Sycamore Middle School staff is committed to helping all students succeed educationally. An important factor in achieving this goal is for students to be in school on a regular basis. Regular attendance is one of the most important factors in determining success in school. Class discussion, demonstrations, labs, and hands-on activities cannot be regained by make-up work. Poor attendance results in lower grades, disinterest in school, and ultimately dropping out of school or retention. No student should miss class without valid cause or prior approval by the building administrator.
Reporting an Absence
A student’s absence must be called in by a parent or guardian. Please call 899-8182 to report an absence. Leave the student’s name and reason for the absence.
Valid cause for absence means illness, observance of a religious holiday, death in the immediate family, court-related actions, circumstances which cause parent concern for the safety and health of the child, and family emergency (as deemed valid by school building administration). Valid cause absences shall be considered excused, and work missed is allowed to be submitted for credit. The school principal has the right to determine what constitutes an excused absence. “Take Your Child to Work Day” in April will result in an absence on the student’s attendance record.
If a student has been ill for three or more days a doctor’s excuse MAY BE REQUIRED.
If the illness will cause more than a one-day absence, parents may inform the secretary on the first day and then they will not have to call every day for the same illness. Students will have one day per each day missed to make up absence-related work.
School Related Absence. Students are considered to be in attendance and are expected to make up work for credit when absent from school, on a field trip, or other school-related trips.
Vacation Absence. Vacation absences are absences for recreational/enjoyment reasons. Sycamore School District strongly encourages parents to plan vacations to coincide with the school calendar and avoid taking valuable educational time away from their children. Students who know in advance that they will be absent from school for vacation must check with the attendance office. The student must request a special form at least 5 days in advance. A phone call from a parent is required either prior to or at this time. Vacation absences will be considered as excused (absences with valid reasons) for up to five days, unless parent has been notified that a doctor’s note is required for all absences. However, they are included as days absent for the total absence policy including the truancy stage. More than 5 days will be considered unexcused. Work may or may not be prepared in advance; that is up to teacher discretion. Any work assigned over vacation is due upon return. Vacation absences may impact your child’s learning and/or grade. All work/tests will need to be made up upon return in a timely manner (one day per day missed) in order to receive full credit.
Unexcused Absence (Truant)
- Truant means a child who is absent without valid cause for a school day or portion of the day. Students in truancy may not be allowed to attend extra-curricular activities such as dances, per principal’s discretion.
- Chronic or Habitual Truant means a “child subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause from such attendance for 5% or one of the previous 180 regular attendance days”.
- Truant Minor means a child who is a “chronic truant to whom supportive services, including prevention, diagnostic, intervention, and remedial service, alternative programs, and other school and community resources have been provided and have failed to result in the cessation of chronic truancy, or have been offered and refused”.
Using the definitions cited, the school district shall determine if the student is a truant, chronic or habitual truant, or a truant minor. Every attempt will be made to determine the reason for a student’s truancy through talking with him/her, through parent conference, or through other means. Work may or may not be accepted from students who have an unexcused absence per administrative discretion.
The following support services may be offered to a student who is experiencing an attendance problem:
- Conferences: Student or Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Counseling: Counselor or Social Worker
- Schedule Changes
- Parent Letter or Telephone Call
- Involvement of School Nurse
- Referral to Student Teacher Assistance Team
- Consideration of Alternative Education Programs
- Information about Existing Community Services
If the supportive services of the school district have been offered to the student, and proven ineffective and the behavior persists, the building principal will refer the student to the DeKalb County Truancy Prevention Program.
20 Full Day Absence Plan
- 6th Full Day of Absence – Letter to Parent
- 10th Full Day of Absence – Letter to Parent
- 14th Full Day of Absence – Letter to Parent
- 16th Full Day of Absence – Parent Notification/Doctor’s note required for subsequent absences
- 5th Day Unexcused in last 180 days – Referral may be made to DeKalb County Regional Office of Education Truancy Intervention/Prevention Program
Doctor’s Note Required
After sixteen absences per school year, to excuse each absence thereafter, a physician’s note stating specific medical reasons for the student’s absence will be required within 24 hours of the student’s return to school. While seeking a medical excuse, the student’s parent or guardian must still comply with absence notification procedures. Should a parent or guardian choose not to secure a medical excuse, the absence will be considered unexcused. Medical notes must be signed by a doctor and state specific days that a student is excused from school.
After five unexcused absences during the previous 180 days of school attendance, a referral may be made to the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education Truancy Intervention/Prevention Program.
For safety reasons, our doors are locked at 8:20. If a student enters the building after this time, he/she must get a pass from the office to enter class. Students will be asked to explain the reason for the tardiness. Five unexcused tardies will result in a 1 hour detention, ten will result in 2 hour detention, fifteen will result in a 3 hour detention, and twenty will result in a 4 hour detention. If a student fails to serve an assigned detention, the time will be doubled. If the student fails to serve the doubled detention, the student will be required to attend Saturday Service.
Unexcused tardies will be monitored carefully. Five unexcused tardies will equal 1 full day absence.
During the school day there are three minutes given between class periods. Any tardiness during the school day will be dealt with by the classroom teacher. This includes students who are tardy to their first period class. Students are expected to be in their seat when the final bell sounds at the beginning of each period.
Unexcused Absences for Failure to Call
Any full day or partial day absence, which is not called in by a parent within two hours of the beginning of the school day for the reasons identified as “excused absences,” will be termed “unexcused.” A parent’s call does not make the absence excused if the reason for the absence is not excusable (e.g. shopping, sleeping, hunting, babysitting, car problems, etc.) Work may or may not be accepted from students who have an unexcused absence per administrative discretion.
Suspensions are considered excused absences. Students may make up assignments given during their suspension per Board of Education policy. (See suspensions in the Discipline section.)
Attendance at School Activities
Students must be in attendance during the school day to participate in, or attend, school activities. Students absent from school for more than four periods (l/2 day) or who were assigned AEP during the day for multiple periods are not eligible to participate or attend activities.
It is the expectation of the district that at the time of any initial registration, the parent/guardian of the student will complete a form that indicates they have met the residency requirements of the district prior to the student being accepted.