Attendance Matters

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

For all students to fully benefit from learning experiences at school, we need students to attend school on time every day. Although we recognize that illness and emergency may cause a student to be absent periodically, we hope these situations are limited. Absences and tardies negatively affect the students' academic progress. If families face specific attendance challenges, our staff is available to partner with families to find appropriate supports. The key is to be in close communication and partner with the school to support our students' success. 

WHAT DOES MASSACHUSETTS' STATE LAW SAY ABOUT SCHOOL ATTENDANCE?

*All children 6-16 years old must attend school every day
*School districts are required to monitor school attendance
*In cases of chronic absences (missing 10% or more days of school), school districts report potential cases of educational neglect or children in need of assistance to other state agencies

IN SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WE EXPECT FAMILIES TO: 
*Send children to school (whether in-person or remote learning) on time every day. We strongly recommend that students strive to have no more than 5 absences in the school year. If children are sick or experience any symptoms related to COVID-19 (e.g. fever of 100 or above, cough, shortness of breath), however, PLEASE KEEP THEM HOME. 
*Notify the school about planned absences and bring documentation of excused absences to school within 3 days of the absence. Int he case of routine medical appointments within Essex County, we expect students to be in school before or after the appointment.
*Reserve excused absences for emergencies or extraordinary circumstances (such as illness, bereavement or religious holidays). Principals have discretion to excuse absences for other specific reasons. PLEASE NOTE THAT EXTENDED FAMILY VACATIONS ARE NOT EXCUSED. 
*Communicate regularly with teachers and plan to make-up missed time and school work.

Working together we can help all of our students improve their attendance.  Your voice is critical in reaffirming to your student your high expectation that they go to school every day and how important that habit is to ensuring they graduate high school on time.

Here are some great resources created by Attendance Works that you can use to help support your student:

For Elementary School Families (English)
For Elementary School Families (Spanish)

For Middle & High School Families (English)
For Middle & High School Families (Spanish)


HOW WILL ATTENDANCE BE TAKEN THIS YEAR?

Following state guidelines, attendance will be taken daily for each student whether they are going to school in-person or participating in remote learning. Student attendance remains part of school and district accountability which means that all schools must work to achieve lower levels of chronic absenteeism. 


REMOTE LEARNING ATTENDANCE 

Attendance in our Remote Learning Model is defined as evidence of “engaging with the assigned material” on a daily basis.  Evidence of daily attendance for each remote learning course (or class period) will be measured by the student’s participation in a combination of in at least two of the following ways (including, but not limited to): 

  • Submission of daily assignments  
  • Submission of formative checks for understanding
  • Completion of longer-term assignments by due dates
  • Participation in online discussions
  • Participation in small group instruction
  • Meeting with teacher during office hours
  • Class participation during the scheduled class time 
  • Student participation during scheduled related services 
  • Phone call with the teacher or related services provider 

Attendance for each scheduled day of learning will be determined based on each students’ participation levels in each of his/her assigned courses or class periods.   Students will be  given the entire day to engage with remote learning content.  Teachers will record attendance each morning for the previous day.  


It is expected that parents/guardians shall, to the maximum extent possible, ensure that their child actively participates in remote learning.  If a student will not be able to participate in any learning activities that day, a parent/guardian should call the school to report the absence to the school secretary. The absence will be considered excused.  


The student will receive an unexcused absence when: 

  • They do not participate in any part of the learning activities for the day, 
  • The student’s parent/guardian does not contact the school to report the absence. 


We are aware that all family and student circumstances may vary, especially during these unprecedented circumstances. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher(s) about any issues related to remote learning that may be affecting student engagement and attendance.


Thank you for choosing the Salem Public Schools for your child's education.  Our vision is that every student will be locally engaged, globally connected and fully prepared to thrive in a diverse and changing world.


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