Procedures and policies regarding student attendance

Mark Twain Middle School uses a computerized attendance system which records absences and tardies for each period of the school day.  In order to comply with compulsory (mandatory) attendance laws, we must keep accurate records of each child’s time spent in school. 

The attendance record of each child is considered a legal document which can be requested by the court system.  For this reason, Mark Twain Middle School works closely with teachers and parents to provide the most honest, accurate picture of a child’s attendance patterns.

Excused Absences

Excused absences are limited to the following:

  • Illness of the student
  • Death in the family
  • Medical or dental appointment
  • Observance of religious holidays
  • Suspensions (in most cases)
  • Absences pre-arranged with administration
  • Other reasons accepted by the principal

When a student is absent, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to call the attendance office that day to give the reason for the absence. 

Students who are seen on school grounds on the day of an excused absence will have their absence changed to unexcused.  If a student must be on school grounds on the day of an excused absence, the student should call the attendance office before coming to school and check in immediately upon arrival.

Pre-Arranged Absences (For three or more days)

The following absences should be pre-arranged with the grade level administrator via the attendance office:

  • Trips
  • Religious Holidays
  • Other extended absences not sponsored by FCPS

The student must bring a written request signed by parent/guardian, stating the date and reason for the absence, to the attendance officer, at least three days prior to the absence.  A pre-arranged absence form will be given to the student to secure signatures/homework assignments from all of his/her teachers.  The signed form must be returned to the office for approval/signature of the grade level administrator. Parents are encouraged to read the teachers’ comments.

Late Arrivals

Students arriving to school any time after 7:30 a.m. must report to the main office and check in through the attendance officer immediately upon arrival.  This includes break and lunch periods.  A parent may accompany the student to provide an explanation or the student may bring a signed note that includes a parent‘s daytime phone number.  Parents may also call the 24-hour attendance line, stating the student’s full name, reason for tardiness, and estimated time of arrival.  Students who do not check in at the main office will not be excused for classes missed.

The following examples are NOT acceptable excuses for student tardiness:

  • Car trouble
  • Missed bus
  • Excessive traffic
  • Pupil placement transportation problems
  • Oversleeping
  • Early Check-Out

Early Checkout

Students who must check out early due to doctor’s appointments, etc. should provide a note to the front office upon their arrival at school so that a pass may be issued by the attendance officer.  The note should state the student’s full name, reason for dismissal, time of dismissal, and a phone number where the parent/guardian can be reached during the day. This pass allows them to come to the main office at the appointed time. Your child will then be permitted to wait for you in the lobby with their belongings, thus avoiding delays resulting from having to locate the student. In order to minimize classroom disruptions, it is necessary for parents to plan ahead.

Any student leaving early must be signed out in the early dismissal log in the main office.  Please be prepared to show photo identification (every time) to our office staff.  No student is allowed to leave the school grounds without properly checking out.  This includes lunch periods and breaks.   Students may only leave with those persons designated by the registering parent signature on the emergency care card.  No one under the age of 18 may transport a child from the school.

Unexcused Absences and Class Cuts/Tardies

Absences and tardies will be addressed by individual interventions with progressive consequences for students.

Students are fully responsible for completing any missed assignments.  Teachers may assist the student and parent or guardian in identifying missed work, but are not obligated to provide make-up assignments.

Additional Attendance Information

How can absences impact learning? When is it best for your child to stay home or to attend school? FCPS has answers to these questions! Check out the FCPS Health Flyer, and there is a Spanish edition as well.