Student Attendance K- 12

MCS believes that attendance in school is central to a student’s educational achievement and a student’s success in school. Furthermore, MCS considers attendance and participation in class an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Regular attendance develops patterns of behavior essential to success in life after high school, both personally and professionally.

The State Board of Education requires that students be enrolled in the public schools for at least 5.5 hours of instruction daily or 27.5 hours weekly. Students will be assigned to a full instructional day, unless they receive appropriate approvals.

A. Lawful Absences

Excusable absences permitted by NC State Board of Education Attendance Rules:

  • (a) Illness or injury
  • (b) Quarantine/Isolation by State Board of Health
  • (c) Death in Family
  • (d) Medical/Dental Appointments
  • (e) Court proceedings
  • (f) Religious events or observances
  • (g) Valid Educational opportunity
  • (h) Military Deployment/return (MCS Policy 6024)
  • (i) Local School Board exception
  • (j) Suspension
  • (k) Expulsion

B. Unlawful Absences

Unlawful (unexcused) absences are defined as the student’s willful absences from school without the knowledge of the parents/guardians, or the student’s absences from school without justifiable causes with the knowledge of parents/guardians.

C. Homebound Placements

Homebound placements are based on medical recommendations and students are credited as in attendance when pre-approved by the appropriate official in the Moore County Schools.

D. Make-up Work

Students are responsible for all work missed when absent from school. Immediately upon returning to school, students must make arrangements with their teacher(s) to make up all work (assignments, tests, projects, etc.) missed while absent within the specified period as defined by the teacher.

E. Absence Documentation Requirement

Parents/guardians are requested to contact school officials immediately when unanticipated absences occur. All absences require a written note from the parent/guardian explaining the absence(s). The student should deliver the note to school authorities (teacher, attendance office official, etc.) as soon as possible upon his/her return to school. Failure to submit such notes within 3 school days after returning to school will result in an unlawful absence being recorded.

All anticipated periods of absence should be reported to school officials prior to the period of absence. Such absences should receive prior approval by school officials. Note: Juniors will be allotted one college day in the spring; prior approval note is required. Seniors are allotted one day in the fall.

Prior approval is required for any student departing from campus once he/she has arrived; this approval is required throughout the school day. Students must follow a sign-out procedure as established by the school.

F. Definition of being “In Attendance”

To be considered “in attendance” a student must be present in the school for at least one-half of the school day (or one-half of the class for class attendance in secondary schools). Students may, with the approval of the school principal or designees attend an authorized school activity and are considered “in attendance.”

Such activities include, but may not be limited to, job shadowing and other work based learning activities, field trips, athletic contests or other competitions, student conventions, music festivals, concerts, or similar activities approved by the school.

Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible for make up by the student. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.

G. Unlawful Absence Disciplinary Actions

Unlawful absence will result in conferences with parents/guardians. Unlawful absence and/or truancy may lead to disciplinary action to include court proceedings involving parents and/or students if the student is less than sixteen years of age. North Carolina General Statute (G.S.115C-378) requires attendance until the age of sixteen (16).

High School Attendance Requirements

Records are kept on each student’s attendance for the duration of each course (period by period). Each student’s attendance record is assessed during the length of the course.

School attendance has been identified as a critical component to academic success. According to SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accreditation standards, course credit is granted based on defined performance criteria and a minimum of 130 clock hours of instruction. However, Moore County Schools and NCSBE require 135 Clock Hours of attendance.

Excessive Lawful Absences

The Moore County Schools Attendance Policy 6000 states, “Students in grades 9-12 who are absent from a class more than eight (8) days during a semester course shall not receive credit for the semester or year where applicable. The maximum numerical grade recorded for such a student for the semester or for the year shall be fifty (50).”

Any student who misses more than eight (8) days in a semester or A/B class may not receive credit for that class, even if the student’s grade is passing. Students are expected to make up work assigned during the lawful absence(s) within three school days of the student’s return to school, or as scheduled with the teacher. The ultimate responsibility for makeup work lies with the student.

Notification Of Absences

The following schedule will be used to notify parents/guardians of student unexcused absences:

  • After 3 absences by principal or designee
  • After 6 absences in writing
  • After 10 absences as aligned with G.S. 115C–38)

Methods of notification vary from school to school but can include personal telephone messages, computer- generated telephone messages, letters, conferences, and home visits.

Parents should monitor their student’s attendance closely; notifications sent by the school can follow the actual absence by a number of days due to time needed for processing, mailing, etc. Schools may also communicate attendance information to parentsthrough the district’s automated Student Information System.

State Mandated Attendance Policy

Students under the age of 16 years will receive notification under North Carolina General Statute (G.S.115C-378). The law states that “Unlawful absences will result in conferences with parents/guardians. Unlawful absences and/or truancy may lead to disciplinary action to include court proceedings involving parents and/ or students if a student is less than sixteen years of age. North Carolina General Statute (G.S.115C-378) requires attendance until age sixteen.”

Students who are absent 13.5 days in a semester will not be eligible to play sports (NCHSAA) and may lose driving privileges. Reminder: Attendance is taken each period. For state attendance purposes, students must be in school for at least half a day to be counted present.

Absences Procedure

Attendance in class is essential to the mastery of subject matter; therefore, students are expected to be present in class every day. Any student absent from class or school must present a note from the proper authority within three (3) days. Failure to bring a note and submit it to the designated/appropriate person or office as determined by the high school administration will result in the absence being coded unexcused.

The written note must be signed by the parent/guardian, and presented to the school within 36 hours (three days) of the absence. The note must include the date(s) of absence and state the reason for the absence. A student must be present more than half of the period in order to be considered in attendance.

Excessive Absences - Impact to Credit

Students present less than 46 minutes in a class will be counted as absent.

Any student who accumulates more than eight (8) absences will receive a failing grade of FF. A FF is issued to students who passed a course academically but have exceeded the allotted absences. All students have the right to appeal their absences. FFs revert to a grade of 50 at the end of the school year if makeup time is not completed or an attendance waiver granted.

Attendance Recovery Programs

Due to seat time requirements set by the state, a student who misses more than 8 days (excused or unexcused) must recover that time in a school based program such as a Saturday Attendance Academy, After School Recovery period, or other school sponsored attendance recovery programs to recover their missed class time. All excused and unexcused absences between (9 and 20) must be recovered. Students who have less than 20 total absences have the right to appeal their absences to the Attendance Appeals Committee.

The purpose of these attendance recovery programs is to provide the opportunity for students to make up excess absences that might otherwise cause the student to lose credit for a class. Students who do not recover their absences and have not been approved to waive the recovery generally will not be considered for appeal.

Any student who receives over 20 absences cannot meet the 135 hours seat time to receive credit and may not appeal unless they have extenuating circumstances documented with doctor or court notes.

Please note that a waiver of the requirement of recovering the missed days can be approved if there are circumstances that preclude the student from attending the recovery program. Any waiver must be pre-approved by the designated administrator within your school. Attendance waivers will be considered on a case by case basis.

Request for Attendance Appeal

Under extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal excessive absences. It is the student’s responsibility to appeal absences.

The Attendance Appeal Form is available for pick up at the student’s school. The process for completion of the Attendance Appeal Form requires that the classroom teacher fills out the dates of absences and codes either excused or unexcused.

The Attendance Appeal Form is returned to the student to take home for signature by a parent or guardian. After the parent or guardian signs the Attendance Appeal Form, it is the student’s responsibility to return the form to the appropriate designated office by the specified deadline.

Attendance Appeals will not be approved for the following circumstances:

  • Excessive absences without proper medical documentation
  • Unexcused absences
  • Repeat appeals
  • Lack of proper documentation

The deadline for submitting Attendance Appeals Forms for the first semester will be two weeks prior to the end of the semester. The deadline for submitting Attendance Appeal Forms for the second semester will be two weeks prior to the end of the semester.

More Important Attendance Information

Attendance notes: A note from a parent or guardian is required when students are absent. All notes are due within three school days after a student’s return. Failure to present a note will result in that absence being categorized as unlawful.

Tardies: Each school will design its own program for discouraging students from being late to school or class.

Field trips: Students are considered “present” in school when on field trips and other school-sponsored activities. Ask your attendance staff or school administrator when clarification is needed; refer to each individual school’s procedure.

Time required in class: Attendance in class for at least one-half of the class period is required for the student to be counted “present.”

Suspensions: By state statute (G.S.115C-391), out- of- school suspensions are counted as lawful absences and students are provided an opportunity to makeup work.

Make Up Work

All incomplete work due to a student’s absenteeism must be made up under the direction of the classroom teacher. If the work is not made up within the allotted time, a failing grade may be recorded for the incomplete work and averaged accordingly.

It is strongly recommended that students who miss tests due to excused absences make up these tests before or after school. The specific time for making up these tests, however, must be prearranged with the class instructors.