All students are expected to attend classes regularly and on time. When a child is absent/tardy due to illness or any other reason, it is the responsibility of the parent to provide a written excuse explaining the cause of absence/tardy.

According to State Statutes 230.22 and 232.16 Attendance Policies and Procedures, schools must implement interventions to enforce regular school attendance. Every parent received the Southwood Elementary Parent Student Handbook in August which outlines our policy on attendance and tardies.‚Äč

Excused absences established by the Orange County School Board are: personal illness of the student whose attendance would endanger his/her health or the health of others; serious illness or death in the student’s immediate family; special recognized religious holidays observed by the student’s faith; conditions rendering school attendance impossible or hazardous to health and safety; arrival on a late bus or with parents due to bus or car breakdown. All other absences are unexcused unless the activity is school sponsored.

What is considered tardy?

Your child is considered tardy after 8:45 a.m. Students who are late to school must report to the front office for a tardy slip if later than 9:00 a.m. Before 9:00 a.m. students should report directly to the classroom where the teacher marks the tardy on the computer. Excessive absences/tardiness will be referred to the social worker for follow up.

What is excessive?

The Southwood Elementary School Policy on unexcused absences and tardiness is as follows:

  • 5 unexcused absences within a month

  • 10 unexcused absences within 90 days

  • 10 excessive excused absences within 90 days

  • 5 tardies within 30 days (5 tardies is equal to 1 unexcused absence)

How should I let the school know if my child is absent?

Written verification is required within 2 days of the absence. A parent phone call will not be accepted as verification. After 2 days, we will consider all absences unexcused.

What will happen if absences and tardies become excessive?

Step 1: The teacher will communicate to you that there is a pattern of absences or tardies. This may be in the form of a written note, phone call or conference.

Step 2: If the issue is not resolved, you will receive a letter from the office stating the next steps. At this time, we will monitor to see if any progress has been made.

Step 3: If there is no improvement after two weeks we will contact you for an Attendance Child Study Team Meeting with administration, guidance, the classroom teacher and the social worker. At this meeting we will review your child’s records, discuss additional resources, continue to monitor and set a review date.

Step 4: If there is still no improvement, we will notify you that the case has been officially referred to the social worker and possible additional agencies to support your child.

It is important that we work together to ensure that your child is ready to learn when they arrive at Southwood. We expect that you will adjust your schedule to accommodate traffic problems. Your attention to this problem is critical.

Thank you to all of the families who are so conscientious! We appreciate your help and support! Together, we can make a difference!