School starts at 8:30 am Students may begin entering classrooms at that time. Those students who arrive after 8:45 am are considered tardy and must be signed in by their parents in the main office in B Building. Students not signed in by their parent will be considered to have an unexcused tardy for the day. Attendance in school is central to a student’s educational success. To be counted as present, a student must be in attendance at least one-half of the school day. Sterling requests that families call the office the morning that their child is to be absent for notification. Excused absences include court proceedings, a death in the family, illness or injury, medical/dental appointments, quarantine, and religious observances. For the school year, we have an attendance phone line where parents can call in to record their student’s absence from school. Call the main number (919) 462-8889 and press 9 for the attendance line. You must call in if you want your child’s absence to be classified as excused. Too many unexcused absences will require meetings and possible disciplinary measures. Please take advantage of this system. If you know your student is going to miss 5 or more days, an Absence Form is required. This form is available in the front office or by clicking on the link above.
Excused Absence Forms not returned within two days of the student’s return, or for excuses not listed above will result in an unexcused absence. Three (3) unexcused absences in a year will result in a notification from the school. Six (6) unexcused absences will result in a written notification and a family conference. Ten (10) unexcused absences will result in a review of the situation by the Attendance Committee to determine if the family made a good faith effort to follow North Carolina’s Compulsory Attendance Law (115C-378). Students who have ten or more unexcused absences may be referred to social services and/or the court. Students with excessive absences during the year will be referred to the Attendance Committee to make a recommendation on whether or not the student shall be retained. The Executive Director will have final say on the decision. For all absences, the student shall make up all work in a timely manner at the convenience of the teacher.
NEW ATTENDANCE POLICY
STARTING AUGUST 2018
In addition to being a statutory requirement, regular attendance fosters a more cohesive classroom community and increases student performance and success. Families are requested to plan vacation trips and absences for personal reasons to correspond with school holidays so that the education process is not disrupted.
The following policy applies only to Charter students.
In accordance with North Carolina‘s compulsory attendance law, G.S. 115C-378, the Executive Director (“ED”) shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of his or her child’s excessive absences after the child has accumulated 3 unexcused absences in a school year. After 6 unexcused absences, the ED shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian by mail that he or she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the State and Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School. Once the parents are notified, the ED and relevant Section Head shall work with the child and the child’s family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine steps to eliminate the problem.
After 10 accumulated unexcused absences in a school year, the ED shall review any report or investigation prepared under G.S. 115C-381 and shall confer with the student and the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian, if possible, to determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has received proper notification and made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the ED determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the ED shall notify the district attorney and the director of social services of the county where the child resides. If however the ED determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the ED may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor pursuant to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes that the child is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse. Upon receiving notification by the ED, the director of social services shall determine whether to undertake an investigation under G.S. 7B-302.
Please note that the student will be automatically unenrolled from Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School following their 10th consecutive unexcused absence.
The NC Department of Public Instruction defines excused absences as:
- Illness or injury: When absence results from illness or injury which prevents the student from being physically able to attend school
- Quarantine: When isolation of the student is ordered by the local health official or the State Board of Health
- Death in the immediate family: When absences results from the death of a member of the immediate family of the student
- Immediate Family of a student includes, but is not necessarily limited to, grandparents, parents, brothers, and sisters.
- Medical or Dental appointments
- Court or administrative proceedings
- Religious observance
- Educational opportunity: Approval must be granted by the ED one week prior to the absence.
- Educational opportunities will be limited to ten (10) academic days in one academic calendar, with a maximum of five (5) academic days taken consecutively.
- Educational opportunity will not be approved as an excused absence within the first 20 school days of an academic year or during testing days.
- Absence related to deployment activities: A student whose parent or legal guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone”
Any absence not falling into one of these exceptions will be determined to be an unexcused absence.
Charter funding as it relates to student attendance in the first 20 days of an academic year:
Attending school on the first day is crucially important. Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School receives full state funding for a student ONLY if the student is present on the first day of school. Charter schools in North Carolina are funded through a formula that’s based on average daily membership, or ADM. The state reviews Sterling’s ADM for the first 20 days of school and determines the school’s per-student funding based on that number. The higher our average membership, the more state funding Sterling receives.
Therefore, if a student does not attend school on the first day, the school will contact the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian via email and/or telephone. If no response is received from the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian within 72 hours of the school’s aforementioned contact to the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian confirming that the student still plans to attend, the student’s seat will be offered to the next student on the wait list.
If an enrolled student does not attend Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School by the close of business on the third (3rd) day of school, that student will be withdrawn from Sterling and the seat will go to the next student on the applicable wait list. Notification of withdrawal shall be sent to the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian via email by the ED or his/her designee.
A student’s parent, guardian, or custodian may appeal the withdrawal of a student due to failure to adhere to the attendance policy stated above. A written appeal must be sent to the ED via email by close of business the next day after the issuance of the withdrawal notification. The ED has the absolute right to grant or deny re-enrollment based on the information provided in the appeal process.
This policy will be effective starting the 2018-19 school year