Intervention Services works closely with students, parents and schools to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn. Under state law, a student is considered Habitually Truant if they have reached the age of six by August 1 or is under the age of seventeen and have missed four or more unexcused days of school in a month or ten or more unexcused days in a school year.
Over recent years, the concept of chronic absence is gaining traction across the country. Chronic absence is defined as being absent, excused or unexcused, for ten percent or more of the school year. You can access more information and research about chronic absence and initiatives to improve school attendance at www.attendanceworks.org
Did you know…
- Excused and unexcused absences can both add up to too much time lost in the classroom.
- Students are at-risk academically if they miss ten percent of the school year, which equates to missing 18 days of school.
- Chronic absences affect the entire class, not just the student who is absent. If too many students miss school the teacher may have to repeat material so that they can catch up, which slows down the learning for the rest of the class.
- Early interventions can help students and families obtain the resources and support they need to overcome barriers and get back on track.
Prevention of Court Conference (PCC)
If a student does not improve attendance after being placed on a school based attendance contract and they meet the state definition of Habitually Truant by having at least four or more unexcused absences in a month or ten or more unexcused absences in a year, the school may submit a truancy referral to Intervention Services.
The truancy referral will begin the district level intervention of a Prevention of Court Conference. In most cases, this is a meeting that includes the student, parent/guardian, school administrator and the truancy case manager. During this meeting the school will present the school based contract and the attendance record that followed. They will additionally present the academic concerns that have resulted from the student’s absences. The truancy case manager will gather information from the student and parent/guardian in order to assess the root cause for lack of consistent school attendance as well as identify any barriers to improving attendance. A plan will be developed to best address the concerns brought forth in the conference. A district level attendance conference will additionally be put in place. As necessary, referrals to community agencies will be made and an Intervention Services Attendance Liaison will be assigned to the case.
When all resources have been exhausted and the student continues to be habitually truant, a petition may be filed with the 17th Judicial Truancy Court. Once in court, students and families will need to respond to the Magistrate/Judge in regard to the student’s absences from school.