Attendance & Absences

  • Attendance at School

    Regular school attendance is essential for students to maximize their learning opportunities. Absences from class may result in serious disruption in the mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to progress to the next grade. It is crucial that students and parents 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 must be present for at least 90% of the time a class is offered.  Students who don’t meet this requirement, regardless of the reason for the absence, will lose credit in the class.  Completion of a plan determined by the campus principal or attendance committee will be required to restore credit and avoid retention.

    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.

    Texas law allows students to miss school and still be considered present for several specific events.  For more information about absences related to religious holy days, obtaining a driver's license, participating in a college visit, participating in career exploration, court appearances, and other allowable absences in the Texas Education Code, please see the LISD Student Handbook.

    What steps do I take if my child is absent?

    Communication with the school each time your child is absent is critical or the absence may be unexcused. Unexcused absences are considered truancy.  The grade for makeup work after an unexcused absence will be a zero. [See Board Policy EIA Local]. Contact your child’s attendance clerk to report an 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 provider 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.


    The district will excuse up to 10 full or partial days during the school year. Each unexcused absence will reduce the number of absences that may be excused by parent notes. Any additional absences beyond the allowable parent notes will require a note from a health care provider or documentation of an absence exempt from compulsory attendance, in order to be excused.


Downing Attendance Policy

  • Checking Absences 

    If you receive a notice that your student was counted absent for one or more periods, please log into your Skyward account and view your student's attendance to determine what teacher counted them absent.  If your child feels like they were counted absent in error, please tell them to talk to the teacher who counted them absent, and have the student and teacher determine if the absence is incorrect or correct.  Any changes to attendance must come from the teacher to the attendance office, since the teacher and student are usually the only individuals who know the circumstances of the absence.

    If you want to know if a parent or doctor note was received, please log into your Skyward account for your student and look at their attendance.  It will show if an absence is excused, which will confirm that the note was received.

    Absence Notes

    If your student is absent at any time during the day, he or she will need to bring back a note in order to excuse the absence. Students who go to the doctor must bring back a note from the doctor with the date and time on it. Parent notes must be signed and dated. These must be received within 3 days of the absence. Email with the note attached is the preferred way to receive communication.

    Limit on Parent Notes

    The district will accept parent notes to excuse an illness or personal absence for no more than 10 full or partial day absences during the school year.No more than 6 of these absences may occur in a semester. 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.


    The following are exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirements and will not be counted as absences with proper documentation

    • Religious holy days 
    • Required court appearances
    • Activities related to obtaining United States citizenship
    • Documented health-care appointments or recognized services for the student or a child of the student – the student must have attended school at some point during the day in order to not be counted absent – a note from the health-care provider must be submitted upon the student’s arrival or return to campus
    • For students in the conservatorship (custody) of the state,
      • Mental health or therapy appointments; or
      • Court-ordered family visitations or any other court-ordered activity provided it is not practicable to schedule the student’s participation in the activity outside of school hours 

    Unexcused Absences

    If a student does not bring a note back for any absence or the parent note limit has already been met, that absence will be unexcused. Per district policy, if an absence is unexcused, the student will earn a zero for any assignments or assessments missed. 


    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. 

    Questions regarding the absence policy or a student’s absence may be directed to Angela Borisch Staple, Attendance/Registrar in the school office.