How do you handle excessive absences?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by heavens54, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 4, 2011

    I have a fourth grader who has been absent 17 days from school already. He missed four days this week, so far, and yet he can make it to basketball practice and a game. My other students tell me he is not really sick. He is a baby and his mother babies him. He stays home a day or two for a headache. It is sad.

    Of course he is struggling in his grades. He has never been retained, but I don't know that I can recommend him for fifth grade if this continues. He writes like a second grader. Yes, this has happened previous years and at other schools.

    How would you deal with this? I have tried talking to the student, the parent, the admin. They sent a letter about it last June, but it obviously didn't change. It is the parent as well as the student, perpetuating this damaging pattern. :help:
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Since I teach high school, I don't know if this is possible for you at the elementary level. About 4 yrs in order to address our attendance issues, all the admin and coaches agreed to an attendance policy that our district quickly approved. If a student is absent ANY period of the day, except for medical, they may not practice or participate in games~ players, cheerleaders, dancers, band, etc. . . I can't tell you how quickly our attendance turned around since we are a small school and about 2/3 of our students are active in extra-cir.

    Again, this is what we do in high school, not sure if it will work with elementary, but our state does allow us to investigate students that are habitually absent, or we can also deny credit to students who miss to many days in class. Again, I don't know if there is an attendance requirement in elementary but after 10 days, we can deny the student credit.

    Hope this helps
     
  4. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    Feb 4, 2011

    As the previous poster noted, many high schools operate their sports on the basis that students have good attendance and are not failing any classes. It would be easy enough, in co-ordination with your school/coaches, to set up an attendance plan where the student would need to be in school a certain number of days or whatever in order to qualify to play sports that week.

    From what you say, it sounds like the student is performing significantly below grade level. Consider the possibility that he may have a learning disability that is impacting his learning and, potentially, making him dislike/not want to attend school.

    For my students, who are high-schoolers, I call home for almost every unexcused absence I see on their record and explain my concerns. Most parents do want their child to succeed in school, but many perhaps don't even realize how damaging non-attendance is to a child's progress.

    In this case, it sounds like you need more support from your administration. Perhaps bring it up with your principal again and ask to work together to come up with potential solutions.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Our state only allows so many absences without doctor's notes. I think now in high school with block scheduling, it's three a class, so maybe 5 days in elementary. After that, they cannot be promoted without a serious meeting to review their portfolio, and they must be meeting objectives. Of course, usually these kids have almost nothing in their portfolios since they aren't in school. Does your state not mandate attendance?
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Our district mandates attendance. If a child misses 9 days (without a doctor's excuse), the parent can receive a court summons. If the child misses an excessive number (around 15 or so I think), they can be placed in jail. Needless to say, this was an issue of hot contention when it was adopted, but it also reduced the number of chronic absences our district experienced.

    I don't know if attendance can be tied to participation in sports at the elementary or middle school level, but grades certainly can.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 4, 2011

    We send home a letter after 10 days missed without a doctor's note. We call parents and let them see how the attendance is impacting their behavior.

    More than this...I expect them to complete any work that they missed. This way be during recess if it is a test/quiz/conference or before or after school. Otherwise, it is to be completed at home or it is a zero! Parents don't like to see grades fall.
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 4, 2011

    A child is considered excessively absent here if he/she misses 6 days per semester. I have one who has missed 38 days now, only halfway through the year. Because my program (PreK) is not mandatory, there is not a thing that can be done about it. So, I feel your pain, but I ahve no answers....
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Does your district have a policy about absenteeism? That's the first place you should look for information.

    The sad truth is that if he doesn't learn what he needs to learn, the only option for him might be to be held back. If that's what it takes for him to learn the material, then that's what it takes. If it's true that his mom is babying him, maybe she'll start to figure it out.

    I teach at the secondary level and I also have many students who are habitually absent. I have one student who has been gone around 20 times this year, and we're only halfway through the year. It's frustrating because she always misses work, then has to make it up when she returns, then she misses more work, has to make it up, etc. It's this constant, endless cycle of make-up work for her. If she's there when an assignment is given, she's not there on the day it's due. If she's there when an assignment is due or when we're taking a test, she wasn't there when the assignment was given or when the material was presented. She gets really frustrated when her grade is low and she doesn't seem to understand that there is a correlation between her absenteeism and her poor grades. Sigh....
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Have a parent about potential retention. That sometimes gets the parent to get it together.
     
  11. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Feb 4, 2011

    After 10 days - excused or not - we send a social worker to the house (unless it's a freak occurrence, like a death in the family out of state or hospitalization). Same for tardies.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My CT had a great policy for missed work. A student has two days after they return to school to complete any work they missed during their absence. After that, they get a "0" - period. If the student is absent the day work was due, then it is due the day they return. If they miss the day of the test review, that's their loss.

    My students just BOMBED a test I gave last Friday. They missed so many questions, I knew I HAD to reteach and retest on the material, so we spent this week working every question on the test again in class. One student was absent 2 of the 3 days we did this. He came back to school yesterday and I told him the class was being retested today. I said "I'm sorry you've missed the last two days of review, but it's too late to go back over it now. Maybe you can go over the notes with one of your classmates to catch up on what you missed."

    It does amaze me that students don't see the correlation between their low grades and multiple absences. If you aren't here, then it should be obvious you're gonna have a hard time understanding the material. :p
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is similar to our district policy, except that we allow students three days to make up missed work.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My CT told me she use to always try to let kids make up work they missed, until she realized she was driving herself crazy with a lot of unnecessary extra work and grief. She decided that - by middle school - the kids should be old enough to take some responsibility for themselves and implemented her 2-day rule.
     
  15. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Does your district have a truancy officer? Perhaps contact DHS???
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 4, 2011

    :dizzy:
    My office sends home notes at every 10 absences...and lateness notes as well. I reflect the absences/tardies in notes/grades on report cards. Kids are responsible for missed work.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We have a day per absence policy to make up work, unless it is a planned absence. If the absence is planned, the parents need to ask for work prior to the absence.
     
  18. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2011

    I am in a very similiar situation. She transfered into the school in October and just missed day 20. Mom has told me she does not like to go to school. The school has worked with her as much as possible. I am now working with the registrar on the truency officer visiting and trying to take the mom to court. I know that sounds mean, but I feel like I care more about this girl's education than the mom does. So maybe this will scare the mom enough into making sure she comes to school. She has already been retained and barely reads. I believe there might be other issues, but I do not have enough work to try and put a file together.
    Sorry about the vent and thread hijack! I feel your pain. Talk to the registrar and see what is in the school's power. A visit by an officer might help the mom see straight!
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Feb 4, 2011

    My school apparently doesn't care at all if a child attends or not. I once tried to look into a situation when I had a student who had missed literally weeks of school. I was quickly shut up. But, we never under any circumstances fail a student either, so...yeah, we're not too bent on education. :|
     
  20. tortega

    tortega Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2011

    When I was an intern teacher I had a student who was absent at least once a week (6th grade). The days he came he was REGULARLY one to two hours late. He was intelligent but of course very behind. The administration told me that the truancy officers took care of these things and that the mom had been jailed already for not getting her kids to school. Near the end of the year I started keeping him after school for fifteen minute everyday he was more then five minutes late for a "private tutoring session" on what he missed in the morning. He got to school on time a lot more after that.
     
  21. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Are you teaching in a public or private school?
     
  22. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Our school secretaries send out a notice and if it gets excessive will send a policeman out. This happened to one of my students the other day. A police officer went to his house. The parents can be jailed....
     
  23. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    I teach in a Catholic school and we had a student much like the one you described. She had been very ill as a baby and now, in 4th grade, she had learned that any complaint to her mother got her out of school. She was seen out and about quite often on her days absent from school.

    The principal came down pretty hard on the parent that she needed to be in school to get grades. She was given a lot of incompletes. (She consistently missed gym day.) When talk of retention for the incompletes started, the parents pulled her out of our school and homeschooled her. I think they used a virtual school.

    Supposedly she is now in public school.
     

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