Absences

Policies and Call in procedure

ATTENDANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURE INFORMATION taken from 2020-21 FHS School Handbook (page 18)

SCHOOL AND CLASS ATTENDANCE

Attending class regularly, doing assigned work, and class participation are directly related to success in school. There is no way to duplicate the classroom experience after a student has been absent. The school does not condone students missing school unnecessarily. If a student is to succeed in high school, regular attendance is important. The basic responsibility for the regular attendance of the student lies with the student and parent, [NOTE - All references to ‘parent’ mean parent(s) or guardian(s)]. The school will make every reasonable effort to inform parents/guardians of excessive absences from school or from classes.

Absences for any reason other than illness must be pre-arranged. School officials will not grant permission for a student to leave the school for any reason during the school day until a parent/guardian has been informed. Absences and tardies are part of a student’s permanent record.

ABSENCE CALL-IN PROCEDURE

Attendance Line:  Please call (508) 613-1401 

Provide the following information when calling the Attendance Line when your child is absent from school:

  • Name of person calling 
  • Student’s name and grade
  • Date(s) of absences
  • Reason for the absence
  • Number where you can be reached for any questions
 

Do NOT leave the following information on the absence line:

• Confidential medical information-please speak to the nurse directly
• Requests for homework
• Messages for the classroom teacher or for Solutions Personnel

 

When Should You Call the School Nurse About a Child with an Illness?

We encourage parents/guardians to call any time they have concerns about symptoms or illness and specifically for the following reasons:

  • A new medical diagnosis, or a change in your child’s health status i.e. the diagnosis of an allergy
  • A newly prescribed medication
  • Any change(s) in a current medication
  • A serious injury such as an illness, or hospitalization
  • A fracture, sprain, stitches, cast or need for crutches/wheelchair
  • A contagious disease such as chicken pox, flu, strep throat, whooping cough (pertussis), salmonella, measles, etc.
  • If your child is absent for an extended period of time with atypical symptoms for a prolonged period of time 
  • If there are any recent changes in your family that may affect your child; such as, a birth, recent loss, or sudden illness.

 

ABSENT FROM SCHOOL POLICY: Documented / Undocumented Absence

Students must present a note signed by a parent/guardian to their house office upon return to school. The note must indicate the date(s) and reason(s) for the absence.

Students will not be required to present an absence note if phone verification of the absence has taken place ON THE DAY OF THAT ABSENCE. Any student who is absent and does not comply with the above-stated procedure will be considered TRUANT/CUTTING CLASS and subject to disciplinary action.

AN ABSENCE NOTE OR PHONE CALL FROM A PARENT DOES NOT DOCUMENT A STUDENT’S ABSENCE. THE NOTE OR PHONE CALL IS A RECORD THAT THE PARENT/ GUARDIAN WAS AWARE OF THE ABSENCE AND WHY THE STUDENT WAS NOT IN SCHOOL

In these instances, there is no school-based consequence until the student exceeds the limit for undocumented absences. (See below).

Documented Absence:

Students who wish to have an absence documented must present the required documentation when they return to school but no later than 7 school days following their absence.

Documented daily absences for the purpose of this policy are: 

  • Family bereavement (parent note required)
  • Religious holiday (parent note required)
  • Absences due to illness (or a medical appointment) with written verification from a physician’s office. 
  • School-approved field trips (including a limited number of athletic events to be designated by the administration) the appropriate form signed by the parent granting permission and teacher approval.
  • Representation of Franklin High School in a school-related activity.
  • Suspension for violation of the school disciplinary code if the regulations of the suspension policy are followed.
  • Court appointment with official court time and date verification.
  • Nurse, guidance, or administrative appointment reported to the house office by said staff.
  • For Grade 12 and 11 students ONLY: College interview/visit documented on college Letterhead (limit of 6 between Junior and Senior year).
  • School field trips

Examples of UNDOCUMENTED ABSENCES (not a complete list):

  • Truancy
  • Tardy to school/class (20 minutes late)
  • Class cutting
  • Illness without documentation from a physician’s office
  • Family vacations, trips, obligations, etc.
  • Unnecessary absences from class as determined by an administrator.
  • Non-school related extracurricular events
  • Any form of “Skip Day” (see below)

Special Note: Any student who is twenty minutes late for class or who is dismissed twenty minutes before the end of the class will be considered to have an undocumented absence unless the tardiness/dismissal falls in the category of documented absence.

COLLEGE VISITS

Juniors and Seniors will be allowed six (6) school days over the two-year period for visiting colleges

A verbal or written request from the parent must be approved by the assistant principal BEFORE visiting the institution of higher learning. Proper documentation (signed form or letter from the admissions office on school letterhead) must be submitted to the assistant principal upon return to school. 

For seniors, college visits after May 1 require special approval from the assistant principal. Underclassmen who wish to visit colleges must make special arrangements with the appropriate assistant principal to begin the documentation process. 

SKIP DAYS 

“Skip Days” are different than undocumented absences in that skip days are generally not isolated to an individual student, but instead involve a group of students.  The administration reviews attendance on a daily basis and reserves the right to determine if a skip day has occurred.  Reasons the administration may determine a skip day occurred include, but are not limited to: unusually high absenteeism or tardiness within a specific group of students or information provided to the school that a group of students has abused the attendance policy.

“Skip days” are not a tolerated practice at Franklin High School. Students are expected to be in school on all school days except for medical, bereavement, court, or other unusual approved reasons. Parents/Guardians are asked to be particularly vigilant regarding school attendance if suspicion of a “skip day” arises. The school reserves the right to review all excuses and request documentation on “skip days.” The principal and their designee(s) reserve the right to administer academic, social, and disciplinary penalties after the case has been reviewed.

ATTENDANCE & LOSS OF CREDIT

The Franklin Public Schools expect parents/guardians and students to make every reasonable effort to have their child(ren) attend school every day. Attending class regularly, doing assigned work, and class participation are directly related to success in school. The basic responsibility for the regular attendance of the student lies with the student and parent, [NOTE - All references to ‘parent’ mean parent(s) or guardian(s)]. The schools uphold Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 76, Section 4 entitled “School Attendance.” This section of the General Laws requires parents/guardians to “cause” their children to regularly attend school. 

UNDOCUMENTED ABSENCE LIMITS (per term)

The Franklin High School administration enforces its attendance policy, as required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. However, knowing that student illness and extenuating circumstances arise, Franklin High School affords students a number of undocumented absences per term.

Classes that meet:

  • 5 days during a 7-day cycle will have an absence limit of 5 days (4 days for seniors in last quarter)
  • 2 days during a 7-day cycle will have an absence limit of 3 days (2 days for seniors in last quarter)
  • 1 day during a 7-day cycle will have an absence limit of 2 days (1 day for seniors in last quarter)

*For the purpose of this policy, an absence is defined as having missed more than 20 minutes of a class. The accumulation of 3 tardies (missed less than 20 minutes of a class) will count as 1 absence.*

Students who exceed the absence limit in a class will receive a letter grade for the term but will not be awarded credit for the particular class. Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to check attendance records regularly to ensure that students do not exceed the undocumented absence limit. Students and parents/guardians will have electronic access to attendance records via Aspen.  

As a courtesy, if a student is approaching the absent limit in a term, the assistant principal will notify parents/guardians in writing either by mail or electronically.  If a family does not have Internet access, they are encouraged to contact the school to arrange for paper copies of records to be provided. After absence notification is issued, it is the responsibility of the parent and student to monitor absenteeism and the absence limit. Parents/Guardians and students should be aware that tardies and dismissals without documentation will count as undocumented absences for missed classes.

LOSS OF CREDIT FOR EXCESSIVE ABSENCES

Students who have excessive absences from school, even when documented appropriately, may be subject to credit loss. Excessive absences (undocumented or documented) are defined as missing the equivalent of 20% of a given class during the school year (25 or more absences total for full-year courses, 13 or more absences total for semester courses). In these situations, the principal or designee will arrange for a meeting with the student and his or her parent/guardian to determine if the student has been available to access sufficient curriculum to earn credit and to develop a plan to improve attendance.

In extreme cases of excessive absences, when students are faced with extenuating circumstances that require significant medical interventions including extended hospitalizations, parents/guardians may request in writing that loss of credit be waived.  Parents/Guardians should submit any documentation that supports their request for review.  The decision to waive the loss of credit is at the sole discretion of the principal or their designee.

LOSS OF CREDIT

All undocumented absences will count towards the undocumented absence limit (per term). Any time a student is not physically present in class, the student will be considered absent. When a student has exceeded the undocumented absence limit during any quarter, administration will send written notice to the parents/guardians as notification of loss of credit and an opportunity to appeal for that course for the quarter. At this time the parent will also be informed of the appeal process noted below.

LOSS OF CREDIT APPEAL PROCESS

Once the student exceeds the absence limit in a particular class, the student/parent will receive a Notice of Opportunity to Appeal letter and will have 5 days from the receipt of the letter to start the appeal process. Failure to do so within the five-day limit will deem the matter closed. 

All appeals must be made in writing, via email, fax or paper.

Students and/or parents/guardians may appeal an undocumented absence to the assistant principal. After hearing the appeal and reviewing attendance records, the assistant principal will make a decision regarding the undocumented absence and loss of credit.

Students and/or parents/guardians may appeal the decision of the assistant principal to the principal. Parents/Guardians will have 7 days from the receipt of the letter to start the appeal process. Failure to do so within the seven-day limit will deem the matter closed.

After hearing the appeal and reviewing attendance records, the principal may extend the absence limit if he or she is satisfied that an unusual circumstance existed with an absence(s), tardy(s), or dismissal(s).

If the appeal is denied, the principal will send an official Loss of Credit Notification to those students who exceeded the absence limit without documentation and/or approved justification. 

The Loss of Credit letter will include information about Credit Recovery.

CREDIT RECOVERY

When a student exceeds an absence limit in a class and loses credit for a term, he or she will be directed to make an appointment to see his or her guidance counselor. The guidance counselor will discuss the three options to recover the term credit. Students will declare their intentions on a Credit Recovery Form and submit the form to their guidance counselor. The following Credit Recovery Options will be offered to students:

During the school year: Students are required to attend the Tutoring Center for a designated number of sessions based on the number of undocumented absences over the designated limit. Students with nine or more undocumented absences will be required to complete PLATO modules (online, web-based instructional program) that align with the curriculum of the class. Students may complete this online work during the school year and must achieve a score of 75 or better to receive credit for his or her work. (If a student exceeds the undocumented absences in the fourth-quarter they may opt to complete work in Summer School or during the first term of the subsequent year)

During the Summer: Complete PLATO modules (online, web-based instructional program) that align with the curriculum of the class. If available/applicable, students may complete this online work during summer school and must achieve a score of 75 or better to receive credit for his or her work.

Retake the course or take an equivalent course: Complete the course again next school year or, if applicable, take an equivalent course. 

If a student fails a course and exceeds the absence limit in the course, PLATO will not be an option. The student will need to retake the entire course or, if applicable, attend Summer School.

CLASS CUTS

Classroom attendance is extremely important. There are very serious consequences for students who cut classes.

Any student cutting an assigned class will receive a “0” for any classwork/tests missed and will be assigned an Extended Detention.

Chronic class cuts will result in assignment to Extended Detention, Friday Reflections, Academic Suspension, Social Suspension, and/or Out-of-School Suspensions

Students who do not maintain appropriate class attendance may be restricted access to or excluded from extra-curricular activities by the principal or their designee(s) in addition to other school-based discipline.

If a student is removed from a classroom for inappropriate behavior, it is the student’s  responsibility to contact the teacher within 24 hours to make up the missed work.

 

TARDY TO SCHOOL

School begins promptly at 7:35 AM. There is a 7:30 AM warning bell. Any student arriving after 7:35 a.m. is considered tardy and must report to the House Office for a tardy slip. Students will not be allowed into first period class without an admit slip/pass from the House Office. 

All tardies will be undocumented with the exception of the following:

  • Medical appointments with a note from a physician’s office designating the time of appointment. (All such appointments should be scheduled outside of school hours whenever  possible)
  • Family funeral
  • On highly unusual occasions deemed necessary by the assistant principal
  • Note: Car or transportation problems and oversleeping are not valid reasons for excusing tardiness to school
  • Drivers License/ permit tests with documentation from the registry (please note: this does NOT include driving hours)
  • Other circumstances as determined by the administration

Students will receive an office detention for each tardy.  Two exceptions will be made each quarter for students who are tardy at the discretion of the Administration.

If a student is tardy to any class for more than 20 minutes, they will be considered absent from that class and the absence will be recorded as undocumented. If a student is tardy (undocumented) to class 3 times, that will count as 1 undocumented absence toward the undocumented absence limit.  Each time a student accumulates 3 tardies in a class an additional undocumented absence will be added. 

Upon the fourth offense, the student will meet with their adjustment counselor and a parent/guardian will be notified. Chronic tardiness to school will result in the assignment of an Extended Detention or Friday Reflections. When a student exceeds five (5) undocumented tardies in a term, he or she will receive a Friday Reflection. At that time a school administrator will request a meeting with the student and their parent/guardian to discuss an individualized attendance plan.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students who drive to school and repeatedly violate the tardy policy will not be allowed to drive to school. Forfeiture of this privilege will be for a minimum of one (1) week.

TARDINESS TO CLASS 

It is the student’s responsibility to arrive at each class on time. Tardiness to class will not be tolerated. If a student is meeting with a teacher after class and believes he or she will not make it to his or her next class on time, the student is to obtain a pass from the teacher. 

Students who are tardy to class may receive a teacher detention. 

Once a student serves two (2) teacher detentions for tardiness to class, any additional tardiness will be referred to an assistant principal.

If a teacher deems a student’s tardiness to class to be excessive (with regard to time), the student will be referred to an assistant principal.

Chronic tardiness to class may result in an Extended Detention, Friday Reflections and/or Pass Restriction.

This procedure applies to all periods except for the first period, where students arriving late to class are considered tardy to school and must report to their Administrative Office for a tardy slip. Students will not be allowed into first period class without an admit slip/pass from their Administrative Office.

TRUANCY

1st Offense Zero in all courses on the day of truancy.
Parent conference required.
Assignment of two (2) sessions in the tutoring center or Friday Reflections
School Resource Officer will be contacted

 

2nd and Subsequent Zero in all courses on day truant.
Offenses: Parental conference required.
Assignment of two (2) sessions in the tutoring center,
Two Friday Reflections, or an In-School Suspension.
School Resource Officer will be contacted