Regular attendance for each child is necessary for maximum growth. Therefore, parents and the school should assume the responsibility for regular attendance. The regular school attendance of a child of school age is required by state law. Regular attendance is essential for success in school; therefore, absences shall be excused only for necessary and important reasons including illness, bereavement, other family emergencies, observances of major religious holidays of the family’s faith, and doctor’s appointments that cannot reasonably be scheduled during non-school time.
It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to notify the office when your child is absent and give the reason for your child’s absence or the absence will remain unexcused.
Reasons why the school needs to be contacted as early as possible:
- The home and school need to know quickly if any child left home but did not arrive at school.
- School district officials are required to know the reason for absences for the State Department of Education attendance accounting procedures.
- All absences are initially entered as unexcused (A) by the classroom teacher. If the attendance clerk receives a note or phone call providing an acceptable reason for the absence it is then changed to excused (X).
- Please notify the school office before 8:20 A.M. on any day that your child will not be in attendance, and by 7:35 A.M. if your child will be late. A message may be left on the office voice mail at any time. Please include your child’s name, teacher and specific reason for their absence. If you notify the school by phone, a note is not required upon the child’s return.
- When a student’s absence for personal illness exceeds three consecutive days, a statement from a physician or health clinic verifying the illness or other condition should be provided. Failure to provide any note within 5 days will result in an unexcused absence.
Cottonwood Elementary School and the Vail School District participates in the Pima County Attorney’s Office ACT Now (Abolish Chronic Truancy Now) Truancy Program. This program is designed to monitor those students who have chronic unexcused absences or unexcused tardiness.
A student is tardy if they arrive after 7:35 AM and the gates are closed. When students are tardy, they must report to the office for a late pass. This late pass ensures the student’s name will be removed from the daily absentee report. We are interested in educating all of our students and are willing to work with parents/guardians in correcting a child’s truancy problem. If other problems are contributing to unexcused absences and/or tardies that we may be able to help with, we welcome the opportunity to work with parents/guardians.
Arizona law requires that a parent or legal guardian must ensure that their minor child between the age of six and sixteen is in school for the full time school is in session, unless otherwise legally excused pursuant to A.R.S. 15-802 or 15-803.
Effective Monday, July 20th, 2015, Cottonwood will implement a new “Reverse Tardy Policy” to our existing tardy policy. Students who are checked out before 2:05PM (or 11:35 PM on a half day) from school without a valid excuse will receive consequences mirroring our standard tardy policy. Medical appointments, school-sponsored events, student illness, behavioral consequences, and other valid excuses will be excused.
Consequences for chronic unexcused absences or unexcused tardiness/reverse tardiness are as follows:
- The Vail School District Governing Board Policy JHB regarding truancy states: Unexcused absence for at least five (5) school days within a school year constitutes habitual truancy.
- The Cottonwood Policy: It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to notify the office when your child is absent and give the reason for your child’s absence or the absence will remain unexcused.
Three (3) unexcused tardies and/or reverse tardies equals one (1) unexcused absence.
A tardy is when a student arrives after 7:35 AM when the gates are closed
A reverse tardy is when a student is checked out before 2:05 PM or 11:35 AM on a half day.
Steps and procedures:
- After 5 unexcused absences or 7 unexcused tardies/reverse tardies a “School Truancy Warning Letter” is mailed informing parents/guardians of their child’s’ attendance concerns.
- If after the 7th unexcused absence or if more than 15 unexcused tardies/reverse tardies a “School Truancy Advisory Letter” is mailed that requires the parent/guardian to contact the Principal within 24 hours or the result will be an automatic referral to the Pima County Attorney’s ACT Now Truancy Enforcement Program.
If a student registered under Open Enrollment (living outside the school’s attendance boundaries) has excessive unexcused absences and/or tardies, they may have their application denied. If you have any questions, please contact the Principal at 879-2604.