Absenteeism: The Parent/Guardian of a student who missed school must, within 3 school days, submit an absence excuse. Acceptable forms of absence excuses are written excuses, online excuses, emails, and faxes. A written or typed excuse or fax must be signed by the student’s parent/guardian or physician. The email must come from the parent/guardian’s email account. The online excuse must have an electronic signature of the parent/guardian.
Click here for the CMS Online Absentee Form
Absentee Hotline: 610-264-4341 #1. The hotline is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS
All students enrolled in Catasauqua Middle School must maintain residence within the boundaries of the Catasauqua Area School District. In the event that a student would move within the Catasauqua Area School District during the school year, a change of residence form MUST be filled out through the District Administration Office.
Regular attendance is essential to success in school. A good attendance record is necessary to ensure the continuity of the educational process, promotion, personal growth, and individual development. Excessive absenteeism generally results in decreased academic achievement.
- Once a student exceeds five (5) days of absence, written notification may be made to remind parents of the importance of regular school attendance.
- As per state regulations, when ten (10) absences have accumulated, the parents/guardians will be notified that a physician’s excuse, indicating that your child was seen by a doctor or medical practitioner, will be required for each absence thereafter or the absence will be coded as unlawful/illegal. Please note that “self-reported” doctor’s notes will not be accepted.
- Special consideration will be given to students who are seriously ill for an extended period of time and are unable to attend school. A student may be placed on homebound instruction if a doctor requests it and the parent notifies the school guidance counselor and obtains the superintendent’s approval.
EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
The compulsory attendance law requires a child of compulsory school age to be in attendance at school unless absent for an approved reason and charges the parent of the child with the responsibility for such attendance. Compulsory school age refers to the period of a child’s life from the time the child enters school as a beginner, which shall be no later than at the age of eight (8) years, until the age of seventeen (17) or until graduation from a regularly accredited senior high school, whichever occurs first.
Absences are divided into two categories, excused and unexcused.
The Department of Education states that an absence shall be excused for the following reasons: illness or quarantine, religious holidays, death in the family, impassable roads, inclement weather, required court attendance, or exceptionally urgent reasons (not including work). The following are excused if approved in advance by the principal or designee: school sponsored trips, family educational trips, and college visits. Students will be allowed two (2) excused days in November for hunting season if approved in advance by the principal. A student who has been absent will have the same number of days available in which to complete the work and tests that were missed as the number of school days for which he/she was absent. It is the responsibility of the student and his/her parents to inquire from the student’s teachers about the work that must be completed and to complete the work within the prescribed period of time. All schoolwork requiring the assistance of a teacher will be made up during the school day as the schedule permits. According to Pennsylvania School Code, Chapter #2, Section 13-1330, the building principal can excuse any child for matters of attendance during temporary periods.
Parents/guardians of students who are not attending school due to illness are asked to notify the school by one of two ways. Parents/guardians may call the school at
(610) 264-4341, select Option 1, before 8:00 a.m. to report their child’s absence. Please note, if choosing this method, we still require an absence excuse to be sent in with the student upon their return back to school. CMS has implemented an online attendance excuse form. Once this form is submitted, it will be sent directly to the main office. No additional excuses are needed unless further documentation would be requested by an administrator. Parent/guardians who do not report their child off from school will receive a call at home to verify the absence.
An unexcused absence is considered to be an unlawful absence if the student is within the compulsory attendance age. Failure to submit an acceptable excuse within three (3) school days may result in the absence turning into an unexcused/unlawful absence. Additionally, after the accumulation of 10 days of absences from school, the student will be required to obtain a doctor’s excuse. Failure to obtain a doctor’s excuse after the accumulation of ten (10) absences will result in an unexcused/unlawful absence.
Truant is defined as a child subject to compulsory school laws having three (3) or more school days of unexcused/unlawful absences during the current school year. Upon the accumulation of three (3) unexcused/unlawful absences, the school will issue a truant notice to the student’s parent/guardian. Upon the third accumulated unexcused/unlawful absence the school will implement a school-based or community based attendance improvement program/plan. The plan may include both the student and parent/guardian participation.
Habitually truant is defined as a child subject to compulsory school laws having six (6) or more school days of unexcused/unlawful absences during the current school year. Therefore, a child is habitually truant once he or she accumulates six unexcused absences during the course of the school year. These absences do not need to run consecutively.
If a student is found to be habitually truant, and under the age of fifteen (15), the student will continue with the school-based or community-based attendance improvement program or refer student to the county children and youth agency (CYS) for services or possible disposition as a dependent child under the Juvenile Act. Additionally, the school may file a citation against the parent of a habitually truant child under fifteen (15) in a magisterial district court for violation of the Compulsory Attendance Provision of the Pennsylvania Public School Code.
A student who accumulates fifteen (15) days of unexcused/unlawful absence may be considered as failing to meet the requirements for successful participation in classes, promotion, and/or graduation, and, as such, may receive no credit for courses.
Acceptable forms of absence excuses are written excuses, online excuses, emails, and faxes. A written excuse or fax must be signed by the student’s parent/guardian. The email must come from the parent/guardian’s email account. Excuses must be received within three (3) days of the student’s return to school from an absence. When your child brings in their absence excuse he or she should give the excuse to their homeroom teacher or drop the excuse off to the main office. All excuses will be forwarded to our main office. Failure to submit a note within three (3) days will result in the student's absence(s) being recorded as unexcused and/or illegal. The student/absence could result in receiving no credit or make-up for assignments completed, submitted or due on the day of an unexcused and/or illegal absence. Students are responsible for any work missed during absences.
Regardless of the accumulated number of days of absence, an administrator may require a physician’s excuse for an absence, and parents are urged to obtain a doctor’s excuse for any absence if such a visit has been made. The school district has the authority to judge the legality of an excuse and to request further documentation for any day of absence. If your child has a chronic medical condition that may require absenteeism or tardiness, please contact the school nurse to discuss the appropriate documentation required to be on file.
TARDINESS TO SCHOOL
Students need to be in their homeroom by the designated starting time, 7:52 a.m. Any student not in their homeroom by 7:52 a.m. will be considered late to school. If you arrive late, report directly to the main office and a late pass will be given to you. Students who arrive to school between 7:52 a.m. - 11:06 a.m. are recorded as an excused or unexcused tardy. Students who arrive to school after 11:06 a.m. are recorded as having a half day of excused or unexcused absence.
Excuses received from a doctor, dentist, a parent/guardian (in relation to illness or a religious holiday), will be considered as excused tardiness to school. Acceptable forms of tardy excuses are written excuses, online excuses, emails, and faxes. Parents may access the online tardy excuse form located on the CMS website. All other tardies are unexcused. Any tardies in question may be reviewed by an administrator and further documentation may be required. Additionally, administration may require a physician’s note for chronic excused tardies.
Students will receive the following disciplinary action for unexcused tardies as indicated below:
5 unexcused tardy - 1 Detention, student meeting, & parent letter
10 unexcused tardy - 2 Detentions, Child Study Team referral, & parent contact
15 unexcused tardy - Saturday SAC & parent contact/meeting
16 + unexcused tardy - Consequences to be determined by administration
In addition, a student’s unexcused tardy minutes will be recorded. If the total unexcused tardy minutes is greater than the total minutes in a school day (388 minutes), the student will be charged with an unlawful absence. Although the accumulated number of tardies will remain, the disciplinary action(s), as indicated above, will be reset to zero upon completion of the first semester (marking periods 1 & 2).
It is the student’s responsibility to check with their classroom teachers to obtain any missed assignments or homework due to absences. The number of days for make-up work to be completed will be equal to the number of days of excused absence. If a student is absent two or more days, parents may request assignments by calling the attendance line before 8:00 a.m. We will make every effort to secure work by 3:00 p.m. Parents or another designated person may come to the main office between 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. with the student’s locker number, combination, and location to retrieve any needed books, supplies, and homework.
A student must have the teacher’s permission and a signed agenda or appropriate pass to leave a classroom.
Perfect attendance is defined as being present in every class period throughout the school year. PLEASE NOTE: Excused tardies and/or excused absences count against perfect attendance.
LATE TO CLASS
There is a two-minute passing time provided between classes. Students are expected to be in their next assigned class within that two-minute period. Students who are late to class without a valid/acceptable pass will be subject to teacher level disciplinary actions. Should the student’s violations become excessive, administration will be notified.
Cutting class is defined as the failure to report to an assigned location after ten (10) minutes. The consequences of cutting class are as follows:
1st offense - Detention(s)
2nd offense - 1 Saturday SAC, counselor contact
3rd offense - 1-3 Days ISS
Additional offenses - 4-10 days of OSS
Cutting school is defined as the act of staying out of school without parental/guardian permission or knowledge. Students who are under the age of 17 are subject to the compulsory school attendance law. Consequences for cutting school are as follows:
- Absences due to cutting school are unlawful
- Students will not be able to make up any assignments, work, or tests
- ISS assignments for each unlawful absence, parental notification, and possible court referral
- Notification of juvenile authorities in order to involve direct intervention by the probation office, juvenile court system and/or Children and Youth Services
Parents are urged to make appointments outside of school hours. If that is impossible, students are required to submit an appointment permit from their parents and hand it in to their homeroom teacher. These appointment permits will be forwarded to our main office. Several appointment permits will be provided to the student on the first day of school. Extra appointment permits can be obtained in the main office or on the Middle School website.
The appointment time will be noted on the absentee bulletin, and the teacher will give the student a pass to be excused from class to report to the main office. A parent/guardian or responsible adult must come to the main office to sign out his/her child after showing picture ID. The student must report to the main office before leaving and when returning from any appointment.
Students are requested to bring a note from the doctor/dentist that certifies that the student was treated at the appointed time.
Students who are attending a funeral must submit a note from the parent/guardian.
Students may be excused from school attendance to participate in non-school-sponsored educational trips. To be eligible under this section, the following procedure should be followed:
- The student’s parent/guardian must complete the Educational/Emergency Permit and the student must present it to each of his or her teachers for approval at least five (5) days before the trip. Once all teacher signatures have been secured, the student must submit the form to the Main office. These permits can be obtained in the main office or on our CMS website.
- In a given school year, the amount of time allowed for educational trips shall not exceed a total of five (5) days, consecutively or cumulatively. Additional days will be classified as unexcused and could be subject to legal proceedings prescribed by attendance regulations.
- Your child’s teachers and principal will review the permit; approval of the permit is based on the student’s academic records, attendance records, and teacher recommendations. *Please note that any educational trip request submitted during the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) testing dates will NOT be approved.
- Failure to get pre-approval for an educational trip may result in the absences for the trip being declared unexcused and, where appropriate, unlawful. In addition, any missed work will receive a grade of “0.”
- If pre-approval is given, the student should see his/her teachers before the trip to find out what work must be completed. The number of days for make-up work to be completed will be equal to the number of days of the trip. Any assigned work that is not completed will receive a grade of “0.”
- The student may also be required to provide the building principal with a written account describing what was learned during the educational trip. The written account must be at least one page in length. Failure to provide the written account within five (5) days of returning to school may result in the absence being declared unexcused or unlawful.
- In extraordinary circumstances, the superintendent has final authority to waive these provisions.