Magnolia ISD Focuses on Student Attendance
Magnolia ISD will place a high priority on student attendance during the school year due to changes in the state law regarding school attendance and truancy. The District certainly has room for improvement as the attendance rate for the 2014-2015 school year was 95%. Student average daily attendance at the 10:00 a.m. attendance check is one way in which school districts receive funds from the state. MISD lost well over $1 million of state funding during the 2014-2015 school year due to student absenteeism. In addition, the new state accountability system includes student attendance in determining campus level ratings and distinctions.
MISD realizes that students get sick and do need to stay at home in these situations. However, there are situations where students are kept out of school to go on a family trip, go shopping, or celebrate a birthday. When students do miss school, the District requires them to bring a parent note documenting the absence. All notes should be submitted to the office upon the student returning to school. Campus administration determines whether or not an absence is excused or unexcused.
State law requires students to be in attendance 90 percent of the days school is in session in order to receive credit in classes. This equates to 18 absences in a school year or 9 absences per semester. Students who are in violation of this state law are required to makeup time outside of the regular school day either after school or on Saturdays. The campus principal or campus attendance committee will evaluate all absences on a case by case basis in determining how to handle the 90 percent rule.
House bill 2398 has led school districts to restructure and change some procedures. The district has two truancy officers - Sidney Ollison and Irma Dunmire who will be serving the students and parents in the District. Schools are now required to hold truancy prevention meetings with students and parents after students have three undocumented absences. If students are absent from school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, the student’s parent is subject to prosecution and the student is subject to a referral to truancy court for truant conduct. It is imperative that schools receive notes from parents when students are not in school to avoid the commencement of truancy prevention measures. Please remember that students who miss school to attend an appointment with a health-care professional will be counted PRESENT if the student attends school prior to or after the appointment and the school receives written documentation from the health-care professional. MISD believes that many times the schools do not receive this documentation and lose out on state funding.
MISD works with families as partners and understands that there can be extenuating circumstances. However, MISD really wants students to be at school as there is a strong positive correlation between coming to school and receiving a solid education. MISD looks forward to a great 2015-2016 school year and appreciates parental support as the District strives to improve student attendance.