Absentee Policy

Freedom Academy has strived since its inception to be and remain a highly family-focused school.  Through the years, as families have had events come up, we have worked to be supportive in order for families to attend special events.  However, in the last few years we have experienced some excesses that we feel are detrimental to the students academically.

We strive to provide a very generous calendar that allows for many extended vacations during the course of the year and not depend on summer months to regroup as a family.  While we remain family focused, we feel this supportive measure we have been giving has been taken advantage of.  With the implementation of new and more rigorous academic standards, what is taught in the classroom is can no longer be “gathered up” as homework, and replicating the value of instruction is nearly impossible.  The state requires children to be taught 180 days.  We are committed to teaching every days with integrated deep thought and hands on practice.  It is imperative that children attend each and every day in order to gain the depth of knowledge being taught.  For these reasons, the Freedom Academy Board, effective January 15, 2013, voted to count as unexcused any absence that is not due to illness, religious holiday, or death in the family.  In the event that an absence does not fall under one of these categories, work will not be gathered, quizzes and tests will no longer be retested, and zeros will be given for days missed. We believe it is in the best interest of the education of our students to require their attendance on all school days unless their absence truly falls under the excused category.  We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with this policy.

 

Excused Absences

If your child will not be attending school on any given day, the parent/guardian must notify the school prior to, or by 9:00 a.m. on the morning the absence. This will ensure that the students’ absences is documented as excused as long as it falls under the guidelines of an excused absence.  In the event that the school is not notified by 9:00 a.m. on the date of the absence, it will be deemed unexcused.

Acceptable reasons for an excused absence include: illness, family emergency, religious holiday or death in the family.  In an extreme circumstance for an absence that does not fall under any excused category, a parent may submit a letter of request for excuse stating the reason for the absence along with any documentation or proof of legitimacy of the absence to the Board for approval.  Board decision approval or denial will be final.

In the event of an excused absence, it is the responsibility of the student to ask for and make up any missed work and submit it to their teacher.  It is not the responsibility of the teacher to ask for missed work.  Please be certain to alert your child’s teacher to completed, overdue work to ensure proper credit for make-up work.  Please follow up with your child and their teacher to ensure make-up work has been turned in.  You may verify your child’s completed work in the Synergy grade book.

Students who have been granted an excused absence will have 24 hours for each excused absent day to turn in late work (i.e. If a student has 2 excused absence days, they will have 48 hours from the date of their return to complete the missed work).  If your child is going to be out for an extended period of time that is pre-planned, we encourage you to communicate the dates with your child’s teacher in order to collect assignments ahead of time to prevent your child from falling behind.  In the event that it is not pre-planned, parents may call the school to have teachers gather materials during the absence so that the student may begin working on them as soon as possible.

Pre-assigned projects such as book reports, diagram Boards, mobiles, science fair projects, etc., are not subject to the “extension due to absence” policy and must be submitted to the teacher prior to or on the due date given.  There is no exceptions to this policy.

Please bear in mind, with the implementation of more rigorous academic standards, gathering of work is a very minor part of a child’s learning day.  While it is important to make up the paper work missed, there is no way to recreate what is lost in a school day.  Every school day counts!

 

Unexcused Absences

If a parent or guardian does not call the office by 9:00 a.m. on the day of the absence to inform the school as to why their child is absent or if the school must contact the parent, the child’s absence will be considered unexcused and no credit will be given on homework or missed assignments.

The exception would be for long term assignments (i.e., book reports, projects with an extended timeline, etc.).  Provided these are turned in prior to the due date, credit would still be allowed for those assignments.

Absences due to behavioral issues, suspensions, etc., are considered unexcused, and credit for missed work, quizzes, tests, etc., will be given a zero as a grade.

All work missed for unexcused absences must still be completed and turned in; however, no credit will be given.  The inherent learning of the missed assignment is still of great importance.

 

Excessive Absences

Since regular attendance is essential to a student’s success at Freedom Academy, and numerous absences are also destructive to the student’s and the school’s morale, Freedom Academy reserves the right to enforce the following:

  • There can be no more than 10 missed (excused or unexcused) days during a semester.
  • No child may exceed 10% or greater absences:
  • Any child who is experiencing 10% or greater absences:
  • Will receive a letter alerting parents of the % of absences, and informing them of potential consequences.
  • May be required to repeat the current grade.
  • May be dismissed from Freedom Academy.
  • A student may be retained for excessive absences that affect his/her school academic progress. Exceptions may be made for health or personal reasons that can be documented by a physician, providing the student/parent works with the child to keep their academic progress current.
  • Freedom Academy reserves the right to remove or withdraw a student who has excessive absences.

 

According to Arizona State law, a child must be removed from the student roster after 10 consecutive days of unexcused absence.  If a situation arises that may result in an extended absence, please inform the school office.

Developing a habit of regular and punctual attendance will help a student throughout his or her educational experience.  Parents of a student who has 10% or more absences will be notified of continued and excessive absenteeism of their student by written letter.  The Principal may require a parent conference to discuss and remedy the problem.

 

Illness

 

One of the problems facing parents of school-age children occurs when a child complains of not feeling well on a school day.  The only place for a truly sick child is at home.  If your child displays any of the symptoms listed below, or has any of the infection or communicable diseases listed, please keep your child at home.

Cough, cold: If your child has a “mild cough” but otherwise feels well, he/she may go to school.  If he/she has a “heavy cold” with a deep or hacking cough, they should be kept home even if there isn’t a fever.  Coughing transmits airborne germs, thereby infecting others.

Sore throat: If your child has a sore throat but no other symptoms, he/she may go to school.  If there are white spots in the back of the throat or if the sore throat is accompanied by a fever, your child should be kept home.  If there is a throat culture done, your child should stay home until the results of the culture are made known.  A child with a positive culture should return to school only after he/she has been on antibiotics for 24 – 48 hours.

Fever: A fever is a sign that something is wrong.  No child with a temperature of 99.0 degrees or greater should be sent to school.  Your child may not return to school until his/her temperature has been normal for 24 hours, without the use of medication.

Stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea: If your child has a stomach ache that persists, or is severe enough to limit his/her activity, you should consult your doctor.  If your child is vomiting, he/she should be kept home until you are sure that food can be kept down.  If your child has diarrhea, he/she should be kept home.

Rash: A rash may be the first symptom of many contagious childhood illnesses (such as chicken pox, scarlet fever, impetigo and many viral diseases).  Do not send your child to school with a rash unless your doctor says it is safe to do so.

Head Lice: If your child gets head lice, he/she may return to school only after carefully following directions on specific shampoo for head lice (ex. RID, NIX or CLEAR). Check all other family members for lice and nits and treat if necessary.  Continue to check all family members daily for the next 2 weeks following treatment.  Upon returning, students must check in with the front office.  If a child is returned to school while still infected, the child will be removed and not allowed to return until they have been cleared with a doctor’s note.

If you find that your child has lice, please notify the school so that other students in the classroom can be checked.  A child who has been identified as having lice, or is suspected of having lice will be checked by school personnel.  Any child who has lice must be checked by school personnel before being allowed to return to class.

Chicken Pox: The signs and symptoms of chickenpox include: A red, itchy rash, initially resembling insect bites, on face, scalp, chest and back, small, liquid-filled blisters that break open and crust over, fever, abdominal pain or loss of appetite, mild headache, general feeling of unease and discomfort (malaise) or irritability, a dry cough, headache.

The chickenpox rash goes through these three phases: Raised pink or red bumps (papules), which break out in different spots over several days, fluid-filled blisters (vesicles), forming from the raised bumps over about one day before breaking, and leaking, crusts and scabs, which cover the broken blisters and take several more days to heal. New bumps continue to appear for several days. As a result, you may have all three stages of the rash — bumps, blisters, and scabbed lesions — at the same time on the second day of the rash. Once infected, you can spread the virus for up to 48 hours before the rash appears, and you remain contagious until all spots crust over. The disease is generally mild in healthy children. In severe cases, the rash can spread to cover the entire body, and lesions may form in the throat, eyes and mucous membranes of the urethra, anus and vagina. New spots continue to appear for several days.

Upon returning, students must check in with the office. If a child is returned to school while still infected, the child will be removed and not allowed to return until they have been cleared with a doctor’s note.

If you find that your child has chicken pox, please notify the school so that other students in the classroom can be checked.

 

Communicable Disease/Illness: School Attendance

For the well-being of all students, parents are expected to contact the school when their student has contracted a communicable disease or illness. This includes a lice infestation, impetigo and chicken pox, etc. Students who have been diagnosed by a physician to have a communicable disease/illness or who have been assessed by the school personnel to have symptoms that may indicate a communicable condition must be excluded from school and school activities until:

  • The physician releases the student to return or the period of contagion has been passed.
  • The student must be fever-free for 24 hours (temperature below 99.5F without fever- reducing medications)
  • The student is free of diarrhea and vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Antibiotics prescribed by a physician have been administered for the initial 24-hour dosage of
  • A doctor’s note is received for any student who has been absent for more than three (3) consecutive days.

 

All students must be checked by school personnel before returning to the classroom.

 

Tardiness

 

Timely arrival to school each day is a significant factor in school success.  Freedom Academy strives to teach adherence to time and commitment therefore:

Students are considered late for school if they do not walk into the classroom with the their teacher after flag salute and must check in through the office and obtain a tardy slip before going to class.  The start of the day is at flag salute and our hope is that all will be in attendance for this daily opening.  Once flag salute ends, students will proceed to class.  Once the students are in class, the doors will be locked and any student arriving after this point in time will be deemed tardy and will not be admitted until they have returned to the office for a tardy slip.  Please make every effort to get your child to school on time.  When a student comes to school after class has started, it is considered a distraction to the learning environment.

 

In grades 5-8, only 4 (four) tardies per quarter will be allowed.  After the 4th tardy, the following will occur:

  • 5th Tardy – A morning detention will be assigned where a student will complete an essay that answers questions pertaining to their detention.
  • 6th Tardy – The student will be required to serve an all day “in-school suspension” which will be served in an alternate classroom. For this suspension, they will receive no credit for classes that day.
  • 7th Tardy – If tardies continue after an “in school” suspension, a parent meeting with the Principal will be required to determine how to remediate the situation, or if an alternate school should be secured for the student.
  • Late arrivals will be excused by a doctor’s note only; however they still count towards the accumulation of quarterly tardies.

 

Half Day Attendance

Freedom Academy has many 1/2 days throughout the school year.  Their purpose is for teacher continuing education training.  These 1/2 days are mandatory attendance school days for our students.  They are still considered an academic day that is important to your child’s learning.  Students must attend 1/2 days or they must have a doctor’s note excusing their absence.  The student must bring the doctor’s note, excusing the absence, on the next official school day.  Failure to produce a doctor’s note will result in an unexcused absence and will not receive credit for any missed work for that day.  Keep in mind, many end-of-the-week tests are administered on 1/2 days, and loss of these points can seriously affect your child’s grades.