Attendance is taken promply at 10:15 am for all students.
Definition of Student and Membership
Any student served by the school district is considered enrolled in the district. A student must be enrolled for at least two hours to be considered in membership for one-half day and for at least four hours to be considered in membership for one full day. These time limits refer to instructional time, not including lunch, homeroom, passing periods, or other non-instructional time.
Absences – School Notification
Schools shall attempt to notify parents or guardians when a student has three absences.
Tardies – Are They Absences?
Students must be present at least 35 minutes of the class period (or 60 minutes of a 90-minute class period) in order to be considered in attendance unless they are participating on a field trip or other activity approved by the principal.
Unexcused tardies are not converted to unexcused absences. Tardies are a disciplinary issue.
Absent – What to Do
Students who have been absent or tardy must present a written excuse from the parents or guardian when they return to school. Excuses for absences and tardies are
· personal illness
· sickness or death in the family
· weather or road conditions making travel dangerous
· participation in school activities with permission of the principal
· juvenile court proceeding documented by a probation officer
· approved college visitation
· or "any other cause acceptable to teacher, principal, or superintendent"
Written excuses for absences or tardies should be in the school's possession no later than three school days after the date of the absence or tardy. The three-day period shall begin with the day the student returns to school.
Absent – Making Up Work
Students must be given the opportunity to make up work missed due to all absences. Reasonable time frames for the completion of assignments must be established.
Students Leaving Campus
According to Houston Independent School District (HISD) board policy, no student under 18 years of age may leave campus during school hours for any reason without prior approval in writing or by documented phone call from the student’s parent or guardian. This applies to lunch, extracurricular activities, field trips, and any other activity supervised by campus or district personnel. Such excuses must be approved by the principal or principal’s designee
Daily Absence Exemptions
A student is absent if he is not actually in school at the time attendance is taken. This includes students who complete assignments at home unless the student qualifies for one of the following exemptions.
There are a few exemptions that apply:
υυ The student is participating in an activity which is approved by the local school board and is under the direction of a professional staff member of the school district or an adjunct staff member who:
(a) has a minimum of a bachelor's degree; and
(b) is eligible for participation in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
υυ The student is a Medicaid-eligible child participating in the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Programs (EPSDT) implemented by the Texas Department of Human Services with contractual cooperation of the State Department of Health. Such students may be excused for up to one day at a time without loss of ADA (daily attendance).
υυ The student is observing religious holy days when it is a tenet of their faith that they must be absent from school during such time. A written request for the absence, in advance, is no longer required. A school district must excuse an absence to observe a religious holy day even if a written request is not submitted in advance. Even though House Bill 217 removed the requirement of submission of a written request for an excused absence before a student is absent due to observance of a religious holy day, it is strongly recommended that the school encourage the continuance of this procedure to alleviate excessive paperwork in the attendance accounting process.
Excused days for travel shall be limited to not more than one day for travel to and one day for travel from the site where the student will observe the holy days. The principal may elect to excuse additional travel days, however, the student would be considered to be absent for the additional travel days for attendance accounting purposes.
School districts shall be required to provide make-up work to students who have been excused to observe religious holy days. School districts shall give students a reasonable amount of time to complete such make-up work, and school districts shall be given a reasonable amount of time to grade such make-up work.
υυ The student is temporarily absent due to a documented appointment with a health care professional if that student commences classes or returns to school on the same day of the appointment. The appointment should be supported by a document such as a note from the health care professional.
Adequate documentation must be retained to verify the whereabouts of these students.
υυ The student is participating in a mentorship approved by district personnel to serve as one or more of the advanced measures needed to complete the Distinguished Achievement Program outlined in TAC 74.13 (a) (3).
All students in the HISD are expected to be in attendance in all their classes and to take advantage of the opportunity to learn and to pass their courses. To make that expectation clear to students and their parents, the HISD, as allowed by the state, has a more stringent policy which requires that a student enrolled in a school with:
1) a conventional (regular) 18-week per semester schedule may not have more than four unexcused absences per 18-week semester term to receive class credit;
2) a 9-week accelerated block schedule may not have more than two unexcused absences per 9-week term to receive class credit; or
3) an 18-week per semester every-other-day block schedule may not have more than two unexcused absences per 18-week term to receive class credit. (This includes middle school students enrolled in semester credit and semester noncredit courses.)