School attendance sets the foundation for academic success. Every Pre-K through 12 student should feel welcome and want to be in attendance daily. District and school staff, families, students, and the community have roles in daily attendance and prevention of chronic absenteeism. There is strong evidence of a direct relationship between good attendance and student achievement. Parents should stress to their children the importance of attending school regularly and make every effort to get children to school daily. We understand that a multitude of factors may affect your child’s school attendance. Some of the most common factors impacting school attendance include health, transportation, and personal stress. Please contact the school to discuss any barriers to attendance as soon as concerns arise. One of the school’s roles is to problem-solve with you for the purpose of preventing major attendance problems.
A student must attend school for at least half of the day to be counted present. This means that very late arrivals or early dismissals may result in your student being counted as absent even if they were present for part of the day. Parents of secondary students are encouraged to monitor their students’ attendance using PowerSchool. Please contact school staff if you note any discrepancies in your student’s attendance record.
In North Carolina, the attendance law states that children must be enrolled in school between ages 7 and 16. Beginning in kindergarten, if any enrolled student under the age of 17 has 10 or more unexcused absences, and the parent /guardian is not making a good faith effort to address attendance challenges, the parent/guardian may be prosecuted. Your student’s school wants to partner with you to address any attendance concerns. See CMS Board Policy S-ATT for local policy, and state statute N.C. G. S. – 115C-378 for state attendance laws.
A school representative will contact parents/guardians when their child accumulates 3, 6 and 10 unexcused absences. After 10 unexcused absences, the principal’s designee or attendance official will issue a 10-day letter stating that the student is in violation of the NC attendance law and parents may be referred for prosecution and the the Department of Social Services notified.
You may report any absence on your child’s school webpage.
The following absences are school initiated and principal approved:
- Field trip (school-initiated activity)
- Verified interview—College Day (high school juniors and seniors)
- Special programs (community program sanctioned by the school
- District or approved by the principal that is of educational value)
- Explorers (secondary schools)
- Internship (includes pages—secondary schools)
- Junior Achievement (secondary schools)
The absences listed below are considered excused once school personnel have received verification from the parent/guardian:
- Illness of student
- Death in the immediate family
- Approved educational opportunity (Form 5123.21, available at school)
- Doctor appointment
- Court or administrative proceedings
- Religious holiday (approved religious observances; must be approved in advance)
The absences listed below and all other absences not listed below are unexcused:
- Bad weather
- Missing the bus
- Car trouble
- Lack of heat, water or electricity
- Lack of clothing or shoes
It is important that parents/guardians report all student absences to the school, regardless of the reason. You may report any absence on your child’s school webpage by selecting the “Report and Absence” icon.
Missing Work Due to Absence
When a child returns to school following an absence, the student must assume the responsibility for contacting individual teachers immediately about making up any missed work. Arrangements must be made no later than five school days after the student returns to school. If the work is satisfactory, full credit should be given for the completed work.
Per the CMS homework policy, credit for late work shall be awarded according to the following guidelines when a student was absent:
If the student was not present in class on the due date because of an excused absence, full credit shall be given for the completed work;
If the student was not present in class on the due date because of an unexcused absence, the work may be given less credit.
Remote Learning Attendance
Additional consideration will be made in determining a student’s attendance if the school is operating in a remote learning environment. Attendance for students who are present for live, online instruction for 50% or more of the school day will be recorded as “present off-site” (1R).
Current legislation allows 1R only for students enrolled in a virtual school program.
- Completes daily lesson/ module(s) as assigned by teacher, and submits classwork within 1-day of assigned date
- Evidence of engagement with course content (module completion, posts to discussion boards, enrollment in 100% asynchronous courses, etc.)
- Two-way course content-related communication between student & teacher
- Absent for live online instruction but watches recording of instruction, assigned videos or reading selections, or other class assignments on same day
Note: Please be in touch with your child’s teacher or the school directly if you have any questions or concerns.
High School Guidelines for Attendance and Recovery
Absence Rule: High school students absent from eleven class periods will receive a grade of F for that particular course. This rule applies to all absences, whether excused or unexcused, in accordance with CMS Regulation S-ATT/R.
Recovery Program: In the event that a high school student is absent from eleven or more class periods, each school shall develop procedures for students to make up excessive class absences. Parents are encouraged to reach out to their student’s school when there is an extreme hardship that impacts the student’s attendance. Students may appeal the decision in this regard according to procedures established by the principal. The principal’s decision on the appeal is final.
Students are expected to be at school on time. Students tardy for such reasons as oversleeping, missing the bus or being transported late by private vehicle are not considered excused. In addition, students are expected to remain at school and be on time for classes the remainder of the day. High schools may use a lock-out program to allow teachers to manage student tardiness. Following this program, students who are tardy to class are refused admission to their regularly scheduled class and must go to a designated area to complete classwork or to do work assigned by the administration.Parents are encouraged to monitor PowerSchool for high school class period attendance and tardy information.
Truancy is a significant factor in academic failure. Research shows a high correlation between truancy, the school dropout rate and juvenile delinquency. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools expects all students to attend school regularly. To meet this expectation, CMS partners with multiple community organizations to provide truancy prevention and intervention services to targeted CMS schools.
Parents are encouraged to contact the school social worker or counselor to request a problem-solving team meeting if their student is refusing to attend school or skipping school.