POSITIVE ATTENDANCE PATTERNS = SCHOOL SUCCESS !
From Your School Counselor
National research shows 1 in 10 kindergarten and first grade students miss at least a
month of school every year (that is 28-31 days). Some findings have reported that as few
as 15 absences per year, excused or unexcused together, may place a student at risk for
developing poor attendance habits. Most absences in elementary school are considered
chronic absenteeism and can lead to an entrenched pattern which becomes very difficult
to change as a student gets older.
Unfortunately attendance in school is a variable often overlooked in relation to student
achievement and the positive impact of good attendance may be greater than what most
have ever thought. It is now often documented that students with poor attendance do
not do as well long term in relation to maintaining educational growth and completing
high school. Furthermore, other potential difficulties such as juvenile delinquency and
social isolation are also connected to early poor attendance patterns which can
ultimately turn into truancy in middle and high school.
Embracing positive attendance habits are essential to your child’s educational success.
Proper nutrition, sleep, and daily bedtime routines help to ensure your child maintains
good physical health and a positive attitude for school. Understanding how attendance
patterns may ultimately affect your child’s success in school will hopefully help families
embrace the important value of regular attendance in school. It is also important as a
parent to understand our School District’s policy regarding attendance.
Hernando County School District Attendance Policy (Summarized):
The following policies are intended to promote proper attitudes and encourage student responsibility. The following shall apply to all
Excused Absences The following absences may be excused and the student will be allowed to make-up work: personal illness, death in
the family, doctor/dentist appointment, religious holidays, trips/vacations, school sponsored activities, college visits, court appearance, and
*For personal illness, a note signed by the parent(s)/guardian(s) must accompany the student on his/her return to school explaining the
student’s illness. Notes must be received within three days after the student returns. For long term illness, a doctor’s excuse will be
*Trips or vacations with parent(s)/guardian(s) must be pre-arranged and approved by the principal’s office, except in cases of
emergencies. The principal or designee shall make final determination and have the authority to limit the number of days for such absences
based on student’s grades, prior attendance and the dates of the proposed trip/vacation.
*When a child is discovered to have lice or nits, the first three days a child is sent home are excused. A child may be excused for lice for
no more than nine days in any school year.
Unexcused Absences Unexcused absences shall mean any absence that is not explained by a written and signed note from the
parent(s)/guardian(s) citing one of the criteria for excused absence. If requested by school officials, a physician’s note explaining the absence
may be required. Absences without a parent(s)/guardian(s) note are unexcused. Absences without a Health Care Provider note (when
required by the school) are unexcused.
Tardies If a student is not in the classroom when the tardy bell rings, he/she will be classified as tardy. A tardy will become an absence
from that class if more than one-half of the class period is missed. A student who accumulates five tardies or early releases during a grading
period, except for documented medical/dental appointments or other authorized reasons that constitute an excused absence, shall be
deemed absent from one school day. A single tardy becomes an absence if the student misses more than 51 % of the school day.
Intervention When a pattern of non-attendance is determined by the school, which is designated by state statutes as 5 unexcused
absences within a calendar month or 10 within a 90-calendar day, the appropriate actions will be initiated as indicated in the school
district’s Attendance and Truancy Manual.
Sources: Johnston, 2000, Lambdin, 1996; All About Attendance – A Manual and Case Studies for Schools and Families; W. Carruthers 1993; Education Week, November 2010.