Frequently Asked Questions
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has made some changes to the mandatory attendance rules and regulations for students in New Jersey schools to highlight awareness that attendance at school is critical to student success. In order to simplify the information, we’ve compiled a brief “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet for your reference. For a more in-depth understanding, please refer to the District’s Attendance Policy 5200 located online at http://www.mtsd.k12.nj.us/Page/96.
Q: What is considered a “school day”?
A: “A day of attendance” shall be one in which the student is present for a full day. Students must be present for four hours to be considered present for a full day. A full day for kindergarten is considered a full session: am or pm.
Q: What data must be reported to the New Jersey Department of Education regarding student attendance?
A: The NJDOE requires that the Montgomery Township School District (MTSD) collect and report daily student attendance. All districts are monitored by calculating Average Daily Attendance. Our District attendance rate is an average of all five schools.
Q: What type of attendance data is collected by the Department of Education?
A: The NJDOE asks that we provide them with data in two areas:
*The State does NOT ask for the reason. Reasons are recorded by the District as set forth in the district’s policy and regulation.
Q: What is considered an excused absence by the Department of Education?
A: The Department of Education ONLY permits the following:
Q: What is considered an excused absence by MTSD? What does that really mean?
A: An excused absence in MTSD is an absence that has been verified by a parent or guardian with proper documentation.
1. “Excused absence” as defined by Montgomery Township School District is a student’s absence from school for a full day or a portion of a day for the reasons listed below:
a. The student’s illness supported by a written letter from the parent upon student’s return to school at the principal’s discretion;
b. The student’s illness supported by healthcare provider documentation upon student’s return to school (official office script pad or stationery which includes the duration of absence and date of appointment – must be submitted within two weeks of the absence);
c. The student’s required attendance in court (court notice to appear);
d. Where appropriate, when consistent with Individualized Education Programs, the Individuals with Disabilities Act, accommodation plans under 29 U.S.C. §§ 794 and 705(20), and individualized health care plans;
e. The student’s suspension from school;
f. Family illness or death supported by a written letter from the parent upon the student’s return to school up to five days;
g. Visits to post-secondary educational institutions not covered (documented by a statement from the admissions office);
h. Interviews with a prospective employer or with an admissions officer of an institution of higher education;
i. Examination for a driver's license (appointment card or license documentation);
j. Necessary and unavoidable medical or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled at a time other than the school day (health care provider documentation);
k. An absence for a reason not listed above, may be excused by the Principal upon a written request by the student’s parent stating the reason for the absence and requesting permission for the absence to be an excused;
Q: If my child is home sick for one or two days 1) must I get a doctor’s note? and 2) is it excused?
1) A doctor’s note for a short term illness is not required, however, we do require that you call your child’s school using the absence line prior to the start of the school day to let us know he/she will be absent from school. The child must bring a note to school immediately following the day of absence verifying the absence. Notes will be accepted within five (5) days of the absence.
2) The absence will be excused. Please note that excessive absences in this category, as well as absences in other areas, will be closely monitored by the Principal. If a Principal notes a pattern of absences that begins to interfere with your child’s educational progress, he/she may determine that they are unexcused.
Q: Is a family vacation considered an excused absence?
A: No. A vacation is considered an unexcused absence.
Q: What is considered an “unexcused absence that counts toward truancy”?
A: “Unexcused absence that counts toward truancy” is a student’s absence from school for a full or a portion of a day for any reason that is not considered excused in the policy.
Q: Is attendance a concern in MTSD?
A: Our average daily attendance meets or exceeds the State requirements, however, some of our schools at times have lower daily attendance rate. Attendance at OHES and VES is slightly lower than the schools 5-12. There are a variety of reasons that may explain this (i.e. age of children and illness), but we ask for parent support in only keeping children home when absolutely necessary.
Q: Where do I go if I need to share a special circumstance regarding my child’s attendance at school?
A: To our Principals. Our principals are very caring and compassionate individuals. Please contact them should you have a situation that requires special consideration.