Black River Public School believes it is the partnership we have with our parents and guardians that help our students build the habit of good attendance and punctuality. Parents want their children to do well in school but many don’t fully understand the connection between tardiness and absenteeism and a student’s academic achievement. Current research supports the fact that regular attendance is critical in the development and learning of all students. We now realize it is not only those students who fit the traditional definition of truancy, but those who are chronically absent, that are more likely to have lower grades and be less prepared in both school and in life. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school on time every day. When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, avoid dangerous behavior and have a better chance of graduating from high school.
UNDERSTANDING OUR ATTENDANCE PHILOSOPHY
We feel very fortunate that you chose Black River Public School, a strong community that values and supports quality education for our children. As a partner in your child's success, we believe regular school attendance is one of the most important factors affecting student achievement. Results of study after study demonstrate that students who attend school regularly do better than those who are frequently absent. School data overwhelmingly supports the fact that good attendance increases student achievement. Time missed from class cannot truly be compensated for in any adequate way and a stimulating, thoughtful classroom discussion or analysis cannot be made up. When absent, your student misses the opportunity for give and take, for questioning and being questioned. Classroom learning is a communal endeavor where teachers and students learn by being able to share ideas in an open forum. Absent students also miss the learning that comes from participation in the group process.
Black River’s goals for student learning emphasize the importance of communication skills, social responsibility, and respect for the ideas of others. Simply put students cannot achieve these goals if they are not in the classroom. We strongly believe there is no substitute for attending class and parents and caregivers are urged to stress the importance of regular attendance and punctuality. Learning the responsibility of getting to school and class on time is an integral part of the Black River Public School standard of excellence, which prepares our students for success and college readiness. In our school, instructional time is viewed as a precious resource. Consequently, we view chronic absenteeism or tardiness as a serious problem.
WE'RE ALL CONNECTED - LET'S COMMUNICATE!
Black River views communication as the key to a students attendance success. Today's rapidly evolving technology has bridged the communication gap between educators, students and parents. We feel fortunate to have access to instructional tools like Infinite Campus which provides real-time access to grades, attendance, assignments, schedules and more. Black River parents and/or guardians and students can view daily attendance, attendance codes and attendance comments at any time by logging in to the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. If you have already signed up for the Parent Portal and cannot access your account please contact the main office for your username and a temporary password. If you do not have a Parent Portal account please fill out the following form and return it to the main office. You will be emailed your portal access information along with a handy FAQ sheet.
In an effort to better service the schools of the OAISD, visit this resource for the common language and coding that is recommended for each school to use in regards to attendance. Your students attendance record follows them to each school they attend. These common codes make it easy for schools to communicate.
Additional Parent/Caregiver Attendance Information and Resources:
Build Good Attendance Habits Handout for Elementary Students - English
Build Good Attendance Habits Handout for Elementary Students - Spanish
Build Good Attendance Habits Handout for MS/HS Students - English
Build Good Attendance Habits Handout for MS/HS Students - Spanish
SET YOUR STUDENT UP FOR SUCCESS - IMPORTANT TIMES AND EXPECTATIONS
7:15 a.m. - Lyceum doors open.
7:30 a.m. - Breakfast is served in the Lyceum. Supervision will be provided and the elementary students will be walked over to the elementary building at 7:45 a.m. Middle School/High School can wait in the Lyceum or outside until the main building doors open.
7:45 a.m. - Elementary doors open.
7:50 a.m. - Middle School/High School doors open.
8:00 a.m. - All campus doors are locked. Carline closes/school begins. Students are expected to be in the classroom ready to learn at 8:00 a.m. sharp!
After 8:00 a.m. - Students are required to report to the main office for a tardy pass.
Daily Middle School/High School Passing Times and Block Schedule
MS/HS students are given passing time between each class change to move between classrooms, buildings, or use the bathroom. Students are expected to be in class and seated by the end of the passing time. Below is a list of passing times:
1st - 9:26-9:33 a.m.
2nd - 11:00-11:05 a.m.
3rd - 11:55-12:00 a.m.
4th - 1:26-1:33 p.m.
The Block Schedule can be referenced here.
3:00 p.m. - Middle School/High School dismissal (Project Term dismissal time is 2:40 p.m.)
3:10 p.m. - Elementary dismissal - Please pick up your child promptly at 3:10 p.m. (Project Term dismissal time is 2:40 p.m.)
KNOW THE FACTS ON EXCUSED ABSENCES
According to Black River Public School Policy, students have a limit of five excused absences per semester. These five absences allow for sporadic illness, doctor appointments, religious holidays, etc. Teachers will allow students to make up work upon their return for these five excused absences. Please note the following:
- Any absence that a student incurs as an approved representative of Black River does not count towards the 5-day absence limit.
- Absences from class because of approved in-school activities and meetings with counselors or other school personnel do not count toward the absence limit.
- Absences beyond five (5) excused school days require administrative approval.
When a student exceeds the 5-day limit for the semester it may greatly affect their academic success. Class time and homework missed due to excessive absence from school or class may not be made up without penalty. Communication with the school and teacher(s) is very important.
Excused absences for illness - On the third consecutive day of absence, a note from the doctor with the dates of treatment may be requested by the main office or administration. Teachers will allow students returning to school from an extended illness to make up missed work.
WHEN IS A STUDENT CHRONICALLY ABSENT OR TRUANT
A student is considered chronically absent/truant when absent from school 10% of the enrolled school days. Students who are truant will be reported to the Ottawa County truancy officer as required by law.
Students with three or more unexcused absences in a given academic semester will receive an attendance review with disciplinary consequences. We will make every effort to help your student succeed. A formal attendance success plan may be developed and shared with the Ottawa County Truancy Officer. Additional guidelines on truancy can be found on the Ottawa Area ISD website.
HERE ARE THE GUIDELINES ON EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
- Excused absences include:
- Student illness/injury/residential treatment (with a doctor note or verified by parent)
- Medical appointments (with doctor’s note would be coded as EM)
- Religious holidays
- Lice (3 days as a recommendation)
- Funeral/death in family
- Mandated court appearances (documented-only if children are required per subpoena)
- Placement by Juvenile Court in detention.
- Educational opportunities approved by school officials
- Travel (up to 5 days with school official approval)
- Unexcused absence is any absence not accounted for above, examples of unexcused absences include, but not limited to:
- Arriving late, unexcused - more than ten minutes tardy to class
- Staying home to baby-sit
- Travel (more than 5 days in school calendar or any travel days without prior approval)
- Needed at home
- Weather/weather-related delays when school is in session
- Transportation issues
- Child is not immunized
- Sickness (not documented or verified by parent)
- Chronic lice (over 5 days, CPS referral may be suggested/should be considered)
- Willful truancy (skipping/student refuses to attend school per parent/guardian, or reported as a runaway)
- Failure to notify the main office. (Messages left on the attendance line without an excusable reason as stated above)
INFORMATION ON EXTENDED ABSENCES FOR TRAVEL AND OTHER REASONS
Black River strongly discourages extended absences during the school term. Vacation days count toward the 5-day excused absence limit each semester. The decision for the absence is the responsibility of the parent and the student and should be made with consideration given to the student’s academic standing in school, with serious thought given to the impact of the absence. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for and complete any work missed.
Absences for vacation, family trips, etc. over five days will be coded unexcused per the Ottawa County Attendance Policy.
If an extended absence is required, students and parents must fill out an Extended Absence Approval Form available in the main office prior to the absence and receive written approval from an appropriate administrator.
The school staff assumes no responsibility for work missed on extended absences (other than those caused by illness and documented by a physician), and teachers may elect not to provide makeup opportunities for tests and projects missed due to an extended absence that does not directly involve a medical procedure or condition.
YOU CAN TEACH TIMELINESS - MAKE PUNCTUALITY A PRIORITY!
School begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. A student who arrives late to school must report to the main office. At the elementary-aged level we ask that the student be signed-in by a parent/guardian. At the middle school/high school level a parent may call the attendance line to report tardiness and the expected time of arrival. The only excused tardy is for illness or appointment. All other reasons are unexcused. The student will receive a tardy slip and should report to class immediately.
Excessive tardiness, regardless of reason, is unacceptable. Students who are consistently late for class demonstrate a disregard for the value of the time of their teacher and classmates and will receive disciplinary consequences beginning with detention. This includes both excused and unexcused tardies.
If chronic tardiness continues to be a problem the student will have additional disciplinary consequences as determined by the administration of the school.
WE ARE PARTNERS IN ATTENDANCE SUCCESS: ELEMENTARY CONSEQUENCES FOR EXCEEDING PERMISSIBLE TARDIES (PER SEMESTER)
We believe it is important for parents and students to know the attendance expectations and consequences for exceeding permissible tardies. These steps are to ensure we can provide the support needed to build the lifelong skill of punctuality.
5th Tardy: Parents will be emailed by the administrative staff regarding future consequences for accumulating more tardies and asked what support the school can provide.
10th Tardy: Parents will receive a student attendance detention notice from the school by email. Students will receive a discipline referral to document the attendance pattern and be required to serve a before school detention.
Detentions will be served on Thursdays from 7:15-7:45 a.m. in the Elementary Conference room. Doors will open at 7:05 a.m. If there is a valid reason that your son or daughter cannot make the assigned detention, it must be made up on the following Thursday with in the Elementary Conference Room.
If a student misses his or her assigned detention without a valid reason, a detention will be assigned for the next offered detention date in the main building, room 209 at 7:00 a.m. sharp. Doors to the main building will be open by 6:50 a.m. Please plan to walk your student to the classroom.
After 10 tardies, the number of tardies will be reset to zero and an attendance support plan will be created. Further repercussions will be explored for noncompliance of consequences which may result in a parent meeting with a truancy officer from Ottawa County or suspension. Thank you for the guidance you give as your child sets lifelong attendance habits.
Attendance coding for tardies and early dismissal:
Students arriving between 8:01-8:10 a.m. are coded TARDY/UNEXCUSED unless your student is sick or has a doctor note - Arrival after 8:10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. the code is LATE ARRIVAL/UNEXCUSED OR EXCUSED. The school maintains a record of the number of minutes a student is in attendance and notes attendance comments with the reason for late arrival.
Students leaving between 3:00-3:10 p.m. are coded LEFT EARLY/UNEXCUSED unless your student is sick or has a dr. note. If the student is checked out BEFORE 3:00 p.m., it will be coded as an absence.
If you have any questions regarding attendance coding, please contact the main office.
WE ARE PARTNERS IN ATTENDANCE SUCCESS: MS/HS CONSEQUENCES FOR EXCEEDING PERMISSIBLE TARDIES/UNEXCUSED ABSENCES (PER SEMESTER)
Continued tardiness may warrant an out-of-school suspension and the student may lose credit for the course as determined by the administration of the school.
Further consequences will be explored for noncompliance of detention requirement which may result in a parent meeting with a truancy officer from Ottawa County or suspension.
Attendance coding for tardies:
8:01-8:10 a.m. - The student will be coded TARDY/UNEXCUSED OR EXCUSED - After 8:10 a.m. the code is ABSENT/UNEXCUSED OR EXCUSED. The school maintains a record of the number of minutes a student is in attendance and attendance comments with the reason for late arrival.
Thank you for the guidance you give as your child sets lifelong attendance habits.
PROCEDURE FOR REPORTING ILLNESS OR NECESSARY ABSENCE TO THE MAIN OFFICE
Michigan law places responsibility on each parent or guardian to send their child to school on a daily basis. We ask that you contact the main office by 9:00 a.m. to report illness or absences. The school will follow-up on student attendance if a call has not been made and it is coded in the student attendance as unexcused until we receive a phone call or email.
The procedure for reporting an absence is as follows:
Day of the absence, please contact the automated attendance line of your child's school. The call should be made before 9:00 a.m. each day during the period of the absence.
Elementary School Attendance Line
616-355-0055, ext. 328
Middle School/High School Attendance Line
616-355-0055, ext 228
Please be prepared to give the following information:
- Student Name
- Student Grade
- Date of Absence
- Reason for Absence*
* The school provides the county health department with information on fever and stomach flu totals as well as other communicable illnesses within our student population. It is important to be specific when leaving a reason for illness if your child has a fever or the stomach flu. Black River follows the guidelines of the Michigan Department of Community Health.
On the third consecutive day of absence, a note from the doctor with the dates of treatment may be requested by the main office or administration.
PROCEDURE FOR LATE ARRIVALS/EARLY DISMISSAL FROM SCHOOL
Medical and dental appointments should be made on days or times when school is not in session. Please reference the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar when scheduling. When appointments are unavoidable or an emergency arises, the following procedure should be followed:
Contact the automated attendance line by 9:00 a.m. for late arrivals and early dismissals from school.
Elementary School Attendance Line
616-355-0055, ext. 328
Middle School/High School Attendance Line
616-355-0055, ext 228
Please be prepared to give the following information:
- Student Name
- Student Grade
- Date of Late Arrival/Early Dismissal
- Reason for Late Arrival/Early Dismissal
- Time Student is Returning to Campus
Before leaving the building, the person providing transportation must sign the student out at the main office. In the case of a Middle School/High School student driver or walker, the student is allowed to leave campus without a parent coming to the school only when given permission by the parent contacting the main office. The main office will call to dismiss the student from class and the student must sign out at the main office prior to leaving campus. Late pick-ups and drop-offs should not occur at the Lyceum building.
If/when the student returns to school, they must report to the main office to sign in and receive an admit slip to re-enter the class currently in session. If the sign-in/out is discovered to be unexcused, it will be reviewed by the Dean of Students to determine appropriate disciplinary consequences.
Reminder: Early dismissals for extracurricular activities or lessons will be marked as unexcused absences.
Medical documentation may be requested for repeated early dismissals or late arrivals.
ILLNESS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
If a student becomes ill while at school, the student should get a pass from his/her teacher and go to the main office. At the office, the student will get their temperature taken and be able to wait for 5-10 minutes to determine if he/she is able to return to class. If the student is unable to return to class, the parent will be notified and expected to pick him/her up at school immediately. Middle school/high school students will be allowed to use the office phone or their cell phone (while in the main office) to call for a pick up. The person providing the transportation must sign the student out in the main office before leaving school. Middle school/high school student walkers and drivers will be allowed to leave campus with permission given by the parent/guardian and must sign-out in the main office before leaving campus.
In the case of a medical emergency the school will call 911 as appropriate.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RECESS VISITS
To help foster the independence of our students and protect the privacy of our student body, parents are NOT PERMITTED to attend recess with his or her child unless permission is granted by the Elementary Administrator at least one day in advance. Considerations for parent recess visits will be based the needs of the child. Permission will not be granted unless a specific need exists, as determined by the administrative team.
MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT OFF-CAMPUS LUNCH/CAP INFORMATION
Black River Public School is a closed campus. Upperclassmen are allowed one lunch per year where they may leave campus during lunch/CAP time. This is usually reserved for a special celebration like birthdays, youth group lunch with the leader or senior lunch where a sibling is included and must be communicated on the attendance line by 9:00 a.m. Please leave the name of the youth group leader or parent that will be picking up your student. Students must arrive back on campus before class resumes or they will receive an unexcused tardy. Middle school and high school lunch/CAP hour sign-outs should be communicated in advance to the main office by calling the automated attendance line. Parents may not call in to excuse their underclassmen to participate in senior lunch privileges. Middle School/High School student walker or drivers must have permission before signing out to leave campus.
PARENT/GUARDIAN VISITS ON CAMPUS
All parents and visitors arriving on campus must first sign in at the main office and receive a visitor’s badge. On leaving the parent/visitor will return the badge to the main office and sign out. Please make every effort to communicate before/after school plans with your student before school starts. Parents should limit speaking with students to before or after school, or during lunch/passing time. We will not call a student out of class for parent conversations unless it is an emergency.
BLACK RIVER PUBLIC SCHOOL IS A CLOSED CAMPUS
Black River Public School is a closed campus. After arriving at school, students are considered to be in attendance and may not leave campus for any reason without approval from a parent or administration. Students who leave campus without official approval are considered unexcused and will be subject to disciplinary action including suspension from school and/or expulsion depending on the extent of the violation of the closed campus policy.
SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND DELAYS
Information about emergency school closing and delayed starts will be displayed on the Black River Public School website, relayed to families through the District's push notification on the StayConnected app (parents must sign up for this feature), and will be communicated to the local media outlets; WOOD TV8, WZZM TV13 and FOX17. Parents should always refer to the Black River website for final decisions and notices.