Owatonna High School - Attendance Policy
 
It is the responsibility of the Owatonna Public Schools to the community that all school members will work to challenge and support students in the pursuit of their highest levels of academic and personal achievement. Recognizing the strong relationship between regular attendance for each class and high academic achievement, the District will establish a clear attendance system. Such a system will promote this relationship and hold students accountable for regular attendance. It is essential that Owatonna High School students and their families take responsibility for knowing and following the Attendance Policy. If a student is going to be absent, a parent/guardian is responsible for calling 444-8805 to report the absence. This voicemail number can be called 24 hours a day.

General Guidelines for Attendance
Owatonna High School has established the following parameters for the number of allowed absences (both excused and unexcused) for quarter, semester and yearlong courses. 
 
An accumulation of three (3) excused/unexcused absences in a quarter course, six (6) excused/unexcused absences in a semester course and twelve (12) excused/unexcused absences in a yearlong course will result in a student receiving the final grade earned if the grade is a C- or better. 
 
An NC (No Credit) will be awarded when the final grade is lower than a C-.  (The NC is calculated as a 0.0 for GPA and related purposes). 

Owatonna High School expects students and their parent(s)/guardian to take responsibility for knowing and following the Attendance Policy.
  • All students regardless of age must have absences excused by the parent(s)/guardian if the student lives at home.
  • Students enrolled in an alternative program should leave campus immediately following their last class.
  • Owatonna High School is an open campus; however, students may not leave school in a motorized vehicle during lunch or any other time of the day without pre-approved permission from a parent.
Absence Procedures     507-444-8805
  • When a student will be absent from school, the parent or guardian is asked to call the high school attendance office between 7:00 am and 9:00 am.  The attendance phone line number is 444-8805.  If a phone call is received, a written note is not necessary from the parents.
  • Any student who has been absent for any part of the day is required to report to the high school office when he/she returns to school to acquire an admit pass, which will be shown to all teachers when entering the classroom.
  • When a student has been in school any part of the day, and intends plans to be absent from school later, the school must be notified by written permission or by telephone call from the parent prior to the time the student is scheduled to leave.  The student must acquire a Permit to Leave the Building (blue pass) from the high school attendance office prior to leaving the school building.
  • When a student has become ill during the school day, he/she must receive permission to go home from the school nurse or attendance secretary.  Students who become ill and leave school without permission will be marked truant.
  • Attendance on Days of School Activities:  Students are reminded that except for doctor and dental appointments and school-approved activities, attendance for the last two periods of the day is required on the day of a game or a performance. Violations of this rule will be referred to the principal’s and activities director’s office.
  • Parents/students will be informed of absences through accessing the online Infinite Campus Parent/Student Portal.  Notification of unverified absences (absences that were not pre-excused through phone or written message) will be sent via an automated telephone call and email to the parent/household designated contact number and email address.
  
Guidelines and Categories for Excused Absences
The following categories of absences will coded excused with prior notification from parent. 
  • College visits
  • Driver’s license examination
  • Family Emergency
  • Illness
  • Pre-arranged excused absences for student participation in non-school competition and performance activities.
  • Family vacations pre-arranged with school administrator.
  • Professional appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of the school day
  • Spectators at state/regional competitions when Owatonna is not competing; student spectators must have parent(s)/guardian approval and follow all attendance policy procedures
Guidelines for Pre-Arranged Absences
Absences due to family vacations, or for an event that is a significant educational opportunity must be pre-arranged in order to be determined as excused.   Under no circumstances will students be excused for pre-arranged absences occurring on state mandated testing dates.  Students are responsible for obtaining the Pre- Arranged Absences Form (available on the OHS Website – and/or from the student’s counselor), completing it with all required signatures, and submitting to their counselor for final approval no less than 5 days prior to the absence.   Absences not pre-arranged and approved will be designated as unexcused absences.

Guidelines and Categories for Unexcused Absences
The following categories of absences will be coded as unexcused – truant.  
  • Any unverified absence not cleared within 24 hours of occurrence
  • Work at home
  • Work at a business except under a school-sponsored work release program
  • Non-pre-arranged family vacations
  • Missed bus
  • Overslept
  • Truancy
  • Arrival to class after twenty minutes will be coded as an unexcused absence and will count toward the total number of absences allowed. 
  • Other non-school authorized excuses
  • Notes or phone calls without a reason for absence
Guidelines and Categories for School Authorized Absences
The following categories of absences will be coded as School Authorized Absences.  These absences are considered Exempt and will not count toward the loss of credit in a yearlong/semester/quarter course.
  • Ceremonies in which the student is being honored or presented with an award (i.e. Rotary)
  • Chronic illness verified by a doctor and reported to school nurse
  • Court-ordered appearances supported by documentation
  • Death in the student’s immediate family or of a close friend/relative
  • Field trips
  • Illness in student’s immediate family (documentation required by medical personnel)
  • Interscholastic meets and event
  • Musical sectionals
  • Religious holidays and/or instruction
  • Student government and related activities
  • Suspension
  • Verified meeting conducted with school personnel
  • Spectators at state/regional competitions when Owatonna is competing; student spectators must have parent(s)/guardian approval and follow all attendance policy procedures.
  • Driver’s Permit Test
 
General Guidelines for Tardies
  • Students are expected to be in their assigned areas at designated times. Students who arrive to block classes within twenty minutes of the start of class will be considered tardy.  Students arriving to “skinny” or ½ block classes within ten minutes of the start of class will be considered tardy
  • Students arriving without a legitimate and confirmed excuse after the ten and twenty minute deadline for skinny and block courses respectively will be coded as unexcused.  
  • Three tardies per class will equal one unexcused absence and will count toward the total number of absences allowed as specified in the General Guidelines for Attendance.
Guidelines for Make-Up Work Due to Excused and Student Authorized Absences
  • The student is responsible for requesting and making arrangements to complete assignments and course work missed during the absence. 
  • Upon the student’s return to school, a maximum of two days is allowed for completing make-up work. Additional days for make-up work may be granted at the discretion of each teacher.
  • Previously announced projects and/or assessments must be turned in or taken on the day of the student’s return to school. If extenuating circumstances exist, the teacher may grant additional make-up time.
  • An administrative conference will be held with students who exhibit a pattern of excused absences on assessment days.
 
Guidelines for Appealing Loss of Credit Due to Exceeding the Attendance Policy Limit
A student wishing to appeal a No Credit grade received due to exceeding the attendance policy can download the Attendance Appeal form from the OHS website or obtain the form from his/her counselor. 
  • The student will submit a completed form along with any supporting documentation to their counselor no later than five school days following the grading period. 
  • An Attendance Appeals Committee comprised of one administrator, the student’s counselor, and the student’s instructor will review the appeal request and render a decision to accept or deny the appeal. 
 
Guidelines for Truancy
In accordance with the State Department of Education and the Minnesota Mandatory Attendance Law, students must attend school each and every day school is in session.  It is the responsibility of the students, parents/guardians, and the school to assure that students attend school. 
 
Truant:  absence without lawful excuse from attendance at school when required to attend.  MN Statute 260A.02 subd. (3) and subd. (19):
 
Required Reporting
  • Continuing Truant: Minn. Stat. 260A.02 provides that a continuing truant is a student who is subject to the compulsory instruction requirements of Minn. Stat. 120.101 and is absent from instruction in a school. As defined in Minn. Stat. 120.05, without valid excuse within a single school year for three or more class periods on three days if the child is in the middle school, junior high school, or high school.
  • Habitual Truant:  A habitual truant is a child under the age of 16 years who is absent from school without lawful excuse for seven school days if the child is in elementary school or for one or more class periods on seven school days if the child is in middle school or high school. 
  • A school district official shall refer a habitual truant child and the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian to appropriate services and procedures under Minnesota Statute Chapter 260A.
                      
Truancy Ladder 
                                                                                       
Occurrence SCHOOL ACTION COUNTY ACTION
1 -2
  • Detention (zero hour, lunch, 5th hour)
 
3-4
  • Detention
  • Mandatory parent-administration meeting
  • Continual truancy notification
Appearance with Steele County Attendance Review Board (ARB)
5-6
  • Detention, (zero hour, lunch, 5th hour) time may be increased
 
7-8
  • Detention (zero hour, lunch, 5th hour)
  • Habitual Truancy referral to Owatonna Law Enforcement
  • Referral to OHS Student Assistance Team
  • Referral to Human Services
  • Possible Court Summons
  • Possible Child in Need of Protective Services (CHIPs) petition.
 
 
 
ATTENDANCE RESPONSIBILITIES
 
Student Responsibilities
  • Attend all classes on a daily basis.
  • Monitor the total number of absences in each course. Report any errors to the teacher of the course.
  • Monitor the total number of school authorized absences. When more than three class periods of a specific course are missed during a quarter, the student will inform the teacher to be out of the class for any subsequent school-authorized activities.
  • Attend every class considered to be his/her “official” schedule. Students should continue attendance to a class even if he/she anticipates changing or dropping that class. Until the class is officially dropped and processed – including the issue of a new schedule, students are expected to attend each of the classes on their schedule. Failure to do so will constitute an unexcused absence.
  • Report, when ill, to the Health Office.
  • Follow all check-in and check-out procedures.
  • Contact teacher(s) to arrange make-up work.
 
Parent(s)/Guardian Responsibilities
  • Ensure your student is attending school each and every day.
  • Monitor the total number of absences in each course. Report any errors to the teacher and/or attendance secretary.
  • Call the Attendance Office (444-8805) to report the date, time, and reason for the student’s absence.  Absences that remain unverified for more than 24 hours will be considered as unexcused or truant.
  • All students, regardless of age, must have an absence excused by a parent/guardian if the student lives at home.
  • Schedule appointments before or after school whenever possible.
  • Schedule family vacations during official school breaks and summer vacation.
  • Work cooperatively with the school and the student to resolve any attendance problems that may arise.
  • Communicate and discuss with their student the Owatonna High School Attendance Policy.
  • Contact the Owatonna High School Health Services Office (444-8806) for assistance when your student has or will have a long-term or chronic health condition(s) that may result in frequent absences from school.
  • Ensure that when your student is truant, they serve school detention hours as assigned.