Revision on Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School
Updated July 2015
VIII. School Attendance is Mandatory
Perhaps the most crucial single factor to doing well in school is simply being in school on time on a daily basis. Our attendance policy supports a student’s right to public education and parental interest in providing the best possible education for children.
In 2014, Act 76 was signed in to law making kindergarten attendance mandatory.
Beginning with school year 2014-2015, any parent, guardian or other person having the responsibility for, or care of a child who will be five years of age by July 31 of the school year, shall enroll the child in public school kindergarten unless the child is enrolled at a private school or a child’s attendance is otherwise exempt under Hawaii Revised Statutes, section 302A-1132. Section 298-13 places the responsibility for enforcing compulsory attendance with the Department of Education. Authorized reasons to be absent from school include medical reasons, a death or severe illness in the immediate family, a trip with parent/guardians pre-approved by the principal, and religious observance.
It is critical that your child attend school daily. Under a new waiver provision the State Department of Education received from the U.S. DOE, any students who is absent 15 days or more (excused or unexcused) for any reason will be considered a chronically absent student.
Phone calls will no longer be accepted to excuse absences. When a student is absent, the parents will receive an automated phone call from the school after 10:00 a.m. stating that their child is not in school. If you receive a call and your child should be in school, please call the school immediately.
Each morning, teachers will document that your child has an unexcused absence if (s)he is not on campus or in class. When your child returns to school, parents must promptly (within 5 school days) send a note to the teacher explaining the reason for the absence. A student has an “excused” absence when (s)he is not physically present in school due to one of the following reasons:
· Death in the family with written notification by the parents.
· Doctor or dentist appointment with a doctor/dentist’s note.
· Illness, chronic illness, or injury verified by a doctor/dentist’s note.
Unexcused absences will result in school non-attendance procedures per §302A-1135, Penalty, HRS: Student, father or mother, guardian, or person having charge of the child who persists in being absent from school may be referred and summoned to court.
Families are discouraged from taking vacations during the school year because it interrupts academic continuity. Also, as noted above, there are new restrictions on attendance. Please plan accordingly and schedule vacations during the Fall, Winter, or Spring Breaks or during the summer. If students are going to be absent due to vacations, family matters, or family visits the students will be marked as an “unexcused” absence for the duration that they are not present in school or in class.