1. Excused Absences
Students must bring in a note after each day they are absent. This note must include the date absent, the reason for the absence, a phone number where the parent or guardian can be reached, and the parent or guardian's signature. Students will be given the opportunity to make up work for excused absences.
Excused absences may include:
- Illness of injury that prevents the student from attending school. The illness or injury must be verified by a health care provider, school nurse, or parent.
- A death in the immediate family (parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin) or other significant personal or family crisis
- Court appearances
- Medical or psychological tests during the school day. The parent must show evidence (such as a note from a health center) that the tests could not be scheduled after school.
- Religious holy days
- Other extraordinary situations approved by the school principal.
Important: Some parents think that any absence will be excused as long as the parent sends a note. This is not true.
2. Unexcused Absences
Here are a few examples of absences that are unexcused even if the parent sends a note:
- Repetitive and chronic absence due to illness or injury. In these cases, the parent must submit a letter from a health care provider verifying that the student was too sick or injured to go to school.
- Student needed to baby-sit
- Family vacation
- Extension of a religious or cultural holiday beyond the designated day or days.
Whenever possible, parents should check with the principal before allowing a child to miss school if they are not sure the absence will be excused. The school does not have to help a student make up work due to unexcused absences.
A student is tardy if she/he arrives at school late, without an unexcused reason.
4. Attendance Officer/Truancy Intervention Program (TIPS)
The Pittsfield Public Schools’ Attendance Officer and the TIPS Officer will make house and school visits regarding excessive absence, excessive tardiness, and truancy and will investigate and make recommendations in all school cases in juvenile court and in all cases of school offenders and truants. The attendance officers are empowered to pick up truant students in the community and bring them to school. Parents will be contacted and informed about follow-up and/or disciplinary action.
Parents' Legal Responsibilities for Ensuring Students' Attendance (M.G.L. c. 76 §2)
Parents or legal guardians are required to see that their children attend school regularly. Failure to do so may result in the Attendance Officer, the TIPS officer, or school personnel filing a 51A petition for a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) with the Department of Social Services or seeking juvenile court fines pursuant to M.G.L. 76 §2 or criminal charges pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119 §63.
A parent/guardian requesting an early dismissal for her/his child must submit to the principal or designee a note stating the reason, date and time of dismissal. The child must be picked up at the office and signed out of school by her/his parent/guardian. Dismissals during school hours must be kept to a minimum.
Important: Students are not dismissed between 2:40 - 3:15. Please plan accordingly.