Attendance Policy

Ohkay Owingeh Community School Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy

As per the compulsory attendance law, students are required to be in school for at least 160 days. Students have the responsibility to attend class on a regular basis and parents of children under 18 are required to assure their child attends school regularly. This policy requires students to be in school daily, through the compulsory attendance age of 18.

25CFR Federal law governing attendance mandates that a student who has not participated in 160 instructional days per academic term or 80 instructional days per semester without a written, excused absence shall be recommended for retention. All referrals shall be made by the Student Assistance Team (SA) in conference with a parent/legal guardian. A SAT team is organized and meets on a regular basis.

Student Absenteeism

Consecutive Absences

A student who accumulates ten (10) consecutive unexcused absences will be dropped from the school program on the eleventh day.

A student is considered absent half day if he or she misses two hours or more.

A student is considered absent for the whole day if he or she misses four hours and twenty-five minutes of instruction.

The Principal (or designee) shall notify the parent/guardian of the administrative drop via a formal certified letter.

Cumulative Absences

The Counselor/Social Worker and/or the Parent Liaison is required to contact the parent of a student who accumulates five (5) unexcused absences per semester. This contact shall be made via phone call and an alert letter. All phone calls, home visits, and letters shall be documented in the student’s file.

A student who accumulates a combination of ten (10) excused/unexcused absences – is required to have a Family Counseling Session (FCS). The FCS shall include (but is not limited to) the parent/guardian, student, Counselor/Social Worker, Teacher, and/or Principal.

The Counselor/Social Worker or the Parent Liaison shall contact the parent/guardian to schedule a meeting via letter, phone call, or home visit. The school shall make every good faith effort to contact the parent/guardian. At least three attempts to contact parents shall be made and documented in the student’s file.

A referral to the SAT Team shall be made when the Counselor/Social Worker and Parent Liaison determine that absences are excessive. The SAT Team Chair shall convene a meeting with the SAT Team. A copy of all communication and meeting notes shall be maintained in the student fileand shall be made available to the Bureau of Indian Education, Bureau of Indian Affairs in compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Excused Absences:

The following are identified as excused absences from school:

  • Illness and medical appointments. A doctor’s note is required to excuse absences for three (3) consecutive days or more. For medical appointments, documentation from a medical provider is required.
  • The school will accept a note from parents/guardians if the student is absent due to illness for 1-2 days.
  • Death or serious illness of a family member. Up to four (4) days shall be excused.
  • School-sponsored activities.
  • Religious/cultural absences. Documentation from an Authorized Tribal Official and approval from the Principal is required.

Unexcused Absences:

Unexcused absences are absences from school for which the student does not have a legitimate excuse and/or does not provide necessary documentation. A student who accumulates ten (10) days of unexcused absences in one school year will be considered a student who is educationally neglected. The Counselor/Social Worker shall report the suspected neglect to the Bureau of Indian Education in compliance with ICWA. The Counselor/Social Worker, Parent Liaison, Teacher, Principal, and other SAT Team members shall work together with B.I.E. staff to offer support to the family. The team shall make a determination if a referral to Tribal Courts may be warranted. The court referral shall only be made if all other remedies have been exhausted. Thus, the court system is the last resort.

Late/Tardy Students:

Students are expected to be on time to class and prepared to learn. Classroom instruction begins at 8:00 a.m. (after breakfast, which is served in the Cafeteria from 7:30 – 7:55). Students should be in their classroom at 8:00 a.m. A student will be considered tardy if he or she arrives to class at 8:01 a.m. or thereafter. If a student arrives to school at 8:00 a.m., he or she is required to report to the front office for a tardy slip before being admitted to class. Please be advised that every fourth tardy counts as one (1) unexcused absence. All tardies are considered unexcused.

Parent/Guardian Role

Parents/guardians are required to notify the school of a student’s absence on the day of the absence. If the parent/guardian does not notify the school by 10:00 a.m., the Parent Liaison shall call the parent to verify the absence. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to communicate absences to the school.

Prior notification of an absence to the student’s classroom teacher, OOCS Front Office, and/or the Parent Liaison is also encouraged so as to arrange for such things as assignments or make-up work. In any event, parents/guardians must notify the school of a student’s absence in person, by telephone, or by e-mail on the day of the absence to assist with accurate record-keeping. Failure to communicate an absence shall result in the absence being categorized as unexcused. We understand that sometimes emergencies or other extenuating circumstances may arise. In such cases, notification to the school as soon as practical is encouraged and the Principal, in consultation with school staff, shall determine if an absence is excused or unexcused. Communication is the point of emphasis here.

Students with excessive absences and/or tardies will be referred to the Student Assistance Team.

Parents are strongly advised to avoid scheduling family trips on school days to minimize disruption or interruption of instruction and to not adversely affect student’s cumulative absences.

Parents may call the Parent Liaison at 852-2154 and provide the student’s name, reason for absence, and length of absence. The student should bring a written note or doctor’s excuse in advance or on the day they return to school following the absence. The Parent Liaison shall maintain a log of the above.