Attendance Policy

 Guidelines for High School Attendance Pilot:

Dear Parent/Guardian:

The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes that regular student attendance and punctuality are among the necessary essential components for student success. The Board is committed to the full implementation of sections 24-26, 38 and 1’16 of the Nova Scotia Education Act which clearly defines student attendance as a responsibility that is shared among parents/guardians, students, teachers, principals and the school board.

Rankin School of the Narrows, effective September 1, 2011 is implementing the Nova Scotia High School Credit Attendance pilot. Under this pilot a high school student may lose eligibility to be granted credit for a course if he/she is not present in class for at least 80% of the course. In other words a student who is absent for 16 classes in a full credit course may lose eligibility to be granted a credit in that course.

The following procedures will be followed in monitoring the minimum attendance standard that must be maintained in order to receive an academic credit. At each of the following stages, there must be documented evidence of individual interventions, aligned with the principles of Positive and Effective Behavioral Supports (PEBS) that support student engagement, attendance and academic success. These interventions must take into account the personal, social, and cultural/racial experiences which impact student connection and engagement with school. The loss of eligibility to be granted credit for a course cannot be pursued without evidence of this documentation.

  • If a student accumulates 5 absences the teacher will contact the parents/guardians. Teacher contact with parents/guardians may take the form of a phone call, phone message or a letter mailed to the home.
  • If a student accumulates 8 absences the teacher will directly contact the parent/guardian by means of a phone call.
  • If a student accumulates 10 absences there will be a meeting of parents/guardians, or an adult advocate, administration and student to explore the possibility of creating an attendance contract with the student.
  • If a student accumulates 14 absences a registered letter will be sent indicating there is a danger of the student not qualifying for the credit and outlining what must happen to prevent this consequence, and indicating the appeal procedure that is in place.

This applies to excused and unexcused absences. An excused absence is one approved by the student’s parent or guardian. A parent or guardian can indicate an absence is acceptable by phoning the school the day of the absence or by submitting a note within 3 school days of the absence. These absences will still contribute to the maximum of 16 absences which can cause loss of eligibility for the course credit.

There are several circumstances for which a student will be marked absent from a course due to special circumstances. These include:

  • student has a documented acute or chronic medical condition or specialist appointments; student is absent due to a verifiable religious observance;
  • student is absent due to a death in the family ( as determined in particular cultural contexts);
  • student is absent as a result of participation in educational opportunity or special activity as deemed appropriate by school administration;
  • student is absent as a direct result of legal obligations which are supported by court subpoenas or appropriate documentation.

If a student misses 16 classes in a full credit they may lose eligibility for the credit. This applies only to excused and unexcused absences and not special circumstances.

There are several circumstances and designations for which a student will be marked present in a course. These will be coded ACT and include:

  • student is present in class;
  • student was in the office or accessing student services support during class;
  • student was on a school-authorized field trip, participating in a school team activity or another school sanctioned activity;
  • student was at a job placement such as co-op.

A student or the student’s parent/guardian may appeal his/her loss of credit eligibility. The student may do this by explaining why he/she should be reinstated in the course to an Appeal Panel. The Appeal panel will be composed of the principal, or vice-principal, a guidance counsellor, and the subject teacher. The Appeal Panel will be asked to review all required documentation including required documentation of interventions and to reach consensus to either uphold the decision to remove the student from the course or to rescind the decision to remove the student from the course. If the panel confirms the loss of eligibility for credit the student or the student’s parent/guardian may appeal to the superintendent or the superintendent’s designate from the regional team.

If a student is deemed to have lost eligibility for more than 2 credits in a semester, the school may recommend to the board a suspension from the school for the remainder of the semester. Such a recommendation would follow the procedures outlined in the Education Act sections 122 to 126.

If you have any questions, please contact me at the school.

Yours truly,

Theresa MacNeil


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