Victoria Independent School District

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Attendance

Every Day Counts

When it comes to school, students who miss school... miss out. Parents who want their child(ren) to succeed in school make daily attendance a priority.  There is much research to support the fact that there is a very strong connection between student attendance and student performance in school.  When a student is absent from school, he/she misses out on experiences and opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become successful adults, productive citizens and valued employees.

By graduating from high school, your child can earn more than a million dollars in their lifetime. For every day of school missed, it takes two or more days for a student to catch up. Except in the case of illness, many school absences can be avoided with a little extra effort. 

Parents, join forces with us to eliminate absences that can be prevented by making every effort to schedule medical and other appointments outside school hours and by making sure your children get plenty of sleep so they arrive at school on time ready and eager to learn.

Give your child every opportunity to succeed in Victoria ISD and graduate to success, by encouraging him/her to attend school on time, every day…because “Every Day Counts!

 

What happens when a student misses one day of school, for any reason?

  • A student must work twice as hard the next day to catch up on missed information and missed homework. The U.S. Department of Education maintains that for every missed day of school, it takes a student two days to catch up.
  • A teacher loses class time by having to teach one student something the entire class was taught the day before, which then affects lesson plans for the next day. This impacts the entire class, not just the absent student. Now multiply this by a class of 25 over the course of a year and it impacts even the highest achievers.
  • A school loses funding from the State. This could affect the ability to purchase supplies for the classroom, such as textbooks and updated computer software. Multiply this by 500 students, and it could mean the difference between hiring or laying off staff, buying new equipment, or funding a new program.
  • A community loses valuable resources at a huge cost. Students who miss school challenge our community with immeasurable lost time and countless millions of dollars in human services for “repair work” in areas such as crime, counseling, and drugs.
 

Texas Attendance Laws

Regular school attendance is essential for a student to make the most of his or her education—to benefit from teacher-led and school activities, to build each day’s learning on the previous day’s and to grow as an individual.  Absences from class may result in serious disruption of a student’s mastery of the instructional materials; therefore, the student should make every effort to avoid unnecessary absences.

Two state laws are discussed below:  one dealing with the required presence of school-aged children in school (Compulsory Attendance) and the other dealing with how attendance affects promotion/retention and the awarding of a student’s final grade or course credit (Attendance for Class Credit or 90% rule).

Compulsory Attendance

  1. A child who is required to attend school under this section shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.
  2. Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, 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 the child's 19th birthday shall attend school.
  3. On enrollment in prekindergarten or kindergarten, a child shall attend school.
  4. Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, a student enrolled in a school district must attend:
    1. an extended-year program for which the student is eligible that is provided by the district for students identified as likely not to be promoted to the next grade level or tutorial classes required by the district under Section 29.084;
    2. an accelerated reading instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.006(g);
    3. an accelerated instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.0211;
    4. a basic skills program to which the student is assigned under Section 29.086;  or
    5. a summer program provided under Section 37.008(l) or Section 37.021.
  5. A person who voluntarily enrolls in school or voluntarily attends school after the person's 19th birthday shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is offered.  A school district may revoke for the remainder of the school year the enrollment of a person who has more than five absences in a semester that are not excused under Section 25.087, except a school district may not revoke the enrollment of a person under this subsection on a day on which the person is physically present at school.  A person whose enrollment is revoked under this subsection may be considered an unauthorized person on school district grounds for purposes of Section 37.107.
  6. The board of trustees of a school district may adopt a policy requiring a person described by Subsection (e) who is under 21 years of age to attend school until the end of the school year.  Section 65.003(a), Family Code, does not apply to a person subject to a policy adopted under this subsection.  Sections 25.093 and 25.095 do not apply to the parent of a person subject to a policy adopted under this subsection.
  7. After the third unexcused absence of a person described by Subsection (e), a school district shall issue a warning letter to the person that states the person's enrollment may be revoked for the remainder of the school year if the person has more than five unexcused absences in a semester.
  8. As an alternative to revoking a person's enrollment under Subsection (e), a school district may impose a behavior improvement plan described by Section 25.0915(a-1)(1).

Between Ages 6 and 19

State law requires that a student between the ages of 6 and 19 attend school, as well as any applicable accelerated instruction program, extended year program, or tutorial session, unless the student is otherwise excused from attendance or legally exempt.  A student will be required to attend any assigned accelerated instruction program, which may occur before or after school or during the summer, if the student does not meet the passing standards on the state assessment for his or her grade level and/or applicable subject area.

Age 19 and Older

A student who voluntarily attends or enrolls after his or her 19th birthday is required to attend each school day until the end of the school year.  If a student age 19 or older has more than five unexcused absences in a semester, the district may revoke the student’s enrollment.  The student’s presence on school property thereafter would be unauthorized and may be considered trespassing.  [See policy FEA.]

Failure to Comply with Compulsory Attendance 

School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law.  A student absent without permission from school; from any class; from required special programs, such as additional special instruction, termed “accelerated instruction” by the state; or from required tutorials will be considered in violation of the compulsory attendance law and subject to disciplinary action.

Between Ages 6 and 19

When a student between ages 6 and 19 incurs unexcused absences for three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period, the school will send a notice to the student’s parent, as required by law, to remind the parent that it is the parent’s duty to monitor his or her child’s attendance and to require the student to come to school.  The notice will also inform the parent that the district will initiate truancy prevention measures and request a conference between school administrators and the parent.  These measures will include a behavior improvement plan, school-based community service, or referrals to either in-school or out-of-school counseling or other social services.  Any other measures considered appropriate by the district will also be initiated.

Each campus has a Student Success Facilitator who can answer questions about student absences and the effect of those absences from school. Questions or concerns may also be addressed by a campus administrator.  The Student Success Facilitator, in conjunction with the District Truancy Prevention Coordinator, monitor student attendance and develop intervention plans as needed. 

If a student ages 12–18 incurs unexcused absences on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, the district, in most circumstances, will refer the student to truancy court for truant conduct.  A court of law may also impose penalties against a student’s parent if a school-aged student is deliberately not attending school.  A complaint against the parent may be filed in court if the student is absent without excuse from school on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, and the parent is subject to prosecution for parent contributing to non-attendance.  [See policy FEA (LEGAL).]

Age 19 and Older

After a student age 19 or older incurs a third unexcused absence, the district will send the student a letter as required by law explaining that the district may revoke the student’s enrollment for the remainder of the school year if the student has more than five unexcused absences in a semester.  As an alternative to revoking a student’s enrollment, the district may implement a behavior improvement plan. 


For Attendance issues please contact your child’s Campus Parent Liaison (grades PK-5) or Student Success Facilitator (grades 6-12).

Attendance for Credit or Final Grade (90%)

  1. Except as provided by this section, a student in any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 may not be given credit or a final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.
    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.
    2. Subsection (a) does not apply to a student who receives credit by examination for a class as provided by Section 28.023.
  2. The board of trustees of each school district shall appoint one or more attendance committees to hear petitions for class credit or a final grade by students who are in attendance fewer than the number of days required under Subsection (a) and have not earned class credit or a final grade under Subsection (a-1).  Classroom teachers shall comprise a majority of the membership of the committee.  A committee may give class credit or a final grade to a student because of extenuating circumstances.  Each board of trustees shall establish guidelines to determine what constitutes extenuating circumstances and shall adopt policies establishing alternative ways for students to make up work or regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences.  The alternative ways must include at least one option that does not require a student to pay a fee authorized under Section 11.158(a)(15).  A certified public school employee may not be assigned additional instructional duties as a result of this section outside of the regular workday unless the employee is compensated for the duties at a reasonable rate of pay.
  3. A member of an attendance committee is not personally liable for any act or omission arising out of duties as a member of an attendance committee.
  4. If a student is denied credit or a final grade for a class by an attendance committee, the student may appeal the decision to the board of trustees.  The decision of the board may be appealed by trial de novo to the district court of the county in which the school district's central administrative office is located.
  5. This section does not affect the provision of Section 25.087(b) regarding a student's excused absence from school to observe religious holy days.
  6. The availability of the option developed under Subsection (b) must be substantially the same as the availability of the educational program developed under Section 11.158(a)(15).

To receive credit or a final grade in a class, a student in kindergarten through grade 12 must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.  A student who attends at least 75 percent but fewer than 90 percent of the days the class is offered may receive credit or a final grade for the class if he or she completes a plan approved by the principal that allows the student to fulfill the instructional requirements for the class.

If a student attends less than 75 percent of the days a class is offered or has not completed a plan approved by the principal, then the student will be referred to the attendance review committee to determine whether there are extenuating circumstances for the absences and how the student can regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences.  The attendance committee shall review the student’s entire attendance record and the reasons for absences and shall determine whether to award credit or a final grade.  The committee may also, whether a petition is filed or not, review the records of all students whose attendance drops below 90 percent of the days the class is offered. [Policy FEC]

All absences, whether excused or unexcused, must be considered in determining whether a student has attended the required percentage of days.  A student’s report card may indicate if a student is in danger of not receiving course credit or being promoted due to not meeting the 90% requirement.  The student or parent may appeal the committee’s decision to the board by following policy FNG (LOCAL). The actual number of days a student must be in attendance in order to receive credit or a final grade (i.e. promoted) will depend on whether the class is for a full semester or for a full year.

FAQ about Compulsory Attendance and 90% Rule -- coming soon!


For Attendance issues please contact your child’s Campus Parent Liaison (grades PK-5) or Student Success Facilitator (grades 6-12).

Attendance Intervention Plans

Victoria ISD wants all students to be successful.  One of the most important factors that contribute to a student’s academic success is regular class attendance. Therefore, we encourage you to make daily school attendance a top priority.  If you incur excessive absences, you will be placed on either a Truancy Prevention Plan (for violation of compulsory attendance requirements), a Principal’s Plan (for violation of the 90% attendance rule) or BOTH.

Compulsory Attendance Requirements

The Texas Education Code (25.085, 25.086, 25.087, 25.0915, 25.092, 25.093, 25.095, 25.0951) specifically says that it is the parent’s duty to monitor and require student attendance and further states that if a student is absent without acceptable excuse on three or more days or parts of days within a four week period, then the school district must notify the parent and create a Truancy Prevention Plan on behalf of the student.  Each day you remain out of school after your parent/guardian has been notified and warned of an attendance problem may constitute an offense.  If your absences violate the state’s compulsory attendance laws (unexcused absences on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same year), the District may file a complaint in a justice court against you and your parent which could result in consequences and a fine for the parent.  Furthermore, District policy FEC (Local) states that  if  your  absence  exceeds  three  consecutive  days  because  of  a  personal  illness,  the principal may require a doctor’s note in order to excuse the absences.

Attendance for Credit or Final Grade

To be promoted or receive credit or a final grade in a class, you must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.  If you attend at least 75 percent but fewer than 90 percent of the days the class is offered, you may be promoted or receive credit or a final grade for the class ONLY if you complete a plan approved by the principal that allows you to fulfill the instructional requirements for the class. This plan may include making up class time before and after school, on Saturdays and/or attending summer school. **Note** Even if a student passes a course, he/she may not receive credit for a class if he/she exceeds the number of allowable absences.

If you attend less than 75 percent of the days a class is offered or have not completed a plan approved by the principal, then you, the student, or your parent should petition the attendance review committee to determine a) whether there are extenuating circumstances for the absences and b) how you can be promoted or regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences. 

Please make every effort to be in school daily.  If you must be absent, please make sure your parent notifies  the  school  by  calling  on  the  day  of  the  absence  and,  upon  return  to  school, submits a written excuse (signed by the parent) which includes the student’s name, the reason for the absence, and the date(s) of the absence.  It is also important that you discuss with your teacher(s) any assignments and work missed. 

Attendance Recovery

Attendance Recovery is an opportunity for students to recover credits lost due to excessive absences. See your designated campus Assistant Principal for implementing a Principal’s Attendance Intervention Plan. 
**Note** Attendance Recovery will not prevent or cancel an attendance warning notice or a court referral. Notes are important. Turn in all notes to your Campus Attendance Office, especially all medical notes.

Documentation after an Absence

When a student is absent from school, the student—upon arrival or return to school—must bring a note signed by the parent that describes the reason for the absence.  A note signed by the student, even with the parent’s permission, will not be accepted unless the student is age 18 or older or is an emancipated minor under state law.  The campus will document in its attendance records for the student whether the absence is considered by the district to be excused or unexcused.  Please note that unless the absence is for a statutorily allowed reason under compulsory attendance laws the district is not required to excuse any absence, even if the parent provides a note explaining the absence.

Doctor’s Note after an Absence for Illness

When a student’s absence exceeds three consecutive days because of a personal illness, the student must bring a current statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the student was seen by a health care professional and the illness or condition that caused the student’s extended absence from school. [See FEC.] Otherwise, the student’s absence may be considered unexcused and, if so, would be considered to be in violation of compulsory attendance laws. (See also, Health Related Matters in the Student Handbook)

Should the student develop a questionable pattern of absences, the principal or attendance committee may require a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition that caused the student’s absence from school in order to determine whether the absence or absences will be excused or unexcused. [See policy FEC (LOCAL).]

Driver's License Attendance Verification

For a student between the ages of 16 and 18 to obtain a driver license, written parental permission must be provided for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to access the student’s attendance records and, in certain circumstances, for a school administrator to provide the student’s attendance information to DPS.  A verification of enrollment (VOE) and attendance form, which the student will need to submit to DPS upon application for a driver license, may be requested from the school office. 

To qualify for a signed VOE form from the school administrator or designee, the student must be currently enrolled AND have earned credit for each class the semester prior to determining VOE eligibility.  If the student was not awarded credit for each class the semester prior to application for the VOE, the school should examine attendance records for the semester prior to application for the VOE and determine whether the student was present 90% of the time each class was offered. If so, the VOE may be issued.  If the student did not receive credit and did not attend 90% of their classes, the student is not eligible for a VOE unless the school attendance committee and/or administration approved a plan establishing conditions for the student to meet in order to receive a VOE.

Parent Resources

For Attendance issues please contact your child’s Campus Parent Liaison (grades PK-5) or Student Success Facilitator (grades 6-12).

What can you do to help your child?

  1. Help your child get into the habit and learn the value of regular routines.
  2. Teach your child that attending school is nonnegotiable unless they are truly sick.
  3. Build relationships with other families and discuss how you can help each other out (e.g., drop off or pick up children, babysit, translation assistance) in times of need or emergencies.
  4. Identify non-academic activities (drama, art, music, etc.) that can help motivate your child’s interest in school and learning and seek out schools that can offer those experiences.

Why Attendance Matters

  • To learn
  • To have fun
  • To make friends
  • To experience things
  • To develop awareness of others
  • To achieve
  • To gain qualifications
  • To develop social Skills
  • To build confidence and social skills
  • To have the best possible start in life

 Why Does School Matter?

  • School attendance lays the foundation for whether children will graduate or drop out of school
  • One missed day of school = 2-3 days of catch-up for a child to learn all the missed information
  • Key academic concepts are being covered every day
  • The habit of going to school is like learning to go to work – it’s a child’s job
  • To get the most out of education, children need to attend school every day. School attendance has a major influence on educational outcomes. Students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve better results at school and are more likely to complete their schooling.
  • Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success in both school and life.

Food for Thought

  • Education is considered as a basic need as food, clothing, shelter and medical care
  • Just by being present at school, your child is learning how to be a good citizen by participating in the school community, learning valuable social skills, and developing a broader world view.
  • One of the most effective strategies for improving pathways out of poverty is ensuring students attend school every day.