The School Board recognizes that attendance is an important factor in educational success, and supports a comprehensive approach to identify and address attendance issues. In order to succeed within the educational program, students must be physical present and meaningful engaged within the program of study. It is mandatory under the Pennsylvania Compulsory Attendance Law that students attend school regularly. The Lackawanna Trail administration and School Board are committed to complying with these regulations.
Compulsory School Attendance Requirements (Compulsory school age – the period of a child’s life from the time the child’s parents/guardians elect to have the child enter school, which shall be no later than eight (8) years of age, until the child reaches seventeen (17) years of age.)
All students of compulsory school age who reside in the School District shall be subject to the compulsory school attendance requirements. A student shall be considered in attendance if present at any place where school is in session by authority of the School Board; the student is receiving approved tutorial instruction, or health or therapeutic services; the student is engaged in an approved and properly supervised independent study, work-study or career education program; or the student is receiving approved homebound instruction.
The following students shall be excused from the requirements of attendance at district schools, upon request and with the required approval:
- On certification by a physician or submission of other satisfactory evidence and on approval of the Department of Education, children who are unable to attend school or apply themselves to study for mental, physical or other reasons that preclude regular attendance.
- Students enrolled in nonpublic or private schools in which the subjects and activities prescribed by law are taught.
- Students attending college who are also enrolled part-time in district schools.
- Students attending a home education program or private tutoring in accordance with law.
- Students fifteen (15) or sixteen (16) years of age whose enrollment in private trade or business schools has been approved.
- Students fifteen (15) years of age, and fourteen (14) years of age who have completed the highest elementary grade, engaged in farm work or private domestic service under duly issued permits.
- Students sixteen (16) years of age regularly employed during the school session and holding a lawfully issued employment certificate.
The following conditions or situations constitute reasonable cause for absence from school: Illness, including if a student is dismissed by designated staff during school hours for health-related reasons, obtaining professional health care or therapy service rendered by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, quarantine, family emergency, recovery from accident, required court attendance, death in family, participation in a project sponsored by a statewide or countywide 4-H, FFA or combined 4-H and FFA group (upon prior written request), observance of a religious holiday observed by bona fide religious group (upon prior written parental request), non-school-sponsored educational tours or trips. (See Educational Trips)
The following students may be temporarily excused from the requirements of attendance at district schools:
- Students receiving tutorial instruction in a field not offered in the district’s curricula from a properly qualified tutor approved by the Superintendent, when the excusal does not interfere with the student’s regular program of studies.
- Students participating in a religious instruction program, if the following conditions are met:
- The parent/guardian submits a written request for excusal. The request shall identify and describe the instruction, and the dates and hours of instruction.
- The student shall not miss more than thirty-six (36) hours per school year in order to attend classes for religious instruction.
- Following each absence, the parent/guardian shall submit a statement attesting that the student attended the instruction, and the dates and hours of attendance.
- School age children unable to attend school upon recommendation of the school physician and a psychiatrist or school psychologist, or both, and with approval of the Secretary of Education.
Parental Notice of Absence
Absences shall be treated as unlawful until the School District receives a written excuse explaining the absence, to be submitted within three (3) days of the absence. A maximum of ten (10) days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental/guardian notification shall be permitted during a school year. All absences beyond ten (10) cumulative days shall require an excuse from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts.
Absences which do not meet the criteria indicated above shall be considered an unexcused/unlawful absence. An out-of-school suspension may not be considered an unexcused absence.
Parental Notification – School District staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relation upon each incident of unexcused absence.
Early Release/End of School Day
Regarding the early release of students and the end of the school day, the following guidelines are listed:
- Students will be released early upon parent request for special reasons that may rise.
- Requests must be for one-time events. Requests for regular early release on a weekly, monthly etc., basis are not permitted.
- Secretaries should approve only emergency early releases from school. All other requests must be approved by the principal or assistant principal.
- Parent requests to avoid traffic problems is not an acceptable reason to leave school early. All such requests shall be denied.
- The school nurse must approve all medical releases.
The Board will utilize the following times to determine tardiness, early dismissals, and half-day absences:
- Tardy: After 9:00 AM and prior to or at 10:30 AM
- 1/2 Day AM Absence: Arrival after 10:30 AM
- 1/2 Day PM Absence: Departure prior to or at 12:15 PM
- Early Dismissal: After 12:15 PM
Jr. Sr. High School
- Tardy: After 7:45 AM and prior to 10:47 AM
- 1/2 Day AM Absence: Arrival after 10:47 AM
- 1/2 Day PM Absence: Departure prior to or at 11:27 AM
- Early Dismissal: After 11:15 AM
Enforcement of Compulsory Attendance Requirements
Student is Truant (Truant – having incurred three (3) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to compulsory school attendance.) – When a student has been absent for three (3) days during the current school year without a lawful excuse, district staff shall provide notice to the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student within ten (10) school days of the student’s third unexcused absence.
The notice may include the offer of a School Attendance Improvement Conference.
If the student incurs additional unexcused absences after issuance of the notice and a School Attendance Improvement Conference was not previously held, district staff shall offer a School Attendance Improvement Conference.
School Attendance Improvement Conference – School District staff shall notify the person in parental relation in writing and by telephone of the date and time of the School Attendance Improvement Conference. The purpose of the School Attendance Improvement Conference is to examine the student’s absences and reasons for the absences in an effort to improve attendance with or without additional services.
The following individuals shall be invited to the School Attendance Improvement Conference:
- The student
- The student’s person in parental relation
- Other individuals identified by the person in parental relation who may be a resource
- Appropriate school personnel
- Recommended service providers
Neither the student nor the person in parental relation shall be required to participate, and the School Attendance Improvement Conference shall occur even if the person in parental relation declines to participate or fails to attend the scheduled conference.
The outcome of the School Attendance Improvement Conference shall be documented in a written School Attendance Improvement Plan. The Plan shall be retained in the student’s file. A copy of the Plan shall be provided to the person in parental relation, the student and appropriate district staff. The School District may not take further legal action to address unexcused absences until after the date of the scheduled School Attendance Improvement Conference has passed.
(School-based attendance improvement program – a program designed to improve school attendance by seeking to identify and address the underlying reasons for a child’s absences. The term may include an educational assignment in an alternative education program, provided the program does not include a program for disruptive youth established pursuant to Article XIX-C of the Pennsylvania Public School Code.)
Student is Habitually Truant (Habitually truant – having incurred six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to compulsory school attendance.)
– When a student under fifteen (15) years of age is habitually truant, School District staff:
Shall refer the student to:
A school-based or community-based attendance improvement program; or
The local children and youth agency.
May file a citation in the office of the appropriate judge against the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student.
When a student fifteen (15) years of age or older is habitually truant, district staff shall:
- Refer the student to a school-based or community-based attendance improvement program; or
- File a citation in the office of the appropriate judge against the student or the person in parental relation who resides in the same household as the student.
District staff may refer a student who is fifteen (15) years of age or older to the local children and youth agency, if the student continues to incur additional unexcused absences after being referred to a school-based or community-based attendance improvement program, or if the student refuses to participate in such program.
Regardless of age, when district staff refer a habitually truant student to the local children and youth agency or file a citation with the appropriate judge, district staff shall provide verification that the school held a School Attendance Improvement Conference.
Special Needs and Accommodations – If a truant or habitually truant student may qualify as a student with a disability, and require special education services or accommodations, the Director of Special Education shall be notified and shall take action to address the student’s needs in accordance with applicable law, regulations, and School Board policy.
For students with disabilities who are truant or habitually truant, the appropriate team shall be notified and shall address the student’s needs in accordance with applicable law, regulations and Board policy.
Note: Disciplinary consequences for students who are truant from school, but are not bound by compulsory attendance laws, will be at the discretion of the administration and may include, but are not limited to, detention, removal of parking/driving privileges, restricted access to extracurricular participation, removal from field trips, dismissal from commencement exercises, etc.
Recognition of Exceptional Attendance
Students who accumulate three (3) or less days of unexcused absence and no unexcused absences in a school year will be acknowledged by the school faculty/administration. The acknowledgement will include either:
- A medal of outstanding attendance
- A medal of perfect attendance
Students shall be recognized in their senior year and upon graduation at the annual Class Night awards program for outstanding attendance in their senior year, perfect attendance in their senior year, and/or exemplary career attendance with an attendance medal. Career attendance specifications shall be at the discretion of administration.
Lackawanna Trail Cyber Academy
Students enrolled in Lackawanna Trail Cyber Academy (LTCA) course(s), either full-time or part-time, must maintain a minimum of progress towards completion of the course(s) and daily contact online consistent with the Lackawanna Trail School District calendar. The School District understands that students often choose online learning for flexibility; however, LTCA functions under a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum with hard Module (MOD) deadlines. The School District receives weekly attendance and progress reports from LTCA’s virtual homeroom teachers. Please consider the following:
- Anything submitted after the MOD deadline will be considered ‘Past Due’ (unless the School District grants an extension).
- Deadlines are set according to the School District calendar (approximately every 5 school days).
- We have determined that students are most successful when they do not have the opportunity to fall behind.
The attendance policy of Lackawanna Trail Cyber Academy (LTCA) is based on homeroom attendance and assignment submissions. In order to have a full day’s attendance for each school day, LTCA students must log in to homeroom daily and attend the entire session. They must also have submitted greater than or equal to 50% of their assigned tasks due for the current MOD by the MOD’s due date. If students do not have at least 50% of their assignments submitted, they will be marked unexcused by the following criteria. See table: