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Attendance Matters

August 28, 2019
By Our Lady of Sorrows School
OLS students in the classroom

Did You Know?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school and leads to patterns of absences as they get older.
  • Research shows that missing 10 percent of school time, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.
  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read.  
  • When put in terms of instructional minutes (360 minutes per day as required by TCCB ED for accreditation purposes), if a child misses:
    • 3 days of school, it is equal to 1,080 instructional minutes missed
    • 5 days of school, it is equal to 1,800 instructional minutes missed
    • 8 days of school, it is equal to 2,880 instructional minutes missed
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks. Additionally, being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Start building this habit in preschool, elementary and middle school so that they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

It is important for us to understand a few data points and the importance of our children being at school each day. As I crunched the data from last year, our students (as a school) were present only 92% of the time. I am looking to improve this number as we strive for excellence each day. I share this with everyone because as we solidify our classroom instruction and routines, and with a holiday (off days) approaching, it is imperative that we are all aware and normed on a few of our policies when it comes to attendance, especially as many may be tempted to look towards holidays as an opportunity for extended weekends.

These policies are outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook that was presented through the enrollment process and digitally signed by parents; it can also be referenced in your child’s planner. I want to reiterate the Diocesan Policy and Local School Policy when it comes to certain absences, specifically “Unexcused Absences”.

The following is directly in the Parent/Student Handbook, except as amended below (

Excused / Unexcused Absences

Excused absences are granted for illness, death in the immediate family, or any other unusual and unexpected events which must be cleared by the school Principal.

Pre-planned absences, such as vacations, are counted as “Unexcused” and are discouraged. Teachers do not accommodate parents by outlining lesson plans in advance and no assignments are given in anticipation of the vacation. Upon returning, it is the responsibility of the parent to set up a meeting with teacher and principal to collect assignment(s) missed. A student has exactly 3 days from that meeting to complete all work and exams missed and will receive a grade no higher than a 70 on any test or assignment. Failure to do so will result in a zero (0) entered into the grade book.

I want us to all be aware of the implications this may have on your student as we are adhering to our policies for Excused and Unexcused Absences when they relate to Pre-planned absences and overall implications. As our policy also states:

  • 16 Absences (excused or unexcused) may result in academic retention or blocked enrollment for the following school year as per TCCED mandate. Exclusion from extracurricular activities for remainder of the school year is additionally implemented.

I encourage you to plan accordingly as our academic calendar is finalized in May for the following school year to allow families to make arrangements regarding planned trips and/or planned absences. I would also like to reiterate that I will respect and support any decision you make that you feel is in the best interest of your child as I would also ask that you reciprocate the same when it comes to our obligation to abide by school policies that you have agreed upon.

When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for success in school and in life.” – Attendance Works

Thank you, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we work together throughout the school year to truly promote community and provide a quality education for all.


Israel “Buddy” Martinez Jr., M.Ed.
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School

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