Attendance at school is an important part of student success and achievement. A pattern of absences may put a student at risk of not achieving the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) for their grade level and courses. At GSMST, students' attendance and timeliness to school are documented throughout the year and these records are available to families through the Parent Portal. The cumulative record of late arrival incidents (a.k.a "tardies") resets to zero at the start of each semester. Starting January 8, 2014 the following procedures will be enforced:
Students who arrive at school after their school day has started will be considered "tardy" unless (1) their arrival time is due to GCPS bus circumstances or (2) the student submits a parent note documenting one of the state recognized excuses explained below:
The check in/ tardy/ absence will be classified as "excused" if it is directly caused by one of the following reasons, as defined by Georgia law*:
- Personal illness or attendance in school endangering a student’s health or the health of others
- A serious illness or death in a student’s immediate family requiring absence from school
- A court order or an order by a governmental agency, including pre-induction physical examination for service in the armed forces, mandating absence from school
- Observing religious holidays, necessitating absence from school
- Conditions making attendance impossible or hazardous to student health or safety
- A student, whose parent or legal guardian is in military service of the United States or the National Guard, and such parent or legal guardian has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting, shall be granted excused absences, up to a maximum of five school days per year, for the day or days missed from school to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian prior to deployment or while on leave
*Georgia Law does not excuse heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, or private transportation difficulties as reasons for being late to school.
For an absence to be excused, the student must bring a signed note from a parent or guardian or formal documentation stating the reason for the absence within 2 days of returning to school. Please make sure to include the student's name, student ID number, and date(s) of absence, reason for the absence, parent or guardian's name and a phone number. All absence notes are to be given to the Clerk in the Attendance office. Questions and advance notification of absences should be emailed to GSMST.Attendance@gcpsk12.org.
Student check-out must be before 2:30 PM.
If parents find it necessary for their child to miss school due to an out of town trip, including college visits, the absence must be approved by an administrator. The student must submit the request for the pre-arranged absence to the attendance office at least three days PRIOR to the first day absent. If the prearranged absence is approved, the absence will be classified as unexcused but the student will be allowed to make up missed work.
A state truancy law (O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-690.2) defines truant as “any child subject to compulsory school attendance who during the school calendar year has more than 5 days of unexcused absences.” This same state law also ties attendance to a student’s driving privileges.
It is important for parents to be aware of attendance requirements. Please read Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Student/Parent Handbook, which outlines attendance expectations. In addition, our teachers and school leadership will communicate with you regularly on school attendance issues.
Thank you for your support of your student’s academic achievement. Your child’s regular attendance at school makes a difference!
Procedures and Consequences
Students with an excused reason for being late should bring a note** to the attendance office. The note must be signed by a parent/guardian stating the reason for the late arrival.
**After a total of five (5) parent excused notes for absences (per year) or check-ins (per semester), medical or governmental documentation is required to excuse subsequent absences/check-ins.
Additional information and supporting documentation can be found on the GCPS website or in the beginning-of-year publications under GCPS Policy "J-Students".