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50J addresses student absences

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The school district is taking steps to address chronic absenteeism -- students who miss nine days a semester or 18 days in a school year.

School administrators will be taking a look at last year's attendance records to determine which students are affected by the newly-revised policy. Whether the absences are excused or unexcused, the student may be identified as "chronically absent."

The chronically absent students and their parents will then be required to sit down with school administrators to develop a plan to improve attendance. Support will be enlisted from the students' teachers.

The policy also outlines intermediary steps to be taken after four and six unexcused absences.

Assistant school superintendent Kurt Clay said the policy supports the school district's goal of preparing students for success in the workforce. In addition, academic success is closely tied to regular and punctual attendance. According to the policy, "Frequent absences may lead to poor academic work, lack of social development and possible academic failure. Regular attendance is of utmost importance for school interest, social adjustment and scholastic achievement. No single factor may interfere with a student's progress more quickly than frequent tardiness or absence."

Students who miss more than nine classes per semester may forfeit all credit for that class, regardless of their grade. Students may also be required to make up time outside of school hours or during in-school suspension.

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