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We know school attendance and punctuality greatly affects the overall educational experience and achievement for every student. As part of our duties we want to do everything we can to motivate and support the students and families in maintaining excellent attendance. Several attendance incentive programs have been implemented at our school:
1. Every trimester when a student earns perfect attendance they will receive a collector button marking their achievement
2. At the end of the year every student with perfect attendance will choose a piece of brand new PE Equipment.
3. At the end of the year every student with perfect attendance will be entered into a drawing and we will be presenting a new bike or scooter! 

Procedures

  • If your child has 6-8 unexcused absences or 18-24 tardies, you will receive Letter #1 – an official Notification of Attendance Issues mailed home from the school. If the child continues to be tardy, he/she will be required to attend tardy school. Tardy school is held during the student’s lunchtime. The first time in tardy school, those attending will be required to write a letter asking you to help them be on time. A child will be assigned tardy school each time they are tardy.
  • Upon the 9-11 absence or 27-33 tardies, you will receive Letter #2 – a certified letter reminding you of state laws and policies surrounding attendance requirements. This letter will ask you to contact the school to set up a meeting. If no contact is made in response to the letter or if your child continues to be absent without administrative approval, we will refer the case to Truancy Court.
  • If you respond to Letter #2, a meeting will be set up with the parent, teacher, and principal. A contract of attendance expectations will be drawn up and the only absences that will be excused will be illness approved by a school official or a dated doctor’s note, or an absence due to a funeral documented by the obituary or memorial pamphlet.
  • If the contract is broken and your child has more absences, you will be asked to participate in Truancy Mediation. Mediation is an alternative to Court. Mediation is voluntary and you may choose Court over mediation. The mediator is trained and provided by the Courts, but their job is to be unbiased and to keep things confidential. Through Mediation, a new contract is developed and signed by all participants.
  • If the Mediation contract is broken, the case is referred to Truancy Court.
  • Upon the 12th absence, the school will refer the case to the District Civil Rights Specialist, who will contact the parent/guardian for truancy intervention and send a Habitual Truant Citation by certified mail.
  • Upon the 17th absence and after the Pre-Court Meeting, the parent(s) will be referred to the Juvenile Court Action.

Clarifying Notes

  • An absence may be excused and not counted as unexcused for the following reasons; bereavement, court, vacation, religious, health care provider or family event. If a student’s attendance falls below 90% the only excused absences will be for bereavement, court or through a health care provider.
  • An absence may only be excused by a parent within two school days of the absence.
  • Tardy – A student is marked tardy if he/she arrives later than 8:45 to their classroom. A tardy arrival is not excused by a parent. A student is simply tardy. The only excuse would be a check-in for a medical reason. A parent note will not erase a tardy.
  • If a student arrives later than 9:30 it will be considered a late check-in. It will count against the 90% attendance rule if excused, or count as an absence if unexcused.
  • If a student is checked out of school more than 15 minutes before the end of school, it will count against the 90% attendance rule.
  • To check a student out, the approved person must come into the school to do so.
  • OUT OF BOUNDARY STUDENTS: Please note if your student is an out of boundary student and attendance becomes an ongoing issue or a child fails to be at school 90% of the time, the open permit could be revoked. 

Bad Weather (Red Mitten Day)

When we are experiencing inclement weather we will allow students to enter the building at times when they would otherwise be expected to be outside. Inclement weather is usually defined as weather which would lead to students becoming soaking wet (heavy or steady rain or very wet snow), temperature reaching below 22 degrees (including wind chill), or air quality which does not meet the standard according to the recess guideline set by the Utah Department of Health. When students arrive at school during inclement weather a red mitten sign is placed in the office window and in a hall window on the eastside. This denotes it is appropriate for students to enter the building and gather in the gymnasium. Usually we have some type of video playing. Students are expected to come in and sit down to watch the video or chat quietly with classmates and friends. When inclement weather is present during lunchtime recess, students remain in their classrooms and are given alternative activities to do. There is a rotation for different grade levels to use the gym on these days in order to facilitate exercise. Unfortunately, the gym is too small to accommodate the entire school of children on one single lunch period.

Bella Vista Elementary 2019-2020
Attendance Policy

Bella Vista Elementary Attendance Policy Attendance Goal: All students will attend school at least 95% of the school year. 

In order to achieve this goal, students cannot miss more than 8 days of school for the year. All students who achieve this goal will receive an attendance certificate and be entered into a drawing for a new bicycle at the end of the school year. School attendance is very important. Every absence from school interferes with your child’s opportunity to learn. There is a growing body of research showing that Chronic Absenteeism, usually defined by researchers as missing 10% or more of the school year (including excused and unexcused absences), has a significant negative effect on student achievement and may put a student at academic risk. The goal for Bella Vista Elementary is that all students miss no more than 5% of the school year in an effort to help every student be successful now and in the future. 

School Success Goes Hand in Hand with Being in School Every Day!

Did You Know?

  • Many absences, even in kindergarten, can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing just a day or two every month can make it harder to learn to read by the third grade.
  • Students with too many absences struggle to catch up, even with take-home assignments.
  • Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. 

What Can You Do?

  • Develop a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • Avoid missing school unless a child is truly sick and seek help if chronic illness is a challenge. Check with our school nurse or office staff if you are not sure about when to keep your child at home due to illness.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school support staff, or other parents for advice on how to make him/her feel comfortable and excited about learning.  

Types of Absences

  • Valid Excused Absence: An absence excused with approved verification (ie. doctor note, dentist note, legal note, wedding announcement, obituary, or other approved verification).
  • Guardian Excused Absence: An absence excused by a parent/legal guardian without approved verification. Parents must call the office or send a note within one week of the absence. The limit is five (5) days each school year per Canyons District policy 500.35; any additional absences without approved verification will be considered unexcused.
  • Unexcused Absence: Any absence without a valid excuse.

Communication Procedure for Valid Excused Absences

  • Illness or Medical Appointment: Parent provides a note from a health care provider to the front office.
  • Family Death, Family Emergency, Religious Holiday: Parent provides notification to the school that the student will be absent (obituary, wedding announcement, etc…).
  • Procedure for Education/Vacation Leave: A student may be allowed up to ten (10) days for education/vacation leave in a given school year, if prior arrangements have been made with the school for the student to make up his/her homework. Prior to education leave, parents complete an Education Leave/Vacation Form for approval. Teachers will complete the “Work to Be Completed” section and determine a reasonable due date. School administration will verify education leave.

Unexcused Absences

  • 0 Days – Compulsory Education Information: notice included in online registration and in other publications sent to community and patrons.
  • 3-5 – Possible Phone Call or Email from the teacher and/or the attendance secretary. They will inquire if the student is doing okay, express concern, and ask what the school can do to support the student making up work and not falling behind.
  • 6-8 – Notification of Attendance Issue/Truancy Citation #1 – The attendance secretary will send, via both email and regular mail, a letter from the principal explaining that the student has missed six unexcused days of school and reminding the parent of the importance of regular school attendance. Parents contact the principal within 3 days to discuss their student’s attendance.
  • 9-11 – Notice of Compulsory Education Violation/Truancy Citation #2 – The attendance secretary will send, via email, a second letter from the principal explaining that the student has missed nine unexcused absences. The letter will include a scheduled appointment for parents to meet with the principal, discuss the attendance, and develop a plan for improved attendance. A copy of the letter will also be sent to Suzanne Ren, District Truancy Officer, who will send a hardcopy of the letter via certified mail.
  • 12 – Notice of Habitual Truancy/Truancy Citation #3 – Suzanne Ren, District Truancy Officer, will send the Habitual Truancy Citation Letter #3 through certified mail warning of the pending court referral. A Court referral will be made if the student has five more unexcused absences during the school year beyond letter #3.
  • 17 – Court Referral – The court referral may result in a class B misdemeanor with the potential of a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

Tardy School

  • A student is marked tardy if the student arrives later than 8:45 to his/her classroom. Tardy school begins when the child has 18 or more tardies. Tardy school is held during the student’s lunchtime. The first time in tardy school, the student will be required to either call his/her parent or write a letter asking the parent for help to be on time to school. Subsequent tardy school times will be used for classwork.
  • Students will be assigned to tardy school starting with their 18th tardy

Policy Approved by the Bella Vista SCC 11/05/19 and Building Leadership Team on 11/20/19

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