Student Absences/Excuses

In order to fulfill the expectations of the Newfound Area School District, students must attend school.  Regular attendance and punctuality are important because poor attendance and tardiness inhibit academic success and are a waste of human resources and tax dollars.  When a student misses class, there is no way that those discussions can be completely made up. Therefore, absence from class has a negative effect on student contribution and learning.

The School Board recognizes that absences from school may be necessary under certain circumstances.  However, the educational institution has the obligation to uphold standards and expectations for assigning credit.  Parents/Guardians are encouraged to plan activities around the school calendar because this is the least disruptive to the student's education.

Attendance records shall be maintained for each student.  Each teacher is responsible for accurate reporting of daily attendance in his/her classroom.  The Building Principal is responsible for submitting attendance information to the Superintendent's office and for keeping parent/guardians informed of their child's attendance record and whenever attendance becomes a concern of school personnel.

The District administration shall develop regulations and procedures that will support and promote student attendance and provide procedures to identify and remediate absences and truancy.  Administrative rules shall consider the different needs of Newfound students at the various levels of their educational development.  all rules and regulations shall be communicated to students and parents/guardians after approval by the Board.

The following regulations and procedures have been developed to support and promote student attendance.  RSA 193:1, 2, 7 and RSA 306.10 (a) (1).

The School District recognizes two kinds of absences from school:  excused and unexcused absences.

Excused absences are not included in the maximum number of absences and are limited to the following situations
1.  School sponsored events such as field trips or athletic events.
2.  Absences due to chronic health conditions or illness documented by a physician (includes dental and orthodontic appointments);; a doctor's note will be required immediately upon return to school.
3.  Death in the immediate family.
4.  Religious holidays or attendance at religious ceremonies.
5.  Absences excused by the Superintendent under RSA 193:1 1 (c).
6.  Absences resulting from any alternative scheduling related to the implementation of student Personal Interest Plan.

Note:  Family vacations, other vacations, and other personal reasons for absences from school shall be counted as unexcused absences.  Students are expected to make up the work missed.  In addition, the teacher(s) must be notified in writing 7 calendar days in advance of any planned vacation.  On the day the student returns from vacation, all required work must be presented to the teacher.

Unexcused absences are all other absences from class, whether they are caused by school absences, dismissals, cutting class, tardiness, truancy or any other reason not listed as an excused absence.  Unexcused absences are included in the maximum number of absences.

Students are limited to 8 unexcused absences per trimester.  If a student exceeds 8 unexcused absences in any trimester, that student shall fail that trimester.  If a student exceeds 24 unexcused absences for the school year, that student shall fail, unless the student satisfactorily makes up the missed work prior to the beginning of the next trimester.  The student shall be required to attend summer school at parent's/guardian's expense to make up work missed, or be retained at grade level.

In the event that a student exceeds the attendance policy limits, he/she or parent/guardian may appeal to the Elementary School Attendance Board which is made up of two teachers, the guidance counselor and two parents/guardians.  The criteria for the School Attendance Board to consider in reviewing an appeal are:
    1.  Whether the spirit and intent of the policy have been violated.
    2.  Whether the violation of the policy was due to the action or lack of action on the part of the student or their family.
    3.  Whether there are exceptional circumstances which would warrant that an exception to the policy be granted.

Unexcused absence from school or class is considered truancy and shall be treated as such.  Unexcused absence is an absence without parental/legal guardian or administrative permission.

This includes absence from any class, study hall or activity during the school day for which the student is scheduled.  It also includes any after school special help session or disciplinary session which the student has been directed to attend.

Twenty half days of unexcused absence during a school year shall constitute habitual truancy.  The School District defines the term "half day of absence" as three hours or three class periods, whichever is less.  

Absent students not having parent/legal guardian permission are considered by the school as being truant.  Students so identified shall be contacted by either a school official or the truancy officer and brought to school.  The school administration shall send a letter to the parent/legal guardian of the truant student, requesting a conference within three school days to discuss the matter.  If the truancy problem continues, the school administrator shall send, by registered mail, a letter to the parent/legal guardian of the truant student, indicating the nature and seriousness of the problem and enclose a copy of the RSA 193: 1 (school attendance law).  A copy of the letter shall also be sent to the truancy officer for information.  If truancy still continues, the truancy officer shall prepare and issue a summons to the truant student and the parent/legal guardian.  This summons shall serve notice of time and date for the student and parent/legal guardian to appear in Juvenile Court.