Regular school attendance is imperative if scholastic progress is to be made. The responsibility to ensure students adhere to established attendance policies is a shared responsibility between home and school. All parents/guardians are duty bound and required by law to see that their children are present every day during the school year except for the few legal exceptions cited below.
If your child will be absent, please email the attendance office and include your child's full name and grade in the subject line as well as a reason for your child's absence citing one of the approved reasons. Email is best for our attendance staff. If you don’t have access to email or need a last minute early dismissal, then please call.
email by 9:30am
Enfield (215) 233-6006
Erdenheim (215) 233-6008
email by 8:30am
Middle School (215) 233-6070
High School (215) 233-6030 option 1
If you choose to call instead of email, you must follow up with an email or note within 3 school days with an approved reason for the absence to be excused.
For more information and resources, visit the Attendance Page on our district website, www.sdst.org under the Resources Page.
Legal (Excused) Absences
Pennsylvania Compulsory School Attendance Law (Section 1333) requires daily attendance and permits absence only for urgent reasons approved by the School Board based on Pennsylvania School Code. A student absence is considered excused when the student is prevented from attendance for mental, physical, or other urgent reasons such as:
- Illness or Recovery from an accident
- Medical or Dental Appointments
- Family Emergency
- Death in the Family
- Impassable Roads
- Pre-Approved Educational Travel including college visitations
- Court Appearance
- A student who is dismissed from school during school hours for health-related reasons by a certified school nurse, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or a school administrator or designee employed by the District.
- Other principal pre-approved conditions including, but not limited to, religious holidays or instruction, tutoring, or extra-curricular activities requiring absence from school.
Note: Absences exceeding five (5) days will require a doctor’s note to be classified as legal absences.
Illegal (Truant) Absences
- All absences are considered unexcused until the District receives an email or written note within three (3) school days of the return to school documenting a valid reason for the absence, as detailed above.
- Submission of a written excuse note or email to the main office does not mean the absence is excused.
- If written verification of the reason for absence is not received within three (3) days of the return to school, the absence will automatically be recorded as truant.
- Reasons for absence of a doubtful nature, including but not limited to an excessive number of absences in one category of absence, may be subject to administrative review.
- Truant absences may result in contact from the school social workers or administrative team to address improving attendance. If attendance does not improve, School Districts are mandated by Act 138 to begin truancy procedures which can include a School Attendance Improvement Plan (SAIP) as well as contact with the Office of Children and Youth and/or District Court per Truancy Law (see below).
Students’ who arrive late to school cause a major disruption to the educational process. Any student with unexcused lateness to school four (4) or more times during a single marking period shall be assigned consequences in accordance with the code of conduct. The following are the only reasons for which student lateness is marked excused:
- Illness of the student
- Extreme emergency
- Doctor or dentist appointment (note required)
We discourage family vacations when school is in session. The Educational Trip Pre-Approval Formshould be completed and emailed to email@example.com for any requests for educational travel (not vacations) to be pre-approved for possible excuse from school. This form is only required for families who are requesting their absence from school be excused for educational purposes. Each request is reviewed with building administrators with consideration for the developmental level of the student and the educational connections. An educational trip might include the following:
- Attendance at a seminar, conference, or training
- Trip designed to include a variety of cultural or experiential museums, historical sites, or educational experiences
- Trips required for participation in a club, activity, sport, or event which may be sponsored by a school or a community group
If you are taking a vacation, please email the attendance email address in your child's building and while the absence will be unexcused, we will make a notation of family vacation in our records.
We also know sickness happens and emergencies come up. Here are a few guidelines to ask yourself when wondering if your child should stay home from school for illness:
If you find yourself engaged in a battle over “too sick for school” with your child, please use our student services. Each of our schools has a nurse every day who can assess your child throughout the day if they aren’t feeling great and don’t meet the criteria above to stay home. Try to normalize the morning nervousness or discomfort when your student is waking up and adjusting to the day. We ask a lot of our children from the time they wake up to the time they arrive at school. We know it’s hard! Encourage your child to try to make it to school, even if they ask to visit the nurse later on in the day. We also have social workers in every school who can help guide families through any conflicts over school attendance, in addition to helping families with many other support services.
In February 2017, all public school districts in Pennsylvania were notified that Act 138 of 2016 regarding changes to School Truancy had been signed into law. This includes the following definitions and mandates:
- The law defines truancy as 3 or more unexcused absences within a school year.
- Habitual truancy is defined as 6 or more unexcused absences within a school year.
In addition, the law mandates a process school districts must follow for reporting truancy:
- Notifying parents/guardians in writing within 10 school days of the child’s third (3rd) unexcused absence. The district must indicate that the child
has been truant and include a description of the consequences if the child becomes habitually truant. The district may offer an attendance improvement plan meeting up and including the 3rd unexcused absence. If the child accrues additional absences, an attendance improvement meeting must be held.
- If a child under 15 years of age becomes habitually truant, the school is required to refer the child to a school or community-based attendance improvement program or the county Children and Youth agency. In addition, a citation may be filed against a parent of a habitually truant child in magisterial district court.
- If a child is over 15 years of age and becomes habitually truant, the school is required to refer the student to a school or community-based attendance improvement program or file a citation against the student or parent in magisterial district court.
- In addition, this law provides local judges with considerable discretion to provide appropriate penalties in individual cases which may include
increased fines and/or suspension of a student’s driving license, as examples.
The goal is to improve school attendance for all our students and deter truancy through a comprehensive approach. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s attendance, please contact your child’s building principal or our social worker:
Enfield Erdenheim Middle School High School Joanne Adar
(215) 233-6080 x 4057
(215) 233-6085 x 5099
(215) 233-6070 x3995
(215) 233-6030 x2014