Dear Parents and Students,
Houston Independent School District is excited to welcome you to a new school year filled with opportunities to learn and engage!
Houston ISD is dedicated to academic achievement and success for all scholars. Regular attendance is critically important, because students who are absent lose instructional seat time, thus creating a lost opportunity to learn, ask questions and engage in class activities. Poor attendance can be excused/unexcused absences and truancies, which ultimately impacts our students’ academic performance.
In accordance with Texas Education Code Section 25.092 (Attendance for Credit 90% Rule); A student at any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 shall not be given credit or final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance 90 percent of the days in which the class is offered.
This is where we need your help and joint collaboration by ensuring the following is done if your child will be absent, late or leaving early from school:
Keep Connected – Upon return please send either a letter, email or phone call to the school explaining the reason for that day(s) absence, if your child was in need medical attention, please provide a licensed doctor or physician note.
Keep Students Healthy – Make sure students get sleep, eat well and exercise. If you are not certain whether to send your child to school due to illness, call your Campus Nurse or Attendance Clerk to discuss the situation. If your child must miss school more than three days of, please contact your campus as soon as possible; medical verification may be required.
This is a partnership that must be fostered to make sure that our scholars are successful. The partnership starts with regular attendance in school.
Working together ensures success for both the district and the students.
S. Denise Watts, Ed. D.
Chief of Schools
Texas Education Code 25.085
Texas requires a child who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached his/her 19th birthday to attend school for the entire period the program is offered unless exempt by TEC 25.086. While students are not required to enroll in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, once enrolled the students are required to attend school. TEC 25.085 and Board Policy FEA (LEGAL)
The parent/guardian commits an offense of criminal negligence under TEC 25.093 if, after having received the above warning in writing, a child has unexcused, voluntary absences for ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period or three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period from school. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. TEC 25.093, Family Code 51.03(b)(2), and Penal Code 12.233
A parent/guardian of a school-age child has the responsibility to require that his/her child attend school regularly. When sickness or another reason necessitates an absence, a note signed by the parent/guardian or phone call explaining the reason for the absence is required prior to or when the student returns to school. If a student fails to submit a note from the parent or the school does not receive a phone call from the parent, the absence will automatically be considered unexcused.
Absences for vacations, business trips, babysitting, working, and other such reasons shall be considered unexcused.
A child who is required to attend school shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.
A) An individual commits this offense if the individual:
- is required to attend school under section 25.085; and
- fails to attend school on ten or more days or parts of days without an excuse within a six-month period in the same school year or three or more days or parts of days without an excuse within a four- week period.
Parent Contributing to Non-Attendance —Texas Education Code 25.094
B) An offense under this section may be prosecuted in:
- the constitutional county court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;
- a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located; or
- a municipal court of the municipality in which the parent resides or in which the school is located.
C) An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor. Each day the child remains out of school may constitute a separate offense. Two or more offenses under Subsection (a) may be consolidated and prosecuted in a single action.
If a student has three (3) unexcused absences within a 4 – week period, the student will receive a Warning Letters. The letter will be mailed to the student’s parent/guardian. A signed parent note or physician’s note must be submitted to the campus attendance office within three (3) days of the student’s return to school. If a note is not provided, the absence will be counted as unexcused. It is the parent’s responsibility to monitor a student’s school attendance and require the student to attend each entire class period for every school day.
- If a student has three (3) unexcused absences in a 4 – week period, a student can be placed on an Attendance Contract.
- If a student has thirteen (13) unexcused absences in a 6 – week period, an affidavit shall be issued.
- In either case, the student’s attendance will be monitored for the remainder of the school year.
- Outreach Workers by law have to file on student/parents who reach 13 unexcused absences in a 6 month period.
- If you get a letter and have any questions, contact your child’s school Administrator or attendance clerk
For additional information pertaining to HISD Compulsory Attendance, please visit their site: https://www.houstonisd.org/Domain/46908
90% Attendance Credit Rule
Attendance for Credit - TEC SEC.25.092 Minimum Attendance for Class Credit or Final Grades states:
A student in any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 shall not be given credit or a final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance 90 percent of the days the class is offered. This restriction does not affect a student’s right to excused absences.
(a-1) A student who is in attendance for at least 75 percent but less than 90 percent of the days a class is offered may be given credit or a final grade for the class if the student completes a plan approved by the school's principal that provides for the student to meet the instructional requirements of the class.
A student under the jurisdiction of a court in a criminal or juvenile justice proceeding may not receive credit or a final grade under this subsection without the consent of the judge presiding over the student's case.
(a-2) Subsection (a) does not apply to a student who receives credit by examination for a class as provided by Section 28.023.
In order to receive credit or a final grade for a class, a student is required to attend class 90 percent of the days class is offered regardless of whether the student’s absences are excused or unexcused. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0398 (2001)
In addition to the statute related to compulsory attendance, a student must also be in compliance with the attendance for credit statute which states that the student must be in attendance for at least 90% of the days a class is offered in order to gain credit or be promoted. All absences, excused and unexcused, are counted for the purpose of determining attendance for credit.
For each course/class in which a student falls below the 90% attendance threshold, a review of the record will be conducted, and the student may be required to complete a plan created by the principal in order to gain credit or be promoted. Once a student falls below the 75% threshold, an Attendance Review Committee must meet to develop a plan for the student to complete in order to gain credit or be promoted. TEC 25.092 and Board Policy FEC (LOCAL)
The Attendance Credit Appeal process is a requirement for a student that has received no-credit (NG) or Asterisk status on their Six Weeks Cycle or Semester Report Card. Per the Texas Education Code (25.092) and FEC (LOCAL), a minimum attendance requirement of 90% of class meetings for the award of course credit. Students who lose credit due to excessive absences may appeal if the student achieves an average of 70 or above at the end of the semester in which the no-credit (NG) status appears. If a student’s absence percentage is
- 10-25% complete the Principal’s Plan
- 26% or more complete the Attendance Credit Appeal
A student who is in attendance for at least 75 percent but less than 90 percent of the days a class is offered may be given credit or a final grade if the student completes a plan approved by the school’s principal that provides for the student to meet the instructional requirements of the class. However, a student under the jurisdiction of a court in a criminal or juvenile justice proceeding may not receive credit or a final grade without the consent of the judge presiding over the student’s case. To obtain a copy of the Principal’s Plan please contact your home campus.
In accordance with legal requirements, the Board shall establish a District-level attendance review committee and the Superintendent or designee shall establish campus-level attendance committees for efficient implementation of Education Code 25.092. The student or parent shall be given an opportunity to present any information to the committee about the absences and to discuss ways to earn or regain credit or be awarded a final grade. For students in kindergarten–grade 5, the award of a final grade shall be based on attendance during the entire scheduled school year rather than on semesters.
Parental Notice of Excessive Absences
A student and the student’s parent or guardian shall be given written notice prior to and at such time when a student’s attendance in any class drops below 90 percent of the days the class of days as established by HISD.
Parents will be asked to conference with an administrator or counselor in their child's school to set up a conference to discuss their child's absences. If there are special circumstances involved concerning your child’s absences, please notify a campus administrator and/or counselor as soon as possible. Resources are often available to assist families who are in difficult circumstances, and your child’s administrator and the counselor can assist you with investigating potential solutions.
All excused Notes are due to your Campus Attendance Clerk within 3 school days of absence.
Examples of excused student absences include but are not limited to the following reasons:
- Personal illness (includes healthcare visit without documentation) – parent note or phone call required;
- Death of an immediate family member (immediate family is defined as parent, guardian, grandparent, sibling of the student or parent, or a person living in the home) – note required;
- Emergency in the immediate family (as defined at item #2);
- Illness of the student's child with note;
- School-imposed absence necessary to treat lice;
- Illness resulting from ongoing medical or psychiatric treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis, etc. with a doctor’s note indicating specific timeframes and anticipated absences);
- Removal by CPS/law enforcement and related days [including an arrest or incarceration for non-school-related matters or incarceration beyond three (3) days for school-related matters (if not withdrawn)]
- Medicaid-eligible; participating in Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program (with documentation);
- Nurse sent home from school and/or any consecutive days approved by the campus nurse;
- Out-of-school suspension for a disciplinary reason(s) [including an arrest or incarceration for school-related matters for up to three (3) days];
- Activity required by a probation officer (other than court appearances) or Human Services activity required by a caseworker (with documentation; requires all missed assignments to be successfully completed within the timeframe established by the teacher); (this moves to the top list)
A student not actually on campus at the time attendance is taken may be considered in attendance for FSP purposes if the student:
- is enrolled in and attending off-campus dual credit program courses and is not scheduled to be on campus during any part of the school day.
- is participating in an off-campus work-based learning opportunity and is not scheduled to be on campus during any part of the school day.
- is enrolled full-time in Texas Virtual School Network (TXVSN) courses.
- is participating in an activity that is approved by your local school board and is under the direction of a professional staff member, an adjunct staff member, or a paraprofessional staff member of your school district. The adjunct staff member must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and be eligible for participation in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
- is participating, with local school board approval, in a short-term (for example, five-day) class that is provided by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) or the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) at a location other than the student’s campus.
- misses school for the purpose of observing religious holy days, including traveling for that purpose. Church retreats, camps, and mission trips and individual religious rites (baptisms, christenings, bar mitzvahs, etc.) are not considered holy days.
- is in grades six through 12 and misses school for the purpose of playing “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in Texas for a deceased veteran.
- misses school for the purpose of attending a required court appearance, including traveling for that purpose.
- Important: Absences to meet with probation officers and other absences related to court- ordered activities outside the courtroom do not qualify as required court appearances
- is in the conservatorship of the DFPS and misses school:
- to participate in an activity ordered by a court under the Texas Family Code, Chapter 262 or Chapter 263, provided that scheduling the participation outside of school hours is not practicable or
- to attend an activity under a service plan under the Texas Family Code, Chapter 263, Subchapter B
- misses school for the purpose of serving as a student early voting clerk, if your school district has a policy allowing for this type of excused absence, 83 or an election clerk or student election clerk.84 Your school district may excuse a student’s absence for this purpose for a maximum of two days in a school year
- misses school for the purpose of appearing at a governmental office to complete paperwork required in connection with the student’s application for US citizenship, including traveling for that purpose.
- misses school for the purpose of taking part in the student’s own US naturalization oath ceremony, including traveling for that purpose.
- is temporarily absent because of a documented appointment for the student or the student’s child that is with a health care professional licensed, certified, or registered to practice in the United States. A documented appointment with a health care professional includes an appointment of a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder with a health care practitioner to receive a generally recognized service for persons with that disorder. To be considered temporarily absent, the student must begin classes or return to class on the same day of the appointment. The appointment must be supported by a document, such as a note, from the health care professional. A consultation over the phone or via video (telemedicine) is considered an appointment with a health care professional. An appointment with a school nurse will not count for FSP funding as an appointment with a health care professional.
- is absent as the result of a serious or life-threatening illness or related treatment that makes the student’s attendance infeasible. Documentation from a health care professional licensed, certified, or registered to practice in Texas must be provided that specifies the student’s illness and the anticipated period of the student’s absence relating to the illness or related treatment. A student with a mental health or substance abuse condition who is being treated for a serious illness (TEC, §25.087(b)(3)) in an outpatient day treatment program or partial hospitalization program, under the care of a health care professional licensed, certified, or registered to practice in Texas, shall be excused for the authorized treatment period, and shall not be withdrawn from school. The discharge summary from the outpatient day treatment or partial hospitalization program must include treatment admission and discharge dates to be provided to the school by the family upon return to school as documentation to excuse absences for the duration of the authorized outpatient treatment plan or partial hospitalization.
- is in his or her junior or senior year of high school and misses school for the purpose of visiting an institution of higher education accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization to determine the student’s interest in attending the institution.
- is 17 years of age or older and pursuing enlistment in a branch of the US uniformed services or the Texas Army National Guard. Your district must not excuse the student for this purpose for more than four days of school during the period the student is enrolled in high school and must adopt a policy stating when an absence will be excused for this purpose and a procedure for verifying the student’s activities related to pursuing enlistment in a branch of the US uniformed services or the Texas Army National Guard.
- is absent to visit with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian who is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or is immediately returned from continuous deployment of at least four months outside the locality where the parent, stepparent, or guardian regularly resides. Your district is required to excuse up to five days for this purpose in a school year. An excused absence for this purpose must be taken no earlier than 60 days before the date of deployment or no later than 30 days after the date of return from deployment.
- misses school for the purpose of visiting a driver’s license office to obtain a driver’s license or learner permit. The student must be enrolled in high school and 15 years of age or older. Your district may not excuse the student for more than one day of school during the period the student is enrolled in high school for each purpose (obtaining a driver’s license and obtaining a learner license). Your district must verify the student’s visit to the driver’s license office in accordance with the procedures adopted by your district.
If an absence does not meet the criteria for an excused absence or one of the extenuating circumstances specified in Board policy, the absence will be considered unexcused for attendance accounting purposes. Examples of unexcused student absences include but are not limited to the following reasons:
- Any "excused" absence (including personal illness) without required documentation;
- Failure to bring required doctor's note (after the student has been placed on "Doctor's Note Required" for excessive absences for personal illness);
- Non-school sponsored activities (both athletic and non-athletic activities/competitions);
- Family illness (non-emergency);
- Death other than immediate family (as defined under EXCUSED ABSENCES at item #2);
- Family trip/vacation;
- Welfare and WIC visit;
- College visit (beyond limit; without appropriate verification and approval);
- Student's application for U.S. citizenship or obtaining a Visa without documentation requiring appearance and proof of attendance;
- Private lessons, tutoring, counseling, and other services;
- Religious retreat or other church-related events other than a religious holy day of obligation;
- Driver's license-related visit (beyond limit and/or without required documentation);
- Student's application for Passport.