Attendance Age Requirements
All children between the ages of five (5) years on or before September 1, and twenty-one (21) years on or before September 1, shall be entitled to attend school free of charge in the district in which they reside.
Pre-School Attendance Age (4 Year Old Program)
Children who have reached the age of four (4) years on or before September 1 and who have not attended a public school or kindergarten, shall be entitled to attend early childhood programs at any public school in the state where such programs are offered. Four-year-old children are not required to attend an early childhood education program.
Kindergarten Attendance Age
Children who have reached the age of five (5) years on or before September 1 of the school year may be admitted to kindergarten classes approved by the State Board of Education.
First Grade Attendance Age
Children who have reached the age of six (6) years on or before September 1 of the school year may be admitted to first-grade classes approved by the State Board of Education.
An official birth certificate or other proof of birth is required as proof of age at the time of enrollment in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, or if not previously verified, in first grade. An up-to-date immunization record is also required at the time of enrollment.
The maximum age is set by Oklahoma School Law. Termination of school attendance before graduation from high school or before reaching the age at which attendance is not compulsory may be permitted by mutual consent of the superintendent, principal, parents or guardian, and in some cases, the county judge. (70-1-114)
Enrollment of Military Children
Students shall be allowed to continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving district commensurate with the grade level from the sending school, regardless of age. This could result in underage military children being enrolled in kindergarten and/or first grade. (See Board Policy FB-AB) [70-18-111: Underage pupils in kindergarten and first grade who have been in legal school attendance in a public or private school in another state or in a Department of Defense School for military dependents may be legally enrolled and attend an Oklahoma school.]
Students are subject to compulsory school attendance and truancy laws as required by the statutes of the State of Oklahoma and regulations of the state Board of Education.
School attendance officers may excuse absences for students who are absent because of accident or injury, death in the family, emergency situations, or other extenuating circumstances. Also, a student who is participating in a school-sponsored activity and has received the prior approval of the principal will receive an excused absence.
“Excused absences may be granted to a student by the school attendance officer upon receipt of a; certificate from a duly licensed and practicing physician for physical or mental disability; due to “an emergency and at the request of the parent, guardian, custodian or other person having control of the student; and at the written request of the parent, guardian or person having custody or control of the student for the purpose of observing religious holy days and for the days which the, student must travel to and from the site where the student will observe the holy days. The written request must be presented prior to the absence of the student.” (Reference: 70 O.S. §10-105)
An unexcused absence is defined to be any absence in which a student is absent from class without approval of the school attendance officer.
When are students considered truant and what is considered excessive absences?
Oklahoma Statute [70 O.S. § 1101 defines “child in need of supervision” and “deprived child” as one who, among other things, Being subject to compulsory school attendance, child is willfully and voluntarily absent from school for fifteen (15) or more days or parts of days within a semester or four (4) or more days or parts of days within a four-week period without a valid excuse, as defined by the local school boards.
The Board of Education designates all building principals and other specified certificated employees as attendance officers for Ardmore City Schools. It shall be the duty of each school and the District to maintain attendance records and provide attendance information to the District court and other appropriate authorities.
Attendance Requirement for Receiving Grades and/or Credits
- For grades PK-8: A student must be present 93% of the quarter
- For grades 9-12: A student must be present 93% of the semester.
Except for suspensions, school activity absences, religious holy days, and confirmed illnesses, all absences will be counted. [NOTE: if at any time “parent-confirmed” illnesses become excessive or suspicious, the superintendent or his/her designee may require a doctor’s note.]
Grades PK-8: If a student is absent more than 7% of the quarter (3 absences), an “F” will be recorded if that was the grade earned; if the student would have earned a passing grade, an “NC” will be recorded. Note: PK students are also required to adhere to attendance requirements. In case of extenuating circumstances, the principal or designee will make the final decision.
Grades 9-12: If a student is absent more than 7% of the semester (6 absences), an “F” will be recorded if that was the grade earned; if the student would have earned a passing grade, an “NC” will be recorded. In case of extenuating circumstances, the principal or designee will make the final decision.
Responsibilities of students and their parent, guardian, custodian or person having control of a child concerning attendance:
- Each child who has reached the age of five (5) years or is under the age of eighteen (18) years and who has not finished four (4) years of high school work must be enrolled.
- In the event of a student’s absence, the absence will be considered to be accruing toward truancy as defined in Oklahoma Statutes. It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to notify the school when a student is absent.
- The school administration neither encourages nor condones students missing school for family vacations. When this occurs, the student’s absence will be recorded as a documented unexcused absence, as it is not within the guidelines of what is acceptable for an “excused” absence.
When a parent/guardian continues with the family vacation during the school year, the following procedures must be followed:
- The parent(s) will contact the attendance officer in advance.
- The parent(s) and the attendance officer will discuss the duration of the absence, the procedure for students to follow for completion of their work, and the date such work is due to the teacher(s). (The attendance officer will share this information with the teacher(s) involved. However, the teacher(s) will not be obligated to initiate arrangements with the student.)
- The student will be held responsible for making specific arrangements with the teacher(s) for assignments.
Parents are encouraged to schedule student appointments after the school day or when school is not in session. A school calendar is available on the website and in the student handbook to assist with scheduling of appointments that don’t conflict with school days. Parents should consult with their school counselor regarding chronically ill students.
a) Each student is responsible for assigned work missed during any absence.
b) Classwork missed due to an absence may be made up for credit.
In grades K-8, students will make up assignments missed during any absence.
Excessive Unexcused Absences
Oklahoma Law states that a student is truant if they have 4 or more days or parts of days within a four-week period without a valid excuse OR 15 or more days or parts of days within a semester. Prior to a student becoming truant, Ardmore City Schools will initiate intervention as follows:
Once a student has three (3) unexcused absences within four consecutive weeks, a behavior management specialist and/or attendance clerk, along with the school principal, will initiate the following process and document each step thoroughly in the student management system.
1) Principal (or his/her designee) makes contact with a parent by phone and mails letter to parent discussing the number of unexcused absences, time frame, and request for meeting to address the issue before it gets to the point of truancy. [Principal or his/her designee and/or behavior management specialist will document the outcome of the phone call into the student management system. If no phone contact can be made, please consider a home visit by a behavior management specialist.
2) Meeting with parent, principal (or his/her designee), behavior management specialist, and if needed, counselor to discuss services available to remedy attendance situation. The behavior management specialist establishes a plan for improved attendance through an ACS Attendance Contract. Principal and/or behavior management specialists document services and interventions offered, along with parent response/consent into the student management system.
3) If the family is non-compliant and attendance issues persist, staff members continue to make contact to support intervention, documenting each attempt into the student management system, until the law has been violated [4 unexcused absences within a consecutive four week period or 15 in a semester). At this point, a referral is made to the district attorney’s office for truancy by the school principal or the behavior management specialist.
Referral to District Attorney for Truancy
Referral is to be initiated by the school principal or a behavior management specialist upon information and documentation provided by the school attendance clerk.
All documentation will be gathered by the attendance clerk, behavior management specialist, principal, and teacher. Documentation will include but not be limited to:
- Principal letter to the parent regarding the number of absences and requesting a meeting to establish a plan of correction
- Attendance reports
- Information from the student management system
- Phone logs related to student’s absences
- Any police reports
- Attendance contract, if present
- Counselor’s report (school and private, if applicable)
- Any other supporting documentation pertaining to the case
The letter to the district attorney will be generated and signed by the principal. All supporting documentation will be included with the letter and sent to the district attorney’s office. Narrative information will be entered into the student management system that referral has been sent to the district attorney’s office.
The school principal [or designee] will notify the superintendent’s secretary and the district homeless liaison of the referral via email, including a copy of the letter to the DA in the interoffice mail.
District Attorney’s office will be addressing truancy once a month on a regular basis. The behavior management specialist, district homeless liaison, and principal will follow up with the district attorney’s office, as needed, to ensure the case is being worked.
All district personnel will cooperate with any requests made by the district attorney’s office pertaining to the truancy case.