BRIDGES Attendance Policy

Students in Vermont between the ages of six (6) and sixteen (16) are required by law to attend school.  Truancy is an unexcused absence from school or class without administrative permission. To ensure that students remain in compliance with Vermont statutes and regulatory requirements, students enrolled in the BRIDGES Program are required to have regular and punctual patterns of attendance. This policy seeks to improve students’ educational opportunities and personal development by supporting attendance and pro-social behaviors within the educational environment.

Guidelines and Information for Parents/Guardians:

1. A student who fails to attend school during a scheduled school day is considered absent.  The absence is considered excused if the school is given adequate advanced notice or if a written explanation is provided after the fact by a parent/guardian.

2. The school day begins at 8:30AM.  If a student arrives after that time, he/she will be considered tardy.  Tardiness is considered excused if the school is given adequate advanced notice or if a written explanation is provided by a parent/guardian. 

3. A student who comes to school but is unable to participate in or benefit from educational services for more than 75% of the school day due to acute behavioral or emotional concerns will be considered “unavailable”.  This category of attendance will be tracked for each student and included in overall attendance records for guardians and sending school districts.

4. Student absences will be excused for the following reasons:  Brief illness (requiring a parent/guardian note), extended illness (requiring a physician note), family emergency, death in the family, physician/dentist/counseling appointment, religious holiday, court appearance.

5. If a student is ill or unable to attend school, a parent/guardian should call the school at  802-258-3735 between 7:00 and 9:00AM, leaving a detailed voicemail if they are unable to reach a school representative. 

6. If a student arrives at school after the start of the school day (8:30 a.m.) he or she will be considered tardy.  The tardiness is considered excused if the school is given adequate advanced notice or if a written explanation is provided after the fact by a responsible adult.

7. When a student is absent more than four (4) days during an academic semester, the student’s parent/guardian and sending school representative will receive written notification that excessive absenteeism is becoming a concern and may interfere with the student’s ability to receive credit or make sufficient academic progress.

8. When a student has four (4) unexcused absences during an academic semester, the student is at high risk of receiving an “F” (failure for attendance) for the semester. Following the third unexcused absence, the student’s parent/guardian and the sending school representative will receive written notification and a meeting with the Attendance Review Committee will be convened.

9. The Attendance Review Committee will include the Meadows School Principal, The BRIDGES Coordinator, the assigned BRIDGES Social Worker, a teacher, and a representative from the student’s sending school.

10. The Attendance Review Committee will review the student’s attendance record and will determine whether the student may receive credit for the semester.  Any requirements to recoup credits may be discussed.  The group may also discuss any supports the school will implement to improve the student’s attendance in the future.

11. When a student is absent for more than eight (8) days during an academic semester, the student’s parent/guardian and the sending school representative will receive written notification of the ongoing absenteeism concern.  The principal and/or BRIDGES coordinator will request a meeting with the student, the student’s parent/guardian, and other appropriate stakeholders to try to identify the cause of chronic absenteeism and find a remedy.

12. When a student is absent for more than twelve days in an academic semester, the student’s parents/guardians and sending school representative will receive written notice.  A meeting will be convened with the Attendance Review Committee and the student’s parents/guardians with the goals as outlined in item #9.

13. For all students receiving Special Education services, this policy will be applied consistent with Vermont Special Education law regarding attendance.  For more information about the Vermont Department of Education laws and regulations which guided this policy, you may review Title 16, Chapter 25 and the 2009 Report on Act 44, Section 46 (Truancy) at http://education.vermont.gov.
  

Thank you in advance for working with the BRIDGES Program toward the success of your student.