Attendance Policy

The school administrators and faculty are responsible for requiring punctual and regular school and class attendance and for providing information to parents regarding the attendance of their children.

Determining Whether an Absence is Lawful (Excused) or Unlawful (Unexcused)

A written explanation of each absence is required from the parent/guardian within three days of the student’s return to school (e-mail is acceptable).

Requests for late arrivals or early dismissals must be authorized by the parent/guardian.

Upon reaching his/her age of majority (18 years old or married), a student may assume the responsibility for absence notes and requests for late arrivals and early dismissals.

Students are considered lawfully (excused) absent from schoolfor the following reasons:

  • Work approved or sponsored by the school, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), or the Maryland State Department of Education, andcollege visits when approval for the absence has been requested five school days in advance in writing from the parent/guardian/eligible student
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Illness of the student (The principal may require a physician’s certificate.)
  • Illness of a student’s child
  • Court summons
  • Hazardous weather conditionswhich would endanger the health or safety of the student when in transit to and from school
  • Observance of religious holiday
  • State emergency
  • Suspension
  • Failure to provide MCPS authorized transportation to eligible students
  • Other emergency or set of circumstances determined by the principal

Any absence for reasons other than those specified above may be considered either lawful or unlawful by the principal/designee.Normally, requests for family travel are not lawful absences.

A student’s absence may be deemed lawful at the discretion of the principal/designee with prior request based on the following:

  • Recommendations from the student’s teacher(s) concerning the possible effect of the anticipated absence on the student’s academic progress and the options available for make-up work before making a decision to approve the absence
  • Number of lawful and unlawful absences student has accumulated to date
  • Purpose or special significance of the absences
  • Duration of the absence

In unique and specific circumstances, absences can be considered authorized and should not be reported as either lawful or unlawful and students are considered to be present. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Volunteer student aide for MCPS outdoor education programs
  • Sports participation
  • Student government
  • Field trips
  • Health room visit
  • Home and hospital teaching
  • In-school suspension/In-school intervention

Back to Top

Absence from School Procedure

Parents/guardian should call the attendance office when their son/daughter is absent. However, whether or not a parent/guardian is in contact with the attendance office, the student must bring a written note prepared by the parent or guardian explaining the absence. The note must be given to the attendance secretary for processing on the day the student returns. (In lieu of a written note, an email from the parent is acceptable.) Otherwise, the absence will be considered as unexcused. Note: All parent notes and emails are subject to verification.

A student/parent has three school days to submit a written excuse note/email. After three days have passed without the presentation of a note, an absence is coded as unexcused. A doctor's note is required after three consecutive days of illness/absence. Administrators may require a doctor’s verification in cases of chronic or extended absences due to illness; otherwise, unsubstantiated absences could result in unexcused absences.

Absence notes should include the date of note, student’s full name, ID number, grade, date of absence, specific reason for absence, home and work telephone numbers of parent/guardian, and signature of parent/guardian.(A student may not sign a parent’s name for any reason.)

All teachers will be notified of excused absences within the three day limit. Students will have the same number of days to make-up missed work as the number of excused days absent. NOTE: Credit for make-up work may be denied or discounted if the absence is unexcused.

Students enrolled in a school-approved work program may not work any day they do not attend school. Tardiness will also result in loss of work privileges.

Students who are absent from school may not attend or participate in any school activities (practice, meeting, game, contest, concert, rehearsal, etc.) on the day they are absent without prior administrative approval. Chronic tardiness may also result in loss of extra-curricular activity participation. 

Back to Top 

Extended Excused Absence

In the event of extended lawful absences (or extenuating circumstances), teachers and counselors will work with students to develop appropriate deadlines for missed work. For extended illness, parents should call the counseling services office for assignments. A two-day turn around period is usually necessary. The absence should be for a minimum of five days and the absence should extend at least two days beyond the time the work is picked up.

Back to Top

Early Dismissal or Lunch Dismissal Procedure

A student who must leave school during the day for necessary appointments must have a note from his/her parent/guardian stating the reason for the early dismissal and the time of departure including a phone number where the parent/guardian can be called to verify the requested early departure.

The student will give his/her early dismissal note to the attendance secretary before school. The attendance secretary will complete an early dismissal form and give the student a copy.

In the absence of a note, a parent or guardian must be present to sign out the student. 

When the departure time arrives, the student shows the early dismissal form to the teacher whose class s/he is leaving and goes to the attendance office to sign out of school. If the early departure is for only part of the day and the student returns to school, he/she must sign in at the attendance office upon returning. The attendance secretary will give the student a re-admit-to-class slip when the student returns.

If a student becomes ill during the day, s/he should get a pass from the classroom teacher and report to the health room. Students will not be admitted into the health room without a pass.If a student is ill, s/he MUST report to the health room. The school nurse or health technician will determine if a student needs to go home. If the health room is unattended, the student should report to the main office.

If a student should become ill when at home during lunch, a parent must call an administrator or the attendance secretary before the student is to report for his/her next class, or as soon thereafter as possible. A written note must accompany the student upon his/her return to school.

Students are not permitted to leave school during their scheduled day, other than for lunch, without prior knowledge and approval of the school. Students arriving or departing for appointments or illness during lunch must sign in and out. 

Back to Top

Tardiness to School Procedure

Students are expected to be present in the classroom before the late bell, or they are considered tardy to class. Students in the hallway following the late bell will be admitted to class and marked tardy. Students arriving late to school must use the main entrance.

Students arriving between 7:25 - 7:35 a.m. will be sent straight to class. Students arriving from 7:35 a.m. to the end of first period with a lawful absence will report to the attendance secretary. Students arriving from 7:35 p.m. to the end of first period with an unlawful absence will be given an unexcused pass by security and will report to class.

Note: Unexcused tardies will be recorded and three unexcused tardies will equal one unexcused/unlawful absence. A tardy is defined as “late to class.”

Back to Top

Tardiness to Class

Students arriving to class without a pass after the second bell rings will be marked unexcused tardy. Students arriving to class more than twenty minutes late may be considered absent. No staff member (except administrator/counselor) may excuse a student from another teacher’s class. 

Consequences for tardiness:

  • First and second offense: Teacher discretion
  • Third offense: Teacher contacts parent and counselor and assigns lunch detention
  • Continued offenses: Teacher contacts administrator with documented contact of parent and counselor in writing for administrative intervention

Note: Unexcused tardies will be recorded and three unexcused tardies will equal one unexcused/unlawful absence. A tardy is defined as “late to class.”

Back to Top

Consequences for Cutting Class

Students are expected to be in each class for which they are scheduled unless officially lawful. All students will be assigned administrative detention for each missed class. After school administrative detention will be assigned for each missed class.

  • 1st missed detention:   doubled
  • 2nd missed detention: mandatory parent conference

Back to Top

Work Missed During Unlawful Absences (Tests, Quizzes, Assignments)

Students are expected to make up missed work regardless of the legal status of their absence in accordance with Regulation IKA-RA, Grading and Reporting, and the MCPS Grading and Reporting Procedures Manual.

  • Teachers may assign an equivalent, but different task/assessment to students when they return from any absence. However, this must be within the same instructional unit.
  • For unlawful absences, teachers must provide students access to the curriculum. However, teachers may deny students the opportunity to earn credit for missed work/assessments.
  • Work due on unlawful absence day may be graded as late work per the MCPS Grading and Reporting Policy.

Back to Top

Attendance Eligibility

The following guidelines must be followed by any student wishing to participate in an athletic or non-athletic extracurricular activity (practice/contest, meeting, game, rehearsal, etc.).

  • Students must be in school all of their scheduled day and attend all of their classes. Students who have not done this are not eligible to participate in the extracurricular activity (practice/contest, meeting, game, rehearsal, etc.) that day.
  • Any student who misses classes due to truancy or class cutting will miss the extracurricular activity (practice/contest, meeting, game, rehearsal, etc.) for that day or the first day it is “discovered” as determined by the administration. Additional disciplinary action may be imposed by the coach or administrator.

Back to Top

How Attendance is Monitored

Effective Fall 2011, the attendance program is part of the MCPS current grade book program (Pinnacle) and will:

  • Send a warning letter or an e-mail if your student has three unlawful absences.
  • Send a letter or e-mail if your student has five unlawful absences to inform you that your student will fail the class unless an appeal or an attendance intervention plan is completed.
  • Send an e-mail informing the student’s counselor and administrators when notices are generated.
  • identify students who are in danger of failing, to assist counselors and administrators in the development of attendance intervention plans
  • Provide period-by-period attendance reports accessible by teachers, counselors, and administrators.
  • Provide an automatic notice to administrators of teachers not taking attendance.

Please be sure our main office has current home and e-mail addresses.

Back to Top

Loss of Credit (Failure)

  • Students with five unlawful absences in a class will automatically be required to submit an appeal of the recording of their absences if they or their parents/guardians believe any absence was recorded incorrectly, and/or
  • The counselor/administrative team will consult with the teacher regarding requirements for make-up work and will communicate the information to the student and student's parent/guardian. An administrator will review and sign off on the intervention plan.
  • If a student does not complete either an appeal of attendance recording or an attendance intervention plan and/or continues to be unlawfully absent, the student will not receive credit for the course.

Back to Top

Attendance Appeal Form

The Attendance Appeal Form is to be utilized when parents/students believe that the student's attendance has been misrecorded as an unexcused absences either in the belief that the student was actually in the class or was absent and the absence should have been excused.

Back to Top

This page is maintained by the Seneca Valley High School Web Team
Click here to log in