Here’s a list of all of the reasons that I can think of (Ed Code and my own) for a student to be Present or Absent:
For one, I work with LOTS of charter schools. I can’t tell you how much time has been wasted when someone assumes an U means unexcused when really it means “unexcused pending approval” or some other weirdness. Why put ourselves through this?
Second, I’ve had to stand up in front of an entire group of Principals, counselors, etc. and explain to them how they were doing it wrong. Truancy, for example, does not just mean you were unexcused absent for the whole day. If you are more than 30 minutes TARDY, you are considered TRUANT. And ten Truancies triggers the SARB intervention level 3. THERE IS STILL A LOT OF CONFUSION OVER TERMS LIKE TRUANCY, “Graduation Rate”, etc. As good data stewards I think we have an obligation to explore the issues.
So let’s think this through. Here are all of the cases where I can think of that a student would be either Present or Absent.
CASE #1 “PRESENT” - A student is Present on a school day that counts towards ADA. (Counts towards ADA)
CASE #2 - “TARDY” - A student arrives up to (but no more than) 30 minutes late without a valid excuse. (Counts towards ADA)
CASE #3 - “TRUANT” or “Unexcused Absence"- A student arrives at school MORE than 30 minutes late and/or misses an entire day without a valid excuse. (Counts towards ADA ONLY if the student is at school for at least 5 minutes or so????)
CASE #4 - “Excused - Illness” (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #5 - “Excused - Quarantine” (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #6 - “Excused - Medical Appointment” (I really doubt anyone would be interested in tracking whether this was a medical, dental, optometrical (SAT word!), or chiropractic, right? (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #7 - “Excused - Funeral Services” (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #8 - “Excused - Jury Duty” (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #9 - “Excused - Dependent Child Illness or Medical Appt.” (Does not count towards ADA)
CASE #10- “Excused - Active Military Family Deployment Exemption”
And here are two more that I’ve had to deal with (but these are NOT official - just my own observations thrown in).
CASE #11 - “Terrorist Threat/Police Activity” - NOTE: This is NOT part of the Ed Code. I include it here because of this discussion. MBUSD lost 2 days last year due to a cyberthreat, and LAUSD and all of the LAUSD Charters were closed one day last year because of a terrorist threat.
CASE #12 - “Inclement Weather, e.g. SNOW DAY? Post Earthquake days?)
In both of these cases (11 and 12), it would likely be a school-wide “excused absence”, if you follow me.