Why Attendance Matters:
- Academic Success: Regular attendance is often aligned with academic success. Attending classes allows students to stay engaged with the curriculum, participate in discussions, and benefit from direct instruction. Missing classes can result in gaps in knowledge and understanding.
- Skill Development: Students are provided hands-on training and practical skills development. Consistent attendance ensures that students have the opportunity to practice and refine their technical skills, which is crucial for success in vocational or technical fields.
- Professionalism: Regular attendance is a fundamental aspect of professionalism. In the workforce, employers value employees who are reliable and punctual. Developing good attendance habits during education helps students build a strong work ethic and prepares them for the expectations of the professional world.
- Hands-On Learning Opportunities: Central Westmoreland provides practical, hands-on learning experiences. Attendance ensures that students have access to laboratories, workshops, and other facilities where they can apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context.
Regular attendance also prepares students for the expectations of the workforce and helps them develop a strong work ethic.
What is Truant and Habitually Truant?
Definition of “truant.”
The new law defines “truant” as “having three (3) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year by a child subject to [the] compulsory school attendance [law].”
Definition of “habitually truant.”
The new law defines “habitually truant” as “having six (6) or more school days of unexcused absences during the current school year by a child subject to [the] compulsory school attendance [law].”
Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance.
The effects of lost school days build up one absence at a time on individual students. Penalties for students who miss school may unintentionally worsen the situation. The disciplinary response to absenteeism too often includes loss of course credits, detention, and suspension.
Any absence, whether excused or not, denies students the opportunity to learn in accordance with the school’s instructional program, but students who miss school are sometimes further excluded from learning opportunities as a consequence of chronic absenteeism.
What can families do?
Help your child understand CWCTC is preparing them for life after graduation.
- Make great school attendance a priority for your child.
- Talk to your child about the importance of daily attendance in every class and how it helps their learning.
Help your child practice good daily habits like:
- finishing homework and placing it in his/her backpack
- laying out clothes and the backpack in the evening
- having a regular bedtime for a good night’s sleep
- leaving early enough in the morning to get to school on time.
- turn off electronic devices one hour before bedtime.
- Help your child build responsibility skills by reminding them to make up any missed school work after an absence.
Talk with your teen about classes.
- Ask about their school day.
- Learn about what they’re learning about in their CWCTC class.
- Discuss ways to increase interest in class content your teen does not find engaging.
- Stay on top of your teen’s academic progress and attendance by checking the CSIU site periodically.
- Ask your teen if he/she feels safe from bullies and other threats.
- Stay on top of your teen’s social contacts.
- Discuss peer pressure and social isolation.
- Feeling pressure from other teens or feeling lonely at school can lead to skipping or missing school.
- Encourage meaningful after school activities, including sports and clubs.
- If your teen is feeling unsafe, losing interest and/or missing school, get help from school staff (Teacher, Counselor, Nurse, etc.)
Heading Toward Graduation
- Talk about why a high school diploma is important to your teen’s future.
- Make it clear that missing school is unacceptable.
- Contact the school counselors and teachers if you think your teen may be falling behind academically, missing school more than 2 days per month, or seems to be losing interest in school to help your teen stay on track for graduation.
District Policy 204 (Truancy)
In order to graduate, the commonwealth has set forth attendance requirements for the completion of a school year. The CWCTC recognizes that regular school attendance is a critical factor in school success and has policies regarding compulsory school attendance (Policy number 204). Absences shall be treated as unlawful or unexcused until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence, to be submitted within three (3) days of the absence, otherwise the absence will remain unexcused.
3 Unexcused Days:
A letter will be set home after a student accumulates a total of 3 unexcused absences. This letter is a notice that your child is nearing the 5 day attendance improvement plan.
5 Unexcused Days:
After 5 unlawful or unexcused absences are accrued, a School Attendance Improvement Conference will be held at the CWCTC where a school improvement plan will be developed. If the school improvement plan is not followed, the student will be referred to both a school/community based attendance improvement program and the local magistrate.
10+ Unexcused Days:
After a student reaches 10 days of unexcused absences, a direct referral may be made with the local magistrate by the sending school and the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau (Act 138 of 2016). The legal truancy ramifications of the attendance policy are for all high school students under the age of 18 years of age as per Act 16 of 2019.
A maximum of ten (10) days of cumulative lawful absences verified by parental notification may be permitted during a school year. The Board considers the following conditions to constitute reasonable cause for absence from school:
- Illness and/or urgent reasons 5. Required Court Attendance
- Health care 6. Death in Family
- Quarantine 7. Educational Trips and Tours
- Recovery from an accident 8. Tutorial Work
All absences beyond ten (10) cumulative days shall require an excuse from a licensed physician.
Perfect Attendance Recognition:
Students are recognized for perfect attendance during each quarter, semester, and year. Students will receive a certificate, gift card, and their picture of social media.
Possibly a class party for the class with the highest attendance (however classes have to be classed together with similar attendance counts or else it isn’t fair). This can also motivate students to become more eager to attend class. Friendly, interclass competitions also increase feelings of team and support as classmates are accountable for one another. Some other ideas include gas cards, grocery cards, food baskets (themed for ex. Movie basket, junk food basket, mini cereals themed) one student suggested $5 coupons for Snack Shack which is being looked into.
Parents can view their child’s attendance on the Parent Portal by logging into CSIU. Click here for directions.
AM and PM students are to submit an excuse to their CWCTC instructor when absent from school. An excuse must be submitted to BOTH the sending school and the CWCTC. Excuses must be submitted to CWCTC within 3 days of the absence. A CWCTC excuse form can be found here.
Parents can also email excuses to email@example.com.
A parent/guardian absence note should include (1) the date of the student absence(s), (2) the reason for the student absence, and (3) the signature of the parent/guardian. The parent/guardian signature must be the same as the parent/guardian name on the student’s emergency information.