Reopening: Student Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Every student has a right to educational opportunities that maximize personal academic, physical and social growth. Regular school attendance is a major component of academic success. The City School District of Albany educational program is predicated upon student presence, and requires continuity of instruction and active classroom participation, whether instruction takes place in-person or during remote learning models.

Goals:

  • Ensure compliance with Board of Education Attendance Policy (#5100)
  • Collaborate with school community members, students, parents and guardians, teachers, support staff and administrators regarding the importance of student attendance and engagement; and
  • Utilize Attendance Works Additional Attendance Measures during COVID-19 hybrid instruction/remote learning model by adding four additional key metrics, Contact, Connectivity, Relationships and Participation. These metrics paint a holistic picture of whether students are positioned to benefit from distance and blended learning opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Utilize board policy and develop appropriate record-keeping mechanisms to ensure that the attendance of all students is tracked and analyzed by reporting entity
  • Develop mechanisms for intervention when an individual student’s attendance record demonstrates a pattern requiring a need for improvement, including tracking of chronic absenteeism (when a student misses 10% of school days or more) and reduction of all barriers to good attendance
  • Ensure that all district schools accurately report information on students considered to be chronically absent, and implement effective strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce the incidences of chronic absenteeism
  • Continue the district “Attendance Matters” campaign to educate and engage families in promoting student attendance at school and on remote learning days.

Procedures:

  • Student attendance will continue to be required and recorded on all instructional days
  • On days when students are learning remotely, attendance will be taken using the schooltool student management system
  • Absences, Tardies and Early Departures (ATED): It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian of the student to notify the school office by telephone prior to or the morning of any ATED
  • As a follow-up to any oral notification, parents or guardians of the student shall provide a written or e-mailed excuse within five school days containing the date of the ATED and the reason. A doctor’s note verifying an absence is required after five consecutive days of absences. Lengthy or frequent absences with notes may be subject to inquiry. If a doctor’s note is not submitted after five days, the absence will be marked unexcused
  • For homeless students, the homeless liaison will assist the student in providing or obtaining documentation if needed
  • Attendance shall be taken at the beginning of each period of scheduled instruction or at the designated period. Each classroom teacher shall record the presence or absence of students in a classroom (in-person as well as virtual), and shall report all absences or tardies either electronically or in paper form during the instructional period
  • In the event that a student is absent from school without notification to school personnel, school personnel will contact the student’s home to confirm the student’s absence. If no contact with a parent or guardian is made at the home, such contact will be attempted at all alternative phone numbers. If, in either situation, no contact is made, a message will be left requesting that a return call be made to verify the student’s absence.

Reopening matrix:

High-level School Occupancy Scenario: Low risk.

School is open. Increased absences for students, faculty and staff 85%

High school: Daily attendance to be taken via homeroom daily – virtual option for students as needed (due to medical reason/opting into virtual/etc.). Teachers will still take class (period) attendance and keep records.

Middle school: Daily attendance to be either via homeroom or daily period conversion-virtual option for students as needed.

Elementary: Regular in-person daily attendance procedures

Mid-level School Occupancy Scenario: Elevated risk.

School is open with significant and prolonged absences of students, faculty and staff 65%

High school: Daily attendance to be taken via “check-in teacher” (similar to homeroom) daily – facilitated through “POD” teacher - combination of in-person and virtual. Teachers will still take class (period) attendance and keep records.

Middle school: Daily attendance to be either via homeroom or daily period conversion-virtual option for students as needed.

Elementary: Regular in-person daily attendance procedures or utilize classroom Google Classroom/Meet participation for daily attendance if virtual

Low-level School Occupancy Scenario: High risk.

School is open with mandated restrictions and alternate-day schedules for students, faculty and staff 25%-50%

High school: Daily attendance to be taken via “check-in teacher” (similar to homeroom) daily – facilitated through “POD” teacher - combination of in-person and virtual. Teachers will still take class attendance and keep records.

Middle school: Daily attendance to be either via homeroom or daily period conversion-virtual option for students as needed.

Elementary: Utilize classroom Google Classroom/Meet participation for daily attendance if virtual

No On-Site School Occupancy Scenario: Severe risk.

School is closed for an indeterminate period of time with remote/online instruction. Essential workers only in attendance

High school: Daily attendance to be taken via “check-in teacher” (similar to homeroom) daily – facilitated through “POD” teacher - virtual only. Teachers will still take class attendance and keep records.

Middle school: Daily attendance to be either via homeroom or daily period conversion-virtual options.

Elementary: Utilize classroom Google Classroom/Meet participation for daily attendance if virtual