Showing up for school has a significant impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.
To help ensure that students attend school regularly, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has issued a new truancy law - the Compulsory Attendance and School Attendance Improvement Plan. This new law is a cross-agency collaboration with the Department of Human Services and the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, and aligns with state agency efforts to provide comprehensive guidelines for schools, families and communities.
The mandate differs from how the Keystone Oaks School District has handled truancy in the past and went into effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 School Year.
This new law is also addressed in Keystone Oaks Policy #204, which can be found online: http://www.kosd.org/Downloads/204%20Attendance%20final.pdf.
We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school, regardless of the reason, it can cause them to fall behind academically. When your child is absent, an excuse must be turned in within 3 days of the absence. A school excuse form is available on the District’s website.
- Three Unexcused or Illegal Absences
- A letter will be sent to parents/guardians within 10 days of the third absence.
- The District may offer a School Attendance Improvement Conference with parents to discuss the issue.
- More Than Three Unexcused or Illegal Absences
- The District will hold a School Attendance Improvement Conference with parents/guardians to create a School Attendance Improvement Plan.
- Legally, the parent/guardian and student must be invited to the conference, but are not required to attend. The team, which includes appropriate school personnel and recommended service providers, will meet to develop a plan.
- Six Unexcused or Illegal Absences
- Students will be referred to CYS (Children and Youth Services) or a school-based or community-based Attendance Improvement Program.
- The District MAY file a Citation with the District court if the child is under the age of 15. For students ages 15 & 16, a Citation MUST be filed with the District Court.
- A medical note is needed on the 16th excused/unexcused absence and beyond.
It is important that your child attends school every day and arrives on time. If you have questions about the district’s attendance policy or the new state guidelines, please contact your building principal.