Salem Public Schools require a high level of participation in engaged learning. Regular class attendance enables students to benefit from classroom discussions, presentations and interactive activities. These shared academic experiences are integral to the learning process and cannot be re-created or replicated. Massachusetts law requires compulsory attendance for all students. Chapter 119, section 21 of the Mass General Laws states that all children between the ages of six and 16 must attend school.
REPORTING A STUDENT ABSENT FROM SCHOOL
Whenever your child is absent from school, please call the office before 7:45 AM on the day of the absence, or any time before the day of the absence. The Absent Line number is 978-740-1178. Please leave a message with your child's full name, the reason for the absence, anticipated date(s) of absence, and the class he/she is in. We cross-check teachers' absence lists with parent calls daily, and if your child has been marked absent, but you did not call him/her in, we will make every effort to contact you or your emergency contacts. The Salem Public Schools prefer that a telephone call is made ahead of the absence and that once the child returns to school, a note is also sent in with the student stating which days were excused by the parent and the reason for the absence. Please note that when a student has been absent for five (5) or more consecutive days, parents must obtain a doctor’s note and submit it to school.
FAMILY VACATIONS / TRAVEL
Parents and students are reminded that Massachusetts Federal Law requires compulsory attendance for students. We strongly discourage family vacations / travel when school is in session. In addition to compromising the attendance law, family vacations interrupt the educational process in ways that make-up work cannot reverse. Teachers are not required to provide homework assignments prior to a family vacation or travel.
ABSENCE AND TARDY INFORMATION
Elementary School Students arriving late to school must report to the main office with a parent, and be signed in by the parent with a reason for tardiness. A child is considered late for elementary school if he or she is not in the classroom by 8:20 a.m. ready to begin the school day. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact school staff and work collaboratively with them to correct the reasons that the student is missing school. After Five (5) unexcused absences have occurred, a letter will be sent home. After Eight (8) unexcused absences have occurred, a second letter will be sent home stating that if absences continue, it may be necessary to have a meeting at the school and/or refer the family to the Attendance Officer for further action(s). If a student is absent for eight or more days in a quarter, and/or if the student has an excessive number of days which he/she is tardy for school, school officials may file a CRA (Child Requiring Assistance) petition with the Juvenile Court which could result in a hearing before a Juvenile Court Judge. Prior to the filing of a CRA, families and students will be required to work with school administrators to improve the student’s attendance. Please note that when a student has been absent for five (5) or more consecutive days, parents must obtain a doctor’s note and submit it to school. If a student is absent for eight or more days in a quarter, school officials may file a CRA (Child Requiring Assistance) petition with the Juvenile Court which could result in a hearing before a Juvenile Court Judge. Prior to the filing of a CRA, families and students will be required to work with school administrators to improve the student’s attendance. Chronic absenteeism may also lead to academic failure for the year and retention of the student.
An UNEXCUSED ABSENCE/TARDY is not covered by the aforementioned definition of “Excused Absence/Tardy”.
Examples of an unexcused absence may include, but may not be limited to: • Repetitive or chronic absence or tardiness due to illness or injury not documented by a doctor or other medical professional • Cutting class (suspendable offense) • Truancy • Family vacations • Undocumented absences • Non-emergency family situations
If your child will be leaving during the school day, please send in a note to the homeroom teacher. Then, plan to pick up your child at the office where personnel will call the homeroom to notify the child and teacher.
Changing Dismissal Routine
If your child’s normal dismissal routine is to be altered on a particular day, please send a note to the classroom teacher describing the change and indicating who will meet your child at school, if someone is to do so. If a child does not have a note and we cannot immediately locate the parent, the child will be dismissed following the normal dismissal routine.