Attendance & Absences
Attendance at School
Regular school attendance is essential for a student to make the most of his or her education—to benefit from teacher-led and school activities, to build each day’s learning on the previous day’s, and to grow as an individual. Absences from class may result in serious disruption of a student’s mastery of the instructional materials; therefore, the student and parent should make every effort to avoid unnecessary absences.
A student can be considered absent if he or she misses all or part of the school day, including late arrival and early pick-up. Under Texas law, a student in all learning environments (In-Person, At-Home remote learning, Virtual, and Virtual Plus) must be present in each class for at least 90% of the days a class is offered. Students who don’t meet this requirement, regardless of the reason for the absence or whether excused/unexcused, will lose credit in the class. Completion of a plan determined by the principal or campus attendance committee will be required to restore credit.
Under Texas law, a student who experiences more than 3 unexcused absences (full or partial day) in a four week period or 10 unexcused absences (full or partial day) in a 6 month period, may be referred to the court for truancy. This includes unexcused late arrivals and early pick-up. Charges may also be filed against the parent in these circumstances.
What steps do I take if my child is absent?
Approval for planned absences should be requested from the campus at least one week in advance to ensure they are excused. Pre-planned absences on STAAR, EOC, or other state testing days will not be excused.
If your child will be absent for illness or another, unplanned reason, contact your campus attendance clerk by phone or email that day to notify the school of the absence.
Parents should provide a note, documenting the reason for the absence, to the school immediately upon the child’s return, and not later than three days after the absence. If the child was seen by a health care provider, a note from that individual is always preferred. If the student was present PART of the school day and missed the remainder for a health care appointment, a note from that provider should be given to the school within 3 days. In this circumstance, the time away from school is NOT considered an absence.
If a student is absent for more than four consecutive days for illness, a note from a health care provider is required to excuse the absence.
The district will accept parent notes to excuse an illness, personal, or pre-approved absence for no more than 10 full or partial day absences during the school year. Any additional absences will require a note from a health care provider or documentation of an absence exempt from compulsory attendance, in order to be excused.
It is important to take all required steps to ensure an absence will be excused. Unless the absence is for a statutorily allowed reason under compulsory attendance laws, the district is not required to excuse any absence, even if the parent provides a note explaining the absence. Unexcused absences are considered truancy and the grade for makeup work after an unexcused absence shall be zero. [See Board Policy EIA Local]
Harmon Attendance Procedures
ATTENDANCE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Please remember that student attendance is crucial to learning and their success. We do ask that appointments be scheduled outside of the regular school hours as much as reasonably possible. The school day at LHS begins at 8:20 a.m. and ends at 3:35 p.m. Tardies are defined as arriving within the first 20 minutes of a class start time. Arriving after 21 minutes is an absence.
Your student is expected to be at school each and every day to comply with the state law for attendance. As their parent or legal guardian, you are required to comply with the law as well. Failure to follow TEA Attendance guidelines may result in legal action for the student and/or parent. Please note that not all reasons for an absence or tardy are allowed by the TEA and will not be excused by LHS. Excused absences include the following with valid documentation, but not limited to:
- Religious holy days
- Required court appearances
- Activities related to obtaining United States citizenship
- Up to two (2) days related to visiting a college or university
- Documented health-care appointments
Examples of Unexcused absences include the following, but are not limited to:
- Personal business
- Hair or Nail appointments
- Senior picture appointments (they should be scheduled during the summer)
- Translating for a parent at a doctor’s appointment (unless the student’s name is on the doctor excuse form filled out by the doctor’s office and signed by them)
- Taking a sibling to school
- Missing the bus
- Taking a relative or parent to the airport
- Job Interviews
Please note that, unless the absence is for a statutorily allowed reason under compulsory attendance laws, the district and LHS are not required to excuse any absence.
- When your student is absent, you are required to notify their Attendance Clerk by phone or email on the morning of the absence. You should also send a parent note the next day with your student so they may get an Admit to class from their Attendance Clerk. If they went to a health care professional appointment, court appearance, PO required meeting, Immigration appointment, College visit, etc. they need to provide valid documentation provided by said entity. Please note you are required to provide documentation for any and all absences within three (3) days of any absence. Failure to do so will result in zeros (0) for all assignments collected for the day
- A student absent for more than four (4) consecutive days because of a personal illness must bring a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition. No documentation will automatically result in unexcused absences and will be considered in violation of compulsory attendance laws.
LOSS OF CREDIT
- To receive credit in a class, a student must attend at least ninety (90) percent of the school days a class is offered. A student attending at lease seventy-five (75) percent but fewer than ninety (90) percent will lose credit for the class and will be required to make up “seat time” to regain credit. This will be before or after school, or during block lunch. Students will automatically lose credit after their fifth (5th) absence in a 9-week period. ALL ABSENCES, EXCUSED OR NOT EXCUSED WILL GO TOWARD LOSS OF CREDIT.
- Students arriving after 8:15 should immediately go to their Attendance Clerk and sign in. Students signing in with a note should present it to their Attendance Clerk for an admit to class. Students without a note will receive an Unexcused admit to class or Tardy Lunch Detention if they arrive within the first 20 minutes of the beginning of a class period. Students receiving a Lunch Detention are required to serve it by the following day during A Block lunch.
- Students needing to leave campus before 3:30 are required to present a parent note stating the reason for leaving early with a current parent phone number to their Attendance Clerk and sign out. They will be given an Off-Campus Pass that they will then present to the Main Office and sign out again. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in disciplinary action.
- Parents coming into LHS to pick up their student during the school day are required to show a valid id to the Main Office and state the reason for leaving early. Please be aware that it could take up to 20 minutes to locate your student, send them to their Attendance Clerk and then to the Main Office, especially during passing period, in a PE or Athletic class, or lunch time. So, please plan accordingly. It is recommended that you send a note with your student at the beginning of the school day. You may call into your Attendance Clerk to speed up the process should an emergency arise after the school day has started. Again, failure to adhere to this policy will result in disciplinary action. The TEA requires a student signature when arriving late or leaving early.
NURSE AND BECOMING ILL AT SCHOOL
- If your student becomes ill during the school day, they should obtain a Nurse pass from their teacher and go immediately to the School Nurse. The School Nurse will evaluate them and contact the parent/guardian to discuss options. They should not call or text a parent or guardian to come pick them up. Failure to follow this LISD policy will result in an unexcused absence.
REQUESTING HOMEWORK WHEN OUT
- A parent may request homework assignments on the 3rd consecutive day the student is absent. Most assignments are available on a daily basis on the teacher’s web site. Please allow twenty-four (24) hours for assignments to be collected by the Main Office. It is recommended you call before coming in to pick up the work. You should also turn in documentation at this time for your student’s absence.
- High School perfect attendance is defined as present every period of every day. LHS is on the block schedule and offers 4 classes each day and attendance is taken every class period. Students who are absent for religious holy days or medical appointments (with valid documentation) cannot be denied perfect attendance if the student has made up all the missed school work.
Unexcused late arrivals to school now impact perfect attendance. A perfect attendance award can only be earned if a student is present every period of every day with no unexcused late arrivals to school.
Excused late arrivals to school and tardies during the school day will NOT impact perfect attendance.
The State Attorney General has ruled that a child who is absent for religious holy days or medical appointments cannot be denied a perfect attendance award if the child has made up all work missed during the absences. Medical absences must comply with the TEA attendance guidelines and the parent must provide the required documentation within 3 days of the absence. Additionally, other funded exemptions to compulsory attendance under TEC 25.087 will not impact perfect attendance.
PLANNED ABSENCE REQUEST
- A student may be granted five (5) days (non-consecutive/consecutive) per school year for an obligation not addressed in the COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE section above. The student should go to their Attendance Clerk and request a “Pre-Approved Trip Form”. This must be filled out completely, returned to their Attendance Clerk, and approved prior to the absence(s). These absences will count towards Loss of Credit as stated above. Absences will not be granted during state mandated assessments.
Pre-Approved Absence Form
There are no changes to the parent note guideline (eight absences excused by parent notes for the school year). The Pre-Approved Absence form has been updated to align with the parent note guideline.
VOE-Verification of Enrollment and Attendance
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires a VOE for any student applying for an instruction permit and /or a license under the age of 18. These are issued at LHS by the student’s Attendance Clerk. To be eligible for a VOE the student must be enrolled at LHS and be in compliance with the TEA “90% Rule”. If a student has missed more than 10% of the regular school days and is at “Loss of Credit” they must make up all seat time, have the credits restored and demonstrate good attendance (be in compliance with the 90% rule) for 4 weeks after making up all seat time before a VOE will be issued. Students at Loss of Credit the final 9 weeks of school will be required to wait until the new school year and demonstrate 4 weeks of good attendance before being eligible for a VOE. Summer school does not count as make up time.