Attendance Policy

BUNCOMBE COUNTY SCHOOLS HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE POLICY AND RELATED INFORMATION

The Buncombe County Board of Education (“Board”) believes that regular school attendance is of crucial importance for educational achievement, that learning experiences that occur in the classroom are essential components of its learning process, that time lost from class tends to be irretrievable in terms of opportunity for instructional interaction, and, therefore, that each student should attend school every day. The State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of seven (7) (or younger if enrolled) and sixteen (16) attend school. Further, the Board affirms that the primary responsibility for regular attendance resides with the parents/guardians and the individual student.

Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in school the full day. Tardies and early dismissals cause students to miss important information and are strongly discouraged. The school attendance team will develop appropriate interventions for students who are chronically tardy or who leave early. Tardies and early dismissals will be considered excused for the same reasons allowed for excused absences listed below.

HIGH SCHOOL SEMESTER-LONG COURSES

Students in grades 9-12 in semester-long courses may only have a maximum combined total of five (5) excused and unexcused absences per semester per class.

Absences are considered for each class and students must be present two thirds (2/3) of the class to be counted as present. Absences over five (5) days may be made up in Attendance Study Lab (ASL) or in Summer School to receive credit.

LAWFUL (EXCUSED) ABSENCES

When a student must miss school, the parent or legal guardian must supply documentation regarding the reason for the absence to the school upon the student’s return to school. Absences are listed as unexcused until documentation is received.

Documentation will not be accepted after thirty (30) days without prior approval from a school administrator or the attendance team.

Absences due to extended illnesses generally require a statement from a physician if there is a history of chronic absences. As soon as a parent anticipates a student’s extended absence because of a severe, prolonged, or chronic illness under a physician’s care, the parent shall notify the principal. The principal shall make arrangements for homebound/hospital-bound, or other appropriate instruction following procedures outlined by Special Services homebound guidelines.

In the case of excused absences and short-term out-of-school suspensions, the student will be permitted to make up any tests or other work missed. (See also policy 4351, Short-Term Suspension.) The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.

An absence may be excused for any of the following reasons:
  1. Personal illness or injury that makes the student physically unable to attend school.
  2. Isolation ordered by the local health officer or the State Board of Health.
  3. Death in the immediate family.
  4. Medical or dental appointment.
  5. Participation under subpoena as a witness in a court proceeding.
  6. At least two (2) days of excused absences are allowed each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student or a student’s parents.
  7. Participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel or service as a legislative or Governor’s page, with prior approval from the principal.
  8. Pregnancy and related conditions or parenting, when medically necessary.
  9.  student whose parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined by policy 4050, Children of Military Families; and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted additional excused absences at the discretion of the superintendent or designee to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian.

SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES

All classroom activities are important and difficult, if not impossible, to replace if missed. The Principal shall ensure that classes missed by students due to school-related activities are kept to an absolute minimum. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:
  • field trips sponsored by the school or Buncombe County Schools;
  • school approved job shadows and other work-based learning opportunities, as described in G.S.115C-47(34a), which are not to exceed two (2) days without prior principal approval;
  • school-initiated and -scheduled activities;
  • athletic events that require early dismissal from school;
  • required performance-based classroom competitions and performances, such as Band and Choral programs;
  • Career and Technical Education student organization activities approved in advance by the principal; and
  • in-school suspensions/ assignment to Buncombe County Alternative to Suspension program (BCATs).
Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible for makeup by the student. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.

EXCESSIVE ABSENCES

Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement. Students are expected to be at school on time and to be present at the scheduled starting time for each class. Students who are excessively tardy to school or class may be suspended for up to two (2) days for such offenses.

The principal shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378 for excessive absences. Students may be suspended for up to two (2) days for truancy.

Pursuant to this policy, students failing to meet attendance requirements in any required course for promotion shall neither be promoted nor allowed to participate in promotion or graduation exercises.

UNLAWFUL (UNEXCUSED) ABSENCES

For students who are entitled to attend public school and who have enrolled in a public school, unlawful absence is defined as:
  • A student’s willful absence from school with or without the knowledge of the parent;
  • A student’s absence from school for any reason other than those listed in Section B under “Lawful Absences”; or
  • When students are not permitted to attend school because they lack proper immunization and health screening, as required.
The principal or the principal’s designee must notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of his/her child’s excessive absences after the child has accumulated three unlawful absences in a school year. After not more than six (6) unlawful absences, the principal or the principal’s designee must notify the parent, guardian, or custodian by mail that he or she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the State and local boards of education. (G.S. 115C-378)

In the case of unexcused absences, the student will be permitted to make up any tests or other work missed. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within a specified time period.

Mandatory Attendance and Truancy

Unexcused absences may include any reasons not covered above. Students are considered truant after the tenth (10th) unexcused absence. Upon the tenth (10th) unexcused absence, a conference is required to develop an attendance improvement plan. Truancy charges may be filed against the student, the parent, or both if unexcused absences continue.

NBHS ATTENDANCE GUIDELINES

Every minute of class is important to a full and enriching education. Students are expected to attend school and are to remain in class for the duration of the 90-minute class period. Students who are late to class or have to leave early, are counted as ‘present’ if in class for 2/3 of the class period, or 1 hour of a 90-minute class. Class period attendance is used to determine a student’s eligibility for course credit. School day attendance is determined by the student’s attendance at school in two or more classes for the day. A phone call home will be made each day for any student reported as ‘absent’ in one or more class periods. Parents and students may also check Parent and Student Portals, through PowerSchool, to review daily attendance.

A student is also considered present in the school when in attendance at the following places:
  • School sponsored field trip
  • Activities initiated / scheduled by the school
  • Special school events requiring early dismissal
  • Assignment to in-school suspension

Extended Illness or Absence

Notes from home or a doctor are required upon the student returning to school following any absence. Phone requests for homework assignments must be made before 9:00 a.m. Otherwise, assignments will be available the following day.

As soon as a parent anticipates a student's extended absence due to a severe, prolonged, or chronic illness under a physician's care, the parent shall notify the principal. Upon receipt of a physicians’ written request, the principal may make arrangements for home or hospital instruction. If a student makes a good faith effort to complete the work under these conditions, in a timely manner, days missed may be submitted for consideration for “waived” status toward this policy. Parents should address all questions regarding this type of instruction to the principal.

Attendance Make-up Options at NBHS

Per Board policy and NBHS expectations, students missing more than 5 absences in any class will need to make-up attendance time in order to receive credit. Students with 6 more absences, with a passing course grade, will receive a grade of FF until the attendance time is made up to meet requirements.
Pursuant to this policy, students failing to meet attendance requirements in any required course for promotion or graduation shall neither be promoted nor allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Students have the ability to make up absences over 5 in any class during after school sessions called Attendance Study Lab (ASL). More information is in the Attendance Study Lab section on page 11.
Appropriate fees may apply for attendance make-up time that occurs after school, on Saturday, or during the summer.

Occasionally unique situations arise which are not specifically addressed by this policy. The superintendent, upon written recommendation from the school principal, may authorize alternatives to the policy in order to achieve fairness to the student without weakening the effect of the policy.
A copy of this policy shall be distributed to all students at the beginning of the school year. Students transferring from another administrative unit will be provided a copy of this policy at the time of enrollment, and they will be allowed to have absences prorated based on the number of school days remaining in the school year.

WAIVED DAYS

In some cases, parents/students may request a waiver for some excused absences that exceed the number of total absences allowed by Buncombe County Board of Education for credit. Waived absences are still recorded as absences on the student record, but do not count against the student for promotion standards or athletic eligibility.

The following documented reasons will be considered when determining absence waivers:

  • Chronic illness: Requires a doctor’s note that includes explanation of the illness, specific days missed from school and the duration of the chronic illness. Parent notes may be accepted if there is a clear doctor’s note stating that the student may not be seen every time an episode occurs, i.e. debilitating migraines, asthma attacks, etc.
  • Acute Illness: An illness of 5 or more days due to acute illnesses such as, influenza, etc. Doctor’s notes must be provided for all days missed.
  • Death in an Immediate Family: Obituary/service program must be provided.
  • Court appearances: Only waived if student is subpoenaed as a witness in a court case. Court appearances for involvement in criminal activity will not be waived.
  • Other: Compelling circumstances may be considered on a case by case basis.
A Request for Absence Waiver application must be completed and submitted to the attendance team with the required documentation and a signed release of information for the appropriate sources of documentation. All Request for Absence Waiver applications should be submitted to the Counseling Office within the 9-week grading period of the absence. Once the correct documentation and the Request for Absence Waiver has been submitted, the attendance team will review the application and make recommendations to the principal regarding the number of days waived. Parent/students will receive written decision from the principal regarding waived days, and any make-up work or make-up study sessions required, or other requirements as determined by the attendance team or principal. Request for Absence Waiver applications are available in the counseling office.

ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL-WIDE ASSEMBLIES

Unless otherwise notified, all students are expected to attend school assemblies, advisory sessions, or class meetings. Failure to attend meetings is equivalent to skipping class.

DISMISSAL OF INTERN/SPARE STUDENTS

All Intern students or students with a ‘spare’ class period, must leave the school premises at the time indicated for early dismissal and not return. Those students who need to remain after their release time must see an assistant principal for a permission slip.

The only exception to this rule would be to eat lunch during the lunch period after release time.
Student returning to NBHS campus for fourth block may not be on campus until 30 minutes prior to the start of fourth block. It is the responsibility of students who have spares to be informed of any changes in daily school schedules. (ie: Hawk Quest, Early Release, School Delays, etc.)

Students not complying with this regulation are subject to loss of their privilege.

TARDY POLICY

All students are expected to be in school and in the classroom on time. Instruction begins immediately at the bell and students who are tardy to class miss valuable instructional time. For 1st Period & Tardy to school - The main office will handle all sign-in's and record all tardies in Power School.

EXCUSED TARDIES:
  • Late bus
  • Illness with doctor/dentist written confirmation
  • Official legal document
  • Principal's approval

CONSEQUENCES FOR TARDIES

  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tardies – Warnings
  • 4th, 5th and 6th tardy – Administrative Conference/Parent contacted
  • 7th, 8th and 9th tardy – ISS for the arrival period
  • 10th tardy & Beyond - Assigned a “Step” Example of actions: up to 1 week loss of parking privilege for student drivers; full day of ISS for non-drivers and others with excessive tardiness.
To be counted present in a class, a student must be in attendance for at least 2/3 of the class period. All tardies to school will count toward to school-wide policy, regardless of when the student signs in to school.

Tardies to class after initial arrival on campus: (2nd, 3rd, and 4th Period) will be handled by the individual classroom teacher according to their established tardy policy and recorded in Power School. After 6th tardy to class, students will receive a discipline referral.

SIGN IN/SIGN OUT PROCEDURES

Students who arrive on campus late or leave school early must report directly to the main office before going to class or leaving campus.  Students must bring a properly signed excuse from a parent to the main office to be validated before an early dismissal slip can be issued. The note is to be given to the main office before 7:55am and should include the time of dismissal. Students may pick up their early dismissal slip from the main office between classes or during their lunch.

Those students becoming sick at school must call their parents from the main office before a dismissal slip is issued. This slip will be shown to the teacher at the beginning of the class period and will be kept by the student for dismissal purposes. When the student leaves the classroom, he/she will report to the main office to sign out.

Students should report to the main office to sign back into school. The time returning will be noted on the slip that is to be given to the teacher upon returning to class. All work missed must be made up within three days following the last absence.

TARDIES & SIGN OUTS

The only excused Tardies/Sign Outs are for doctor’s appointments and court appearances. This documentation will need to be provided by the student/parent to the main office so that the classroom teacher can be notified of the excused Tardy/Sign out.

Failure to sign in when tardy, or out when leaving school, will result in disciplinary action.