Planned Absence Form

Mounds Park Academy believes full-time attendance is an essential element in our students’ educational process. Regular attendance fosters a climate conducive to learning, perpetuates effective teaching, protects the integrity of the school day, and ensures quality education. Regular attendance, a responsibility shared by students, parents, and school, is one means by which students learn responsibility and self-discipline. Students who miss class will never be able to make up that shared classroom experience. Our attendance policy reinforces this value of being in class.

It is very important students and families communicate closely with the school regarding any circumstances that prevent a student from regular attendance. The Lower School Child Study Team and/or Lower School Director reviews multiple absences and may request a meeting with parents to discuss the academic status of students who have missed several days of school during any given quarter.

Short-Term Absences - The school must receive a phone call before 8 AM or a note from a parent in order to have an excused absence. Without this communication, the school will call home if a student is not present. Calls from students themselves are not acceptable. An absence may be one or two hours, an entire day, several days, etc.  Upon their return, students must check-in with teachers to make-up required work and transition back to school. If a family would like work sent home, please email teachers directly.

Planned Absences: In order to minimize absences and their inevitable impact on students’ learning, we ask parents to schedule off-campus appointments outside the academic day.  We strongly request that families schedule vacations during our designated school breaks. Such absences are considered detrimental, affect classroom learning, and teachers cannot be expected to provide extra instruction on topics covered during the absence. If a student plans to miss school because of a family trip, religious holiday, or some other event that the family considers important, a Planned Absence Form, available in the Lower School Office and on the Lower School Web Page, should be submitted. If possible, we request notice one-two weeks in advance. This procedure insures that the student and the teachers can consult about missed assignments, tests, and length of time allowed for making up missed work. The Lower School administration will determine if the absence is excused.

Extended Absences: In the event of a prolonged family emergency or illness, the absence will be excused for the time needed. Following an extended absence, parent(s) should consult with the Lower School administration prior to the student’s return to school. The Lower School faculty will work with the family to set up a plan to assist the student in his/her effort to make-up the required work and transition back into school.

PE/Recess Participation: Students are expected to meet all PE responsibilities and to participate in recess unless excused by the Lower School administration for illness by a doctor's recommendation or parent request.   Medical excuses for missing PE should be taken to the Lower School Office.

School Hours - The school day begins promptly at 8 AM but the classrooms open at 7:45.  Students are encouraged to arrive by 7:50 so they have time to go to their locker and get ready for the school day to begin.  Students arriving prior to 7:45 should go to Panther Club.  The school day ends at 3 PM. Students must leave school by 3:15 PM unless they have registered for tutoring, Panther Club, or a school-sponsored activity.

Tardiness/Arriving Late: Students are expected to arrive at school and be in class in a prepared and timely manner. They are considered tardy if they arrive after 8 AM. Students arriving after 8 AM must sign in at the Lower School Office. If a student is tardy, s/he must report to the Lower School office, sign in, and receive a pass to give his/her classroom teacher.

Excused Reasons for Arriving Late/Tardiness:

  • Late bus arrival (This is a school issue.  Students are not considered tardy and consequences do not apply.)

Consequences Due to Arriving Late/Tardiness:
• Three tardies are allowed per trimester. 
• Parents receive communication on the fourth tardy and may be asked to meet with the Lower School administration to discuss the frequency of the tardies and brainstorm possible solutions.

  • Students may be asked to put in extra study time to make up time missed in the classroom.

Please Note:  Oversleeping or running late is not an acceptable reason for being late and may result in the Lower School administration contacting the family on the fourth tardy.  Students may be asked to participate in student service work to make up missed time in the classroom.

Leaving Early/Returning: If leaving early, the student should present a note to the Lower School Assistant when arriving in the morning. When leaving school, the child’s parent should sign their child out in the Lower School office. Returning students should similarly be sign in by their parent, receive a pass, and present it to the classroom teacher.  The same policy for tardies will be followed for the frequency of leaving early.

The school day begins promptly at 8 AM and ends at 3 PM. Students are expected to attend school every day; they are expected to arrive on time in the morning and remain until dismissal time. Studies indicate a significant correlation between student absences and achievement. Full-time attendance, a responsibility shared by students, parents/guardians, and school, is an important way for students to learn responsibility and self-discipline. Students must arrive at school by 10:30 a.m. to participate in co-curricular and athletic events and practices.

Additional Items

Cold Weather Policy

When families make the decision that unsafe weather conditions require them to keep their student home, it will be considered an excused absence; however, since teachers make course and assignment information available online via Schoology, students are expected to still make progress on their work while not in school. The goal is that when a student returns to school after a weather-induced absence, he/she will be fully prepared to rejoin classes. The same is true for a day when school is closed due to weather—students should check online class resources to see if teachers have an assignment or activity for the day.

Excessive Absence

It is very important that students and families communicate closely with the school regarding any circumstances that prevent a student from regular attendance. A student who misses seven or more days in a quarter for any reason may lose academic credit for that quarter. A student who is absent twenty or more days during the school year may lose credit or may not be allowed to return to Mounds Park Academy in the fall. The Middle School Director reviews multiple absences and may request a meeting with parents/guardians to discuss the academic status of students who have missed several days of school during any given quarter. If absences are due to medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances, the MS Director may grant a waiver from the attendance policy. Official documentation from a licensed provider may be required. Note: school-sponsored field trips and early dismissal for MPA athletics do not count toward the number of total absences.

Illness and Appointments

The school must receive a phone call before 8 AM, or a signed note from a parent/guardian, to have an absence excused. Without this communication, the school will call home if a student is not present. Calls from students themselves are not acceptable. A doctor’s note may be required after a longer absence. Students who become ill after arriving at school should report to the Nurse’s Office. Parents are contacted to take the student home.

Early dismissal and appointments during the school day for any reason are discouraged. If an appointment must be made during school hours, the student should present a note to the Middle School Office when arriving in the morning to receive a pass to give to the teacher whose class s/he will leave. When leaving school, the student should sign out in the Middle School Office. Returning students should sign in, receive a pass, and present it to the classroom teacher.

Physical Education Attendance

Students are expected to meet all P.E. responsibilities unless excused by the Middle School Director for illness or by a doctor's recommendation. Frequent or lengthy illnesses excusing participation require a doctor's note and an evaluation of whether a medical waiver will be granted.

Planned Absences

Scheduling family vacations when school is in session, including i-Term week, is strongly discouraged. Such absences have a negative impact on classroom learning, and teachers cannot be expected to provide extra instruction on topics covered during the absence. If a student plans to miss one or more school days because of a family trip, religious holiday, or other event that cannot be avoided, the student must email his/her teachers in advance through Schoology to get information regarding what will be missed. Parents/guardians should also contact the middle school office. The Middle School Director will determine if the absence is excused.

Tardiness

Students are expected to arrive at school in a prepared and timely manner. They are considered tardy if they arrive after 8 AM to their first block class, or after the start time of subsequent classes. Students arriving after 8 AM must sign in at the Middle School Office to get a pass.

Examples of Excused Reasons for Arriving Late:

  • Appointment or illness verified by parent communication
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Late bus arrival

Examples of Unexcused Reasons for Arriving Late/Tardies:

  • Arriving to class without proper materials
  • Sleeping in (including siblings or parents)
  • Socializing
  • Traffic and carpool delays

Consequences Due to Tardiness:

  • Two unexcused tardies per quarter are allowed without penalty
  • Each additional unexcused tardy results in one day of detention
  • Parents will be contacted for excessive tardiness
  • Seven unexcused tardies in a quarter may result in suspension and/or loss of credit

Unexcused Absence

Students are expected to attend all classes and school events unless excused by a parent or guardian in advance. Students missing the entire or significant portions of classes/activities without permission may receive detention, be suspended, have a parent conference, and/or lose credit for classes missed. Note: Oversleeping is not an excused absence.

Absence from School

Parent(s) should call the school receptionist to confirm a student’s illness and/or absence before 8:30 AM.

Attendance Procedure

Punctual, regular attendance is absolutely necessary for a successful high school education. It is the responsibility of each student and parent to see the student attends and arrives on time every day school is in session. MPA believes the most important component of a student’s education is the interaction that takes place within the classroom environment. Thus absences are highly discouraged.

1. A student must bring a note from a parent, nurse, administrator, or teacher in order to receive an excused absence. (Absence may be one or two classes, an entire day,several days, etc.) Absences due to illness or appointments are excused. In general,“sleeping in” is considered an unexcused absence/tardy.

2. Students are encouraged to check their class Web sites for information regarding missed work during absences.

3. Following an extended absence, a family crisis, an acute illness and/or hospitalization,parent(s) should consult with the Assistant Upper School Director prior to the student’s return to school.

4. Consequences for unexcused absences (i.e., skipping class)*:

A. First time:

  1. Zero for the class period.
  2. The teacher may request time to be made up after school.
  3. The parent(s) will be called.
  4. Each skipped class will count as two absences in terms of the attendance policy.

B. Second time:

  1. Zero for the class period.
  2. The teacher may request time to be made up after school.
  3. A parental conference with the student, teacher(s), and administrator(s).
  4. Each skipped class will count as two absences in terms of the attendance policy.

* A student who skips any or all of a day is ineligible to participate in after school activities that day.

Attendance - Loss of Credit

1. Any student who has more than six absences in a quarter in a class that meets everyday (whether excused or unexcused) will receive a full letter grade reduction for that class, in that quarter.

2. Any student who has more than four absences for that class, in that quarter, that meets every other day (whether excused or unexcused) will receive a full letter grade reduction for that class.

3. Any student who has missed more than nine classes in an every day class, or six classes in an every other day class, will receive a grade of F or N for that class, in that quarter.

Missing class for the following reasons will not count toward the absence maximum:

  • School sponsored activities
  • Death in family
  • Religious holidays

Students are responsible for completing any work when not in class for the above reasons. Seniors are granted an additional five days, per school year, for college visiting approved by the Assistant Upper School Director or Director of College Counseling. But extended college visits (over five days), vacation/trips, court appointments, suspensions and medical appointments do count toward a student’s maximum absences.

Appeal for exception to the absence maximum due to serious extenuating circumstances or documented extended illness is available. (See Appeal Process below.)

Students absent from study hall who do not appear on the daily attendance will be referred to the Assistant Upper School Director for appropriate action. Attendance policies in physical education classes may vary from the above. Be sure to check with your physical education instructor regarding department attendance policies.

A distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences is made only for the purpose of making up missed work.

  • An excused absence is defined as any absence that is approved by a parent or guardian. Written notification must be received from a parent or guardian either prior to the absence or when the student returns to class. Missed academic work should be completed. Students are allowed one day for each excused absence to complete missed work.
  • An unexcused absence is defined as any absence that is unapproved by either the school, parent or guardian. Missed academic work will be recorded as a zero, with no credit given for the days absent.

When students know in advance of an upcoming absence, he or she should inform his/her teachers a minimum of two days prior to the planned absence. The individual teacher will determine if missed work is to be turned in before or following the absence.

For purposes of this policy, 20 minutes or more missed of a class will be considered an absence.

Attendance – Appeals Process

Students who reach or exceed the absence limits set on pages 43-46 will be able to appeal the application of the attendance policy to the Assistant Upper School Director and the Upper School Director.

A student who wishes to appeal must do so within two school days of being notified of having reached the absence limit. The student should talk to the Assistant Upper School Director and submit an appeals form with appropriate documentation. The Assistant Upper School Director will consult with the Upper School Director and report back to the student regarding the committee’s decision.

Appeals for particular absences MAY be granted for the following reasons: Pursuing or developing special talents; special educational opportunities not offered at MPA; or extended illnesses and/or recurring medical appointments for special health conditions. Students should provide documentation for the above exceptions to the regular policy.

Appeals will generally NOT be granted for the following reasons: Vacations; recreational or noneducational experiences; or skipping class. A student’s diligence and responsibility in making up missed work will be a factor in determining whether or not an appeal will be granted.

Extended/Extra Holidays

Vacations other than those scheduled by the school are strongly discouraged as it affects student performance. Such absences are considered detrimental and teachers cannot be expected to provide extra instruction on topics covered during the absence. The student is responsible for obtaining all assignments in such cases.

Appointments/Leaving Early/Returning

Parents are required to send a note or phone the Upper School office in the event of a late arrival or early departure.

Arriving Late

If arriving late, the student must report to the Upper School office, sign in, present a note to the Assistant to the Upper School Director, and receive a pass to give to her/his classroom teacher.

If leaving early, the student should present a note to the assistant when he/she arrives in the morning, and receive a pass to give to the teacher whose class they will leave. When actually leaving the school, the student must sign out in the Upper School office. Returning students should follow the same office procedures.

Permission to Leave Campus During the School Day

Without written parental approval or a phone call to the Upper School office, students may not leave the campus during the school day.

Permission to Leave Campus Before and After the School Day

Our general expectation is that students arrive at school no earlier than 7:45 AM (or 7:05 AM if they have a “0 Hour” class) and leave school after 3 PM, unless they are involved in a specific extracurricular activity or have arranged for work with a teacher. Nevertheless, we are aware that students may have times when they are off campus during the school day. Because we have a closed campus, we assume it is your expectation that your student is here at MPA. If,however, you wish to allow your student to leave campus during the school day, we must have your written consent, acknowledging we are not responsible when he/she is off campus.

Participation in Extracurricular Activities

In order to participate in an extracurricular practice or competition, the student must arrive by third block and attend classes the rest of the day. A student who skips any or all of a day is ineligible to participate in after school activities that day.

Tardies

1. A student is officially tardy to class after the scheduled start of a given class. The tardy is unexcused if a student does not bring an appropriate pass with her/him when entering class. Parents should use PowerSchool to monitor attendance.

2. Passes are available for:

  • A late bus arrival (pass available in office).
  • Illness or appointment verified by parental note or phone call.
  • Late arrival due to discussion with faculty or administrator.

3. Drivers’ tardies are unexcused unless accompanied by a parental note or phone call.

4. Consequences for unexcused tardies are as follows:

  • The fourth time a student is tardy to a particular class in a semester, the teacher will notify the Assistant Upper School Director. The student will be assigned detention.
  • If a student is assigned detention a third time for lateness, the Assistant Upper School Director will contact the student’s parents.
  • The consequence for the fourth offense (i.e., 16 reported tardies) will be one day suspension from school and a conference with the student and parent(s).