Attendance

Starting with the 2017-2018 school year:

As part of new requirements from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education, a truancy elimination and absence reduction plan will be implemented to help reduce chronic absenteeism.  Supports and services will be in place for students and families. 

This plan is intended to be a support mechanism for parents and families to ensure students are able to be successful in their academic studies through increased attendance in school. 

 

According to the Pennsylvania School Code, all children between the ages of 8 and 16 are required to attend school. Attendance is extremely important to ensure ongoing academic success of students. The educational program offered by the district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for students to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress. “A maximum of ten days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification may be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten cumulative days should require an excuse from a physician (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2006.)”

 

“The school district is responsible for monitoring and maintaining records of the attendance of students. All absences should be treated as unlawful until the school district receives a written excuse explaining the reason(s) for an absence. Parents/guardians and students should submit the written explanation within three (3) calendar days of the absence and should be informed that if they fail to provide a written excuse within three days of the absence, the absence would be permanently counted as unlawful (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2006.)”

There are three types of absences:

  • Exempt – Absences listed below, when accompanied by the correct documentation. These absences are not counted when determining whether the student is out of compliance with the state attendance laws, as long as the verification is provided within the three (3) day limit.
  • Non-exempt – Absences which are accompanied with an excuse blank or note from a parent or guardian within three (3) school days of the return to school. These are excused absences, but are counted towards the state attendance laws (10 days maximum in a school year).
  • Illegal – An absence which is not accompanied by any kind of a written explanation within three (3) school days of the return to school. In addition, a fine of up to $300 a day may be levied by a district justice for excessive illegal days (3 or more).

See Act 24 P.S. 13-1327 Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Elimination Plan, State of Pennsylvania

  • Approved medical or dental appointments
  • Approved educational travel
  • Religious holidays
  • School authorized field trips or activities
  • Suspension from school
  • Approved emergency
  • School related athletic events
  • Personal bereavement
  1. Daily parents/guardians are notified of their child’s absence.
  2. Notification to parents/guardians regarding unlawful absences will adhere to the following steps:
    • First Unlawful Absence: A letter will be sent to parent/guardians notifying them of the unlawful absence from school via regular mail.  Legal penalties established by law for violation of compulsory attendance will be included.
    • Second Unlawful Absence: A letter will be sent to parent/guardians notifying them of the second unlawful absence from school via regular mail.  Legal penalties established by law for violation of compulsory attendance will be included.
    • Third Unlawful Absence:  A letter will be sent to parent/guardians notifying them of the third unlawful absence from school through CERTIFIED mail.  Include legal penalties established by law for violation of compulsory attendance.  Notify parents that they will be liable without further notice.
    • Subsequent Unlawful Absence:  A citation is to be sent to the magisterial district judge. An official notice of unlawful absence through CERTIFIED mail is mailed to parent/guardians.

In addition to the above procedure, for students 16 years of age and under, a truancy citation may be issued in accordance with Pennsylvania School Code.

  1. Have your parent or guardian write a note or fill in an excuse blank, which can be acquired in the main office or on the forms page, including the current date, the date(s) of your absence(s), the reason for the absence, and their signature.
  2. Give your excuse blank or note to the attendance office within three (3) school days of your return to school. It must be dated and signed. After three (3) days, the note will be accepted but not credited. This applies to any and all excuses, including exempt absences and educational travel!!

NOTE: Attendance is checked with the BCTC daily. On early dismissal days at Brandywine, BCTC students who wish to go home must have a signed permission form on file or they will be disciplined for skipping BCTC and given an illegal absence.

INDIVIDUAL STUDENT

If a student must leave school early for an appointment, he/she must present to the office, in the morning before school starts, a written note from his her parent or guardian. The written note must contain the date, time of dismissal, a valid reason for early dismissal, and the signature of the parent or guardian. “PERSONAL REASON” is not a valid reason. Parents may be called if an excuse is in question.

DISTRICT (PLANNED)

There are multiple planned early dismissals on the district calendar. BCTC students who choose NOT to attend the BCTC on these days must have a signed permission form on file in the office prior to the first early dismissal day. This form will be provided to the students at the beginning of the year.

DISTRICT (WEATHER RELATED)

There are times during the year when inclement weather will cause the district to dismiss school before the regular time. Such information will be broadcast over an automated calling system, on local TV and radio stations, and will also be available on the website.

SCHOOL CLOSING

In the event of inclement weather or mechanical breakdown, school may be closed or the starting time delayed. School closing, delayed starting time or early dismissal will be announced over an automated calling system, the radio and TV. If no report is heard, it can be assumed that school will be in regular session. Telephone lines must be kept open for emergencies. School cancellations may alter the school calendar with respect to required days of attendance.

INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS

(High School Only)* Students who arrive after 7:34 am but by 7:45 must sign in the high school office and get a pass from the secretary for admission to first period class. Students who arrive after 7:45 am must sign in and will be assigned to a study hall until first period is over. Students who sign in later in the day will be assigned to a study hall for the remainder of the period they arrive in, subject to administrative discretion. Students arriving after 10:39 a.m. will be responsible for a full day excuse blank. Students who report late without an acceptable excuse will be subject to discipline as outlined in the high school discipline policy. 

Reference:

Pennsylvania Department of Education: Basic Education Circular. (2006). Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Elimination Plan .  Retrieved from http://www.patruancytoolkit.info/providers/291/bec-compulsoryattendance.pdf