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New State Attendance Laws Take Effect In 2017-2018
New Attendance Law Infographic
Dear Parent/Guardian:

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.


To help ensure that students attend school regularly, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has issued a new truancy law--PS 13-1327—the Compulsory Attendance and School Attendance Improvement Plan. This new law is a cross-agency collaboration with the Department of Human Services and the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, and aligns state agency efforts to provide comprehensive guidelines for schools, families and communities. The mandate differs from how the Bethel Park School District handled truancy in the past and goes into effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 School Year. This new law is addressed in Bethel Park Policy # 204, which can be found online at: http://www.bpsd.org/Downloads/204%20Attendance12.pdf.

We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.

Research shows:

• Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
• By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.
• By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.
Absences can add up quickly. When your child is absent an excuse must be turned in within 3 days of the absence.

Clearly going to school regularly matters!

We don’t want your child to fall behind in school and get discouraged. Please ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time. Here are a few practical tips to help support regular attendance:

• Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
• Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
• Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick.
• Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
• Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
• Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.

Please click on the links below to view flow charts created for each level, which further defines our attendance process as we comply with this mandate.

Please contact your child’s principal with any questions.

Sincerely,

The Bethel Park School District

Attachments Available To Download:
Unexcused Absences--Grades 7-12
Unexcused Absences--Grades K-6