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What's the big deal with attendance?

You might be thinking, school just started, why are we already talking about attendance? We spend a lot of time talking about attendance around ICSAtlanta and that is because attendance is key to student success. ICSAtlanta's Attendance Policy can be found on page 11 of the Student Handbook and every parent should be familiar with the policy.


Absences can stack up quickly. The graph below illustrates how excessive absences and tardies can affect a student over the course of their academic career:




Here are a few Attendance FAQ's:

What is the Staying with the Pack Attendance Initiative?

Started in the 2017-2018 school year, our Staying with the Pack Attendance Initiative sought to create programming to support our students' regular attendance. Through individual and classwide incentives, we have seen our students get excited about being at school! ICSAtlanta worked to increase parent-school communication through attendance notifications and the support of our School Social Worker.


Why does ICSAtlanta have an attendance policy?

Research shows that consistent school attendance is crucial to student success. Our attendance policy works to create a framework to support attendance and is also in compliance with GA State Compulsory Laws.

For more information, check out the GA Department of Education: http://archives.gadoe.org/pea_policy.aspx?PageReq=PEASchoolAttendance


Why did I receive an email about my student's attendance?

Research shows that parent involvement is the greatest tool in improving regular student attendance. Often times parents are unaware of the status of their student's attendance record, which can be due to a lack of communication from the school. As apart of our Staying with the Pack Attendance Initiative, ICSAtlanta began sending home regular attendance emails in an effort to establish parent-school communication at the start, rather than waiting until attendances begin to pile up. Beginning with 3 absences and moving up, we seek to start the conversations early so that we can ensure that we are doing all that we can to support student success. Through this communication we work to ensure that we are all on the same page with the student's attendance, the attendance policy, and the basis of the attendance policy (GA Compulsory Attendance Law, code section 20-2-690, et seq.).


How do I know what is considered an excused absence?

The following are considered excused absences:

  1. Illness- A student who has been absent for more than five (5) days for illness, must present a physician’s statement in order for the absences to be excused. Parents may write 4 notes per year excusing illness. See below for more information about parent notes.

  2. Funeral

  3. Death of immediate family member

  4. Religious holiday

  5. Orders from court or other government agency

Remember! Documentation (hard copy only, emails cannot be accepted) will be required within five (5) days of the students return to school.


My student was absent but it is supposed to be excused, what do I do?

If your student is absent for a purpose that is considered excused (see above) please send documentation within 5 days of your student's absence. Excuse notes must be received in hard copy. Electronic notes (including email notification) cannot be accepted. The excuse note will be filed and the student's record will be updated to reflect the excused absence.

Excuse notes should include the following:

Date of the absence

Reason for absence

Doctor's/Parent/Guardian's signature


Is there a limit to the amount of "Parent" notes that I can send?

Yes. Parents may write up to 4 notes each school year excusing their student due to sickness. The "Parent note" can not excuse more than 8 days of absence. If a student is absent due to sickness after the 4th parent note is received (or 8 days have been missed), the parent must submit a doctor's/medical excuse for the student's absence to be excused.


I sent my student's teacher an email, why is the absence still unexcused?

ICSAtlanta Policy requires that all excuses are received in hard copy and kept on file. While emails are great to let your student's teacher know that they will be out, they cannot serve as an excuse note.


Our family has an important trip coming up, can that be excused?

Unfortunately, travel of any kind is not considered an excused absence.


I know that my student has to be absent for a few days, what should I do to prepare?

If your student has an upcoming unavoidable absence, it is best to contact the teacher to notify she/he about the absence. Ask for any work that could be completed during the absence so that your student does not fall too far behind during his/her absence.

Please note: if the absence is considered excused you must also send in an excuse note within 5 days of your student's return to school. See above for details on the excuse note.


My student doesn't want to go to school, what can I do?

At times students may become resistant to going to school. This resistance is expected from time to time and typically can be easily resolved.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Let your student know that school attendance is non-negotiable, unless they are truly sick.

  • Make school attendance a priority, talking about the importance of showing up everyday. Just as mom, dad, aunt, uncle, etc. has a job to go to, so do students.

  • If your student is worried about something, let their teacher and counselor know so that we can try to resolve the problem and help!


We live far away from the school and it is hard to get there sometimes, what do I do?

As a State Charter School, ICSAtlanta has the unique opportunity to welcome students from all over the state. While this opportunity allows our school to have a wide-reaching community it can be a hurdle for some families. Many families have found that carpooling with other ICSAtlanta families is very helpful!


Where can I get more information about attendance?

Attendance Works http://www.attendanceworks.org/

Attendance Works is a nationally recognized organization that offers resources, research, and support to parents, students, and educators in their work to maintain consistent school assistance.

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