a child’s attendance record.  The SSW is expected to provide the judge with a summary of a child’s attendance record, share information regarding the parent’s involvement in school activities, report on the parent’s efforts to work with the school staff, and record the parent’s efforts improve their child’s attendance.