School Attendance: Absences and Tardies

Parental Responsibilities

It is the parents’ responsibility to be sure that your child attends school on time, all day, every day. Parental notes are required for student’s absence and tardiness.            

Student Absence / Tardy

At West Villages Elementary School we believe that “All children have the right to every opportunity to achieve their full potential.” Our school day is planned in accordance with state law in order to help our children grow and develop intellectually, socially and emotionally. We know that you are committed to this same goal for your child.

We are a learning community. What one person does, affects the others. One child’s tardiness or early dismissal affects the entire class. A last minute phone call with a change of pickup plans, interrupts the pace and flow of the class each time the call is made. We understand that life events happen and we can’t control many of them, but to the extent possible, please help the community of learning by:

  1. Having your child here on time, every day, all day.
  2. Maintain a consistent routine for morning and afternoon transportation, and only make changes when absolutely necessary.
  3. Communicate those changes with your child’s teacher ahead of time through a note or email.
  4. Reserve changes in your transportation routine for emergencies.

Studies have clearly shown that regular attendance in school is a critical component of a child’s educational success. While children may become ill, it is important that every effort be made to have your child in school each day that they are healthy. We have many supportive interventions at West Villages which require students to be here, on time, on a consistent basis.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts mandates that all children under the age of sixteen (16) attend school regularly in order to acquire the skills they need to succeed in life. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76 Section 2: “Every person in control of a child described in section 1 shall cause him to attend school as therein required, and if he fails to do so for seven days or fourteen half day sessions within any period of six months shall be in violation of the law.”

Regular attendance notices will be sent monthly by BPS elementary schools. This will alert you to our concern and provide an opportunity to rectify any possible errors in our records. Our goal is to be your partner in supporting strong attendance for your child. Should you have any questions or concerns around these practices, please do not hesitate to set up a time with Mr. Gibbons by calling Sheila Lacey at 508-420-1100. 

Excused vs. Unexcused Absences

From time to time an absence from school is warranted and excused for reasons of illness or family emergency. These excused absences should be rare and few in number. Under normal circumstances, an absence will be excused with a doctor’s note documenting the need for the student to be out of school or some type of documentation for the family need to be out (such as an obituary, wedding announcement, court summons, etc).

An illness may occur that requires a student to stay home but does not require a visit to the doctor. In this instance, the parent may contact the school nurse to explain the circumstances. However, once a child is out for more than 3 days in a week’s time, a doctor note should be provided in order for these absences to be excused. In the event that a child is out for multiple, non-consecutive days, the Principal may ask for a doctor note before excusing any further absences.

Excessive excused absences interrupt a child’s education. In the event that an illness or family situation creates multiple excused absences, the Principal may request a meeting to discuss the situation and create a plan to support the child’s education. A parent may also request this meeting with school personnel. In these circumstances, it is helpful for us to have permission to speak with the doctor's office so that we can meet the requirements of the ongoing situation.

Unexcused Absences

Families with unexcused absences, tardies or early dismissals may be contacted by the classroom teacher and/or the School Counselor to discuss any concerns or needs the family may have relevant to the student’s attendance at school, and to help develop a plan for increased student attendance, timely arrival, and/or timely dismissal. Parents who are making an honest and transparent effort to have their students to school on time, but are not successful, are encouraged to set up a meeting with the classroom teacher, School Counselor, Nurse, and/or Principal to discuss plans and options. We desire to be your partner.