New ACPS Procedures for Notifying Families of Student Absences in Grades 6-12
In our continuous efforts to ensure that students maximize their time in the classroom, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is informing families about a new procedure that will apply to our students in grades 6-12. We want to share this update about early notification of student absences, as implementation began on March 13, 2023, in addition to a new video on absenteeism.
ACPS launched a new process at the secondary level (grades 6-12) in which parents/guardians are notified after the first period and at lunchtime if their student is marked absent at these points during the school day. Teachers take attendance in all class periods. Email and text notifications will be sent in the preferred language of the parent/guardian via ParentSquare as follows:
- Teachers will report absences from the first class period at the end of the first period so that parents/guardians can be notified that morning if their student is not in school as expected.
- Notifications will also be sent to parents/guardians after lunchtime for any reported absences at this time of the school day.
- Parents/guardians will still receive the standard absentee notification by 6 p.m. each day if the student was reported absent from school after 2 p.m. or if attendance from earlier class periods is submitted after 2 p.m. (Note: when a student misses more than three class periods, then it is reported as an all-day absence.
This early notification provides parents/guardians of students in grades 6-12 the opportunity to locate a student who has missed their first period class or is reported absent at midday. Having this information in a timely manner also helps parents/guardians partner with ACPS to address any issues students may have with absenteeism and truancy.
As a reminder, ACPS schools are closed campuses, meaning students are not allowed to leave school grounds during the school day. Students can only leave with permission from the school with parent/guardian notification provided to a school administrator. Each school will share the permission process with parents/guardians. It is vital that our students are in the classroom and focused on their learning during the school day. ACPS takes regular attendance seriously, as missing one day in the classroom can result in setbacks in learning.
As part of these additional measures to address absenteeism, we have partnered with our very own ACPS students to create a video series on the importance of attendance and arriving at school on time. The first video in the series can be viewed online. Please take the opportunity to watch the video with your child as it shares important messages for students too.
We ask families to please talk to their students and ensure that they are aware of the potential consequences of missing school or leaving school during the school day without permission. Families can find information online about the ACPS compulsory attendance policy and resources on positive school attendance and truancy prevention. Also, it is important that parents/guardians ensure that the school registrar has up-to-date contact information — their cell phone number and email address — so they can receive notices. Online information is also available for ACPS families who want to download the ParentSquare app.
We appreciate our partnership with families and the community’s cooperation and support of our efforts to keep students in the classroom and focused on their learning every day.