School Attendance Procedures

FILE: JH

Chapter 76, Section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend school. In addition to this law, each district may have its own attendance policy with which parents and guardians should be familiar.

The administration and faculty of Burlington Public Schools believe that attendance by students at school is vitally important to a successful education. It is the responsibility of parents to insure that students attend school daily. Dismissals from school other than an emergency are not in the best interest of the student. Non-emergency medical or dental appointments should be scheduled for after school hours. We strongly discourage family vacations when school is in session. In addition to compromising the attendance law, family vacations and non-emergency dismissals interrupt the educational process of each course in ways that make-up work cannot reverse. Teachers are not required to give out homework and assignments prior to a family vacation. School work missed for these reasons will be made up upon return to class. Students are responsible for arranging for makeup work.

Student Absence Notification Program
At the commencement of each school year, parents/guardians will be sent a notice instructing them to call a designated telephone number at a designated time to inform the school of the student's absence and the reason for such absence. The notice will also require such parent or guardian to furnish the school with a home, work, or other emergency telephone number where they can be contacted during the school day. If the school does not receive a message from the parent/guardian by the designated time, then the school shall call the telephone number or numbers furnished to inquire about the student's absence. Parents will be contacted the day of the student's absence if the Parent(s) or Guardian has not contacted the school regarding the absence.

Examples of absences or tardiness that will be excused:

  •   Documented illness, injury or medical appointment

  •   Bereavement/family funeral

  •   Major religious observances

  •   Legal appearance

  •   Extraordinary family circumstances (excused at the discretion of the principal)

    Examples of absences or tardiness that are unexcused include, but are not limited to:

  •   Repetitive or chronic absence or tardiness due to illness or injury not documented by a doctor

  •   Truancy

  •   Family vacations

  •   Undocumented absences

  •   Non-emergency family situations

    Attendance Regulations - Unexcused absences from school:

  1. A school principal may excuse up to seven day sessions or fourteen half-day sessions in any period of six months.

  2. When a student has accumulated five unexcused absences in a school year, a call will be made to the attendance number provided by the parents or guardians. The purpose of the call will be toinform the parents or guardians of the student’s attendance record and so the school principal, ora designee, can schedule a meeting with the parent or guardian to develop action steps for student attendance. The action steps shall be developed jointly and agreed upon by the school principal,or a designee, the student and the student’s parent or guardian. Additional input from other relevant school personnel and officials from relevant public safety, health and human services, housing and nonprofit agencies may be included in the action plan.

3. When a student has accumulated two unexcused absences within a span of five school days, a callwill be made to the attendance number provided by the parents or guardians from the Principal’s Office, or the Principal’s designee, notifying the parents or guardians of the student’s absences.

First Reading: 11/17/14
Second Reading: 12/16/14
Adopted by the Burlington School Committee: 12/16/14