I want to take this opportunity to give each of you detailed information regarding the attendance policies of the Laurel Highlands School District. The regular attendance of the students is crucial to his/her optimal learning, and it is the shared responsibility of
the school and the home to assist students to develop good habits regarding punctuality and attendance. All students are expected to attend school on a daily basis, report to school on time, which is 8:45 A.M., and remain in school the full day to receive the maximum benefits of the instructional program. Research has proven that there is a direct relationship between poor attendance and class accomplishments, including but not limited to achieving higher grades. Students who are either late for school, or who are being dismissed before scheduled dismissal times, are missing important instructional time and are creating a situation that is very disruptive for the classroom teacher. To assist all parents/guardians of students at Hutchinson Elementary, the following school district policies regarding attendance, tardiness, and early dismissals need to be followed.
The attendance record of each student is monitored on a regular basis for excessive absenteeism, tardiness and early dismissal. Excessive absenteeism is when a student accumulates ten (10) absences during the school year. Parental excuses, unexcused/illegal absences, tardiness and early dismissals all count against the allotted ten (10) absences. Written excuses are required for all absences, and these excuses must be given to the teacher within three (3) days of the student returning to school, or the absence becomes unexcused/illegal. Medical excuses are required when a student is absent for three (3) consecutive days, or when they have missed more than the allotted ten (10) absences. After ten (10) medical excuses, a meeting may be scheduled to discuss medical and/or attendance concerns. Should a student accumulate three (3) days of unexcused/illegal absence, the school will send home information informing the parents/guardians of the situation. Should an accumulation of six (6) unexcused/illegal absences occur, a referral is made to Crime Victims Center for a Truancy Plan. Should absences occur beyond the above limits, parents/guardians can be prosecuted by the school district’s attendance officer for non-compliance with the compulsory attendance laws of the state of Pennsylvania.
Students are considered tardy for school if they arrive at school after 8:45 A.M. Students arriving between 8:45 A.M. and 10:15 A.M. will be charged a quarter (.25) day absence, and students arriving between 10:15 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. will be charged a half (.50) day absence. Students are considered dismissed early if they leave school between 12:00 P.M. and 3:35 P.M. Students that leave between 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. will be charged with a half (.50) day absence, and students leaving between 2:00 P.M. and 3:35 P.M. will be charged a quarter (.25) day absence.
Students signed in as tardy or signed out as an early dismissal must have the reason stated on the signature forms or the situation is coded as unexcused. (Personal or family are not acceptable reasons as per the Pennsylvania School Code, and will be documented as unexcused/illegal). Students are permitted four (4) tardies and four (4) early dismissals per year when documented by a parent/guardian excuse. After the allotted amount has been exhausted, all instances of tardiness/early dismissals are unexcused unless a medical excuse is submitted within three (3) days. As per the Laurel Highlands Attendance Policy and as stated above, tardiness and early dismissals are cumulative and count against the ten (10) days of absence allotted for the entire school year.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Hopefully the information detailed above will help you to better understand the attendance policies of the school district and of the state. It is not our intention to penalize students, but it is our goal to have all students in school every school day for the entire school day. Additionally, the school is required by law to file yearly attendance reports with the state to document that the school is achieving a high attendance rate. The district policies are designed to help each school meet and surpass state requirements, and to increase the probability of student success. We very much appreciate your continued support of these policies and of the Hutchinson students.
Mr. Richard L. Hauger, Principal