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TASD changes attendance policy to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind

The following is a letter that will be sent to parents and guardians of students in the Tyrone Area School District, discussing accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The No Child Left Behind Act signed by President Bush on January 8, 2002 reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act marking one of the most significant and sweeping federal education policy reforms in a generation.
NCLB mandates that all states develop accountability requirements that determine whether a school or school district needs improvement. The reports provide data in the areas of reading and math proficiency, attendance and graduation rate.
The Adequate Yearly Progress, a state “report card”, for schools and districts states: A public school must have at least 95 percent participation rates in PSSA testing by content area at the school level and disaggregated group levels, evaluated separately; and attendance for elementary, middle school and high school must be at least at the 90 percent rate for each school year in order to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.
In order to address the requirement of No Child Left Behind, beginning this school year, the middle school and high school have made the following changes in the attendance policy:
• When a student has missed more than 10 days of school with a parent excuse, a doctor’s excuse will be required for subsequent absences;
• If the student accumulates three illegal absences, a truancy conference will be scheduled with the student, parent, principal, and school social worker;
• The student and parent will be asked to sign a truancy acknowledgment form and be given a copy of the Pennsylvania Compulsory Attendance Law;
• The student and parents will be given a list of community service providers in the event they choose to seek assistance to solve the truancy problem;
• If the truancy problem persists beyond three illegal days, a truancy citation will be filed with the District Magistrate and a court hearing will follow possibly resulting in a truancy fine;
• As soon as the school issues a referral to the District Magistrate, a second referral will be submitted to Children and Youth Services;
• Continuing illegal absences will result in ongoing fines against either the parent or student and
• If the District Magistrate determines that the student is at fault, the result may be suspension of driving privileges for an unspecified period of time in addition to a monetary fine plus court cost. However, if the parent is found to be at fault, a monetary fine plus court cost will be levied against the parent.
Exclusive of compulsory education law, the Tyrone Area School District has its own minimal attendance requirements.
The Tyrone Area School District administration appreciates the help and support in assuring that children attend school on a daily basis, which is in fact, a matter of state compulsory education law.