School attendance has a direct impact on a student’s level of academic achievement.  In order to make the most of one’s educational opportunities, a student must have consistent, punctual, daily attendance.  It is primarily the responsibility of the secondary student to achieve punctual, daily attendance as set forth in the Utah compulsory education requirements, Utah Code Ann. 53A-11-101, et seq.  A parent may contact the school to obtain current attendance information regarding his/her student.  A parent may monitor their student’s attendance by accessing the Student Information System (SIS) through Merit’s website at https://merit.usoe-dcs.org/login/.  Students are required to attend each class, on time, every school day, unless properly excused.  Repeated truancy, on or off campus, may result in a Concern Letter, a Notice of Truancy, a Habitual Truancy Citation, fines, attendance recovery (detention), suspension, expulsion, Juvenile Court referral, alternative placement, Board release, or other interventions.

 Merit College Preparatory Academy requires that all students achieve mastery in the basic skills, and any absence from school interferes with the student’s opportunity to master these skills.   In an effort to increase student success, to prepare students for attendance expectations in their future careers, and to exemplify our commitment to excellence, Merit College Preparatory Academy has established the following attendance policy.

ATTENDANCE POLICY GOALS

Merit Academy’s Attendance Policy will help students accomplish the following goals:

  • Provide all students and teachers the opportunity for success in the classroom.
  • Promote responsible behavior by teaching students to be accountable for their attendance.
  • Give parents the tools to promote good student attendance.
  • Support state policies.

As per “Utah State Office of Education Guidelines for School Attendance”, our teachers will be highly encouraged to consider attendance as part of the classroom-level grading strategy.  All Merit Teachers will be advised to include attendance as 10% of the student’s grade in the class.  In addition, teachers will be encouraged and supported in the decision to have bell work as 5% of the student grade. Students with extenuating circumstances or health issues will be considered as exceptions to this policy on a case by case basis, by administrative decision.

Absences

The following are the SIS attendance codes and definitions that are school related and do not require parent action.

Code Description Definition
E Excused Absence A parent contacts the attendance office to excuse an absence within 5 school days
O Office Excused A student is meeting with a counselor or administrator

 

V Vacation Absence A student has completed a vacation form prior to being absent.  (Vacation forms and instructions are available on the website or at the front office)
A Activity Excused A student is missing class due to a school approved activity.
H Homebound A student is missing school for 10 or more days.  A doctor’s note is required and must be turned in to the attendance office before absences are excused.
M Made up Absence A student has made up any type of absence in Attendance School.
R Made up Tardy A student has made up any type of tardy in Attendance School.

 

The following are the SIS attendance codes that are used to notify parent, students, and administrators that there is a possible problem.  These codes and their definitions require parent and/or student action within the defined time period:             

Code Description Definition
X Absence A student is not in attendance during class and the absence has not yet been excused.  A parent has 5 school days to excuse absence.
U Unexcused Absence A student is not in attendance during class and not excused after 5 school days.  Absence must be made up in attendance school within 10 days of absence.
S Sluff A student is caught out of class unexcused.  Absence must be made up in attendance school within 10 days of absence
Z Suspension A student is suspended from school for various reasons.  Parent will be notified by administration of suspension.  No further action is required by the parent.

Absence Procedures

Parent action for attendance:

Parents must contact the school and provide the reason for the absence.  Failure to provide a reason for the absence will cause the absence to be documented as Unexcused.  Notification may be by telephone or by signed note.  All validly excused absences may be excused if the school is notified within five (5) calendar days following the absence.  The five (5) calendar day time limit, however, does not extend beyond the end of the term.  All absences must be excused by the last day of each term.

       You may excuse your student’s absence through the attendance secretary by:

 

  • Calling 801-491-7600, Option 1, leave detailed message on attendance voicemail.
  • Sending a note with your student to be taken to the front office.
  • Absences must be excused within five (5) school days.
  • Unexcused absences and sluffs must be made up with* attendance recovery within ten (10)

school days.

  • School administrators may evaluate requests to approve extended or excessive absences.  Such absences may be excused so long as the absences do not negatively impact the academic progress of the students.  The decision to mark an absence “excused” is within the discretion of the school administration.  School administrators have authority to grant exceptions to the above procedures in situations involving unforeseen circumstances.

Parents should excuse students only for the following reasons:

  • Illness
  • Medical or dental appointments
  • Family emergencies
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Family activity or travel (Any vacation excused days should be excused one week in advance of the vacation.  Pre-arrangements should be made with each of your student’s teachers of how missed work will be made up.)

 

Student action:

  1. Once a student has been excused, it is the student’s responsibility to make up any work missed.  Missed work must be made up within five (5) school days from the day the student returns to school to receive full credit.  Credit work received after the allotted five (5) days will be at the discretion of the teacher.
  2. A student is allowed 3 unexcused absences per term before recovery action is required.  For an unexcused day, or the equivalent thereof (4 class periods), exceeding the 3 allowed days, or the equivalent thereof (12 class periods), a student must complete 1 hr. of *attendance recovery. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange Attendance Recovery.
  3. Sluffs must be made up in attendance recovery.  One hour or attendance recovery is required for each sluff. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange Attendance Recovery.
  4. Students in need of attendance recovery will be given a written notice to visit the attendance secretary.  Students who have not cleared up/made up any attendance issues within a two week period of that notice will no longer be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities at Merit Academy until the unexcused absences have been excused or made up through attendance recovery.  Extracurricular activities include, but are not limited to, some field trips, clubs, athletic games and activities, theater, dance competitions, school dances and any other sponsored school activities taking place outside of regular school hours.
  • Attendance recovery is time spent during non-school hours doing homework, studying, or rendering service for the school.  Attendance recovery is time spent with a teacher of the student’s choice if the student’s grades are at or above a C average in every class.  If they have a class/classes where the current grade posted is below a C average, the student will be required to choose that class or from those classes where they need the most extra study/homework time.  Attendance recovery will be spent with that teacher.

Violation of Policy

Violation of this policy may bring about consequences, including, but not limited to, a Concern Letter, a Notice of Truancy, a Habitual Truancy Citation, Notice of compulsory Education Violation, Compulsory Education Violation, fines, Attendance Recovery, suspension, expulsion, Juvenile Court referral, referral to the Utah County Attorney’s Office, alternative placement, Board release, or other interventions.

“Habitually Truant” is when a student who is at least twelve (12) years of age or older is truant at least ten (10) times in a particular class period or a total of forty (40) truancies in all class period during the current school year; OR fails to cooperate with the efforts of school authorities to resolve the student’s attendance problems as set forth in Utah Code Ann., 53A-11-103.

“Concern Letter” is a letter mailed to the parent of a student who has five (5) truancies in a particular class period or a total of twenty (20) truancies in all class periods during the current school year. The letter informs the parent of their student’s attendance problems, request help in solving the attendance problems, and informs the parent of possible school action if the truancies continue.

“Notice of Truancy” is a written notice mailed to or served on the parent of a student who is a least twelve (12) years of age or older who has ten (10) truancies in a particular class period or a total of forty (40) truancies in all class periods during the current school year.  The “Notice of Truancy” shall contain the notifications and provisions required Utah Code Ann., 53A-11-101.7(4).

“Habitual Truant Citation” means a citation issued by Merit Academy’s Attendance office (Truancy Specialist) or school administrator to a habitually truant student referring the student to Juvenile Court.  A “Habitual Truant Citation” is issued when: the student has been truant an additional five (5) times in a particular class period or a total of twenty (20) additional truancies in all class periods during the current school year after the Notice of Truancy has been issued; the school has made reasonable efforts described in Utah Code Ann., 53A-11-103 to resolve the student’s attendance problems; AND the efforts to resolve the student’s attendance problems have not been successful.

In addition to the above mentioned consequences for violation of Merit’s Attendance Policy, the following should be noted:

If you are planning a family event and your student will miss school for an extended amount of time (more than 3 days), you will need to notify the office and all of your student’s teachers at least one week in advance.

Tardies

The following are the SIS attendance codes used to alert parents, students, and administration that the student has been marked tardy.  All tardies require parent and/or student action.

Code Description Definition
T Tardy A student entered class after the tardy bell rang, but is no more than 15 minutes late.
L Late Tardy A student entered class at least 15 minutes late, but no more than 30 minutes late.
K Excused Tardy A student entered class after the tardy bell rang, and was excused by a parent by phone call, sign

in, or note.

 

Parent Action

  1. Tardies for the first class/period of your student’s day are excusable within five (5) school days of the tardy.  Students who have more than three unexcused tardies will be required to complete *tardy recovery.
  2. If a student has been checked out by a parent and then returns to school after class has started, the parent may excuse the tardy to that class.  No other tardies, outside of first period, can be parent excused.
  3. Parents may not excuse students for being tardy from lunch, unless they were officially

checked out by the parent prior to lunch beginning.

Student Action

  1. When a student is late it affects the entire class.  Each student and teacher has the right not to be interrupted by a tardy student.  For this reason, administration supports and encourages  teachers who provide bell work assignments,  which will be graded.  Students that come late to class, for any reason, including parent excused tardies, will not be allowed to make up bell work assignments.
  2. Tardies that exceed more than three (3) unexcused tardies per class need to be made up in tardy recovery.  It is the responsibility of the student to arrange tardy recovery.
  3. Students in need of tardy recovery will be given a written notice to visit the attendance secretary.  Students who have not cleared up/made up any tardy issues, within a two week period of that notice, will no longer be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities at Merit Academy until the unexcused tardies have been excused or made up through tardy recovery.  Extracurricular activities include, but are not limited to, some field trips, clubs, athletic games and activities, theater, dance competitions, school dances and any other sponsored school activities taking place outside of regular school hours.

*Tardy recovery is time spent during non-school hours doing homework, studying, or rendering service for the school.  Tardy recovery is time spent with a teacher of the student’s choice if the student’s grades are at or above a C average in every class.  If they have a class/classes where the current grade posted is below a C average, the student will be required to choose that class or from those classes where they need the most extra study/homework time.  Tardy recovery will be spent with that teacher.  ½ hour of tardy recovery will be required to make up all unexcused tardies accumulated within the 2 week reporting period.

Check Out Procedures

Students leaving the campus for any reason during school hours must check out with the front office.  Students can only be released with a parent’s permission.  Parents may provide permission by:

  • Sending a written note,
  • Calling the front office,
  • Or coming into the school.

Rewards

At the end of each term, students with no outstanding attendance deficiencies will become eligible for activities as set aside and scheduled by Merit Academy Administration