Friday, 28 September 2012

Clarification of attendance policy

In an effort to protect the rights of students to an education in Alberta the School Act requires that all students "attend school regularly and punctually." (Section 12 [b])  The Calgary Board of Education, as an agent of Alberta Education, supports these conditions.  These requirements are in effect until a student is sixteen years of age.  That age is under review in the Province of Alberta. 

It is important to know that students who are late disrupt the learning environment for the teacher and students who are already in class.  When students are late to school in the morning or upon returning to school after lunch, they must report to the office for a late entry slip. We appreciate parents calling to inform us why their children are late. The decision to excuse a late is at the discretion of the school; CBE Administrative Regulation 6020 - Attendance of Student, Section 3, states "Students and parents shall account for absences or tardiness in a manner satisfactory to the school." For example, we do not excuse late entries that occur as a result of sleeping in, but would for a student coming late from a dentist appointment. If we don't receive an explanation for a late it is classified as unexcused. Students with unexcused lates must report to the late room during their next early lunch (Day 1 & 3 for grade 8/9, and Day 2 & 4 for grade 7).  Failure to attend the lunch detention may result in an in-school suspension. 

Similarly with absences, parents are encouraged to let us know the nature of the absence.  The school then determines whether the absence will be classified as excused or unexcused.  Absences which are not accompanied by an explanation from parents are classified as unexcused.  The school is expected to be in contact with parents when concerns about attendance develop (Administrative Regulation 6020, Section 5 [a]) .  In cases where a parent reports a significant number of absences as due to illness the school may contact the parent and request a doctor's note for any future absence that is reported as due to illness.  Those future absences would be considered unexcused without the doctor's note. Chronic unexcused absenteesim is detrimental to student success and may lead to the development of an Attendance Improvement Plan in an effort to get attendance back on track. It is always preferable that the plan is a collaborative result of the school, student and parents working together, but in cases where parents and students choose not to participate the school can proceed on its own. This process also may also lead to the involvement of the CBE Attendance Counsellor, the Attendance Board, or the Court of Queen's Bench.

It is important to know that our primary goal is to work with and support parents and students to ensure that all students attend MidSun regularly and punctually.

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