Policies - Section 3500 » 3515 - (JH-R) Attendance, Absenteeism, and Truancy

3515 - (JH-R) Attendance, Absenteeism, and Truancy

3515 (JH-R) Attendance, Absenteeism, and Truancy Procedure 3515 (JH-R)


The Board requires that school-aged children enrolled in the District attend school in accordance
with all applicable state laws and Board policies. 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.

Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in the District during the days and hours that
school is in session, except that the Principal may excuse a student for temporary absences when
receiving satisfactory evidence of conditions or reasons that may reasonably cause the student's

When students do not attend school or participate in their education, it is detrimental to learning.
In order to support students and families, the District will abide by the following procedures to
help truant students return to school and engage in their education.
Developing and Coordinating Strategies for Truancy Reduction

Administration will continue to seek truancy-prevention and truancy-reduction strategies along
with the recommendations listed below:
  1. Coordinate truancy-prevention strategies based on the early identification of truancy,
    such as prompt notification of absences to parents.
  2. Assist school staff to develop site attendance plans by providing development
    strategies, resources, and referral procedures.
  3. Encourage and coordinate the adoption of attendance-incentive programs at school
    sites and in individual classrooms that reward and celebrate good attendance and
    significant improvements in attendance.
School Attendance Committees

Each school in the District shall have an attendance committee. The committee will consist of an
assistant principal, social worker, school counselors, and school nurse. The School Resource
Officer will attend committee meetings when appropriate. The committee will meet monthly
during the school year to look at student attendance data (and as appropriate, achievement data).
The committee will work with necessary personnel when identifying students in need of
intervention, and will develop a plan for each student that is truant or at risk of becoming truant.
Intervention Process to Address Truancy

When the attendance committee identifies a student who is habitually truant or who is in danger
of becoming habitually truant, an attendance intervention plan will be developed. This plan is
meant to support the student and the student's parents/guardians. The student, their
parent/guardian, and other staff members may be included in the planning process when
appropriate. In any situation, if the Principal/designee believes that a student's attendance
(regardless of whether absences are excused or unexcused) is negatively impacting their
education, the same measures may be put in place.
The interventions shall include, but are not limited to the following:

When a student reaches 3 days of unexcused absences, the Principal will send the student's
parent a letter which includes:
  1. A statement that the student is in danger of becoming habitually truant;
  2. A statement of the parent's responsibility to ensure that the student attends school; and
  3. A request for the parents/guardians to develop a family-based plan for reducing the
    student's truancy (See Attendance Plan Template).
When a student reaches 5 days (10 half-days) of unexcused absences, the Principal will send the
student’s parent a letter which includes:
  1. A statement that the student is now considered habitually truant.
  2. An invitation to a mandatory meeting for the parents, where an Attendance Plan will
    be written and additional interventions will be explored to support the student’s regular
  3. A note that continued truancy may result in a referral to the New Hampshire
    Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).
*Note - For children 13 and under, it is typically considered educational neglect.
Specific Interventions and Meeting Topics
    1. Investigate the cause(s) of the student's truant behavior;
          • Ensure barriers such as language, transportation, or finances are not keeping the
            student from attending school.
    2. Consider, when appropriate, modification of his/her educational program to meet
      particular needs that may be causing the truancy;
          • Specifically note the impact of the absences to date on the student’s educational
    3. Involves the parents in the development of an Attendance Plan designed to reduce the
          • An in person meeting is best, but may be done via phone or virtual meetings.
          • Note whether or not parents attend these meetings.
          • Should include a home visit if truancy is chronic.
    4. Seeks alternative disciplinary measures, but still retains the right to impose discipline
      in accordance with the District's policies and administrative guidelines on student
      discipline; and
    5. Determination as to whether school record keeping practices and parental notification
      of the student's absences have an effect on the child's attendance.
Parental Notification of Truancy Policy

Each school shall also ensure that the District’s attendance policy and this procedure are included
in or referenced in the student handbook annually.

Additional Interventions and Supports

The purpose of intervention is to change patterns or behaviors. The District recognizes that for
some students and parents/guardians, positive reinforcement and support are more effective
means of changing behaviors related to truancy. Some examples of positive reinforcement and
intervention for schools and attendance teams to consider include:
    • Developing a school based parent support group, utilizing parents who have previously
      struggled to help share their experiences.
    • Having students and administrators calling home and sharing good news when at risk or
      truant students find small successes.
    • Sending positive letters home when students reach a particular attendance threshold
      demonstrating a change in attendance behavior.
    • Developing a token economy system to celebrate tier 1 (universal) attendance, as well as
      providing incentives when tier 2 and 3 attendance students