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Truancy Policy

CWCS Board Approved April 26, 2022

Truancy Definition:

Attendance and student engagement is very important to a student’s success in school.  Connecting Waters Charter Schools expects that both students and parents take responsibility for ensuring that each student attends school and is engaged in learning each day. Students enrolled at Connecting Waters Charter Schools must engage in educational activities for the required minimum daily attendance minutes on each of the regular school days indicated by the school calendar, (175) per year.  Due to the unique nature of an independent study program, the definition of "truancy" at CWCS is defined in the policy below as a missed assignment/attendance period or missed appointment of any kind with the school or one of its employees (i.e., learning record meetings, classes, tutoring sessions, assessments, services, review of work product).  This is not the same definition of "truancy" in a traditional, site based school.

Truancy Policy:

Pursuant to the Independent Study Policy adopted by the CWCS Board of Directors, students who fail to demonstrate adequate and appropriate progress toward student standards (missed assignment/attendance) or after a missed appointment will be subject to the truancy policy, Attendance Personalized Learning Team (PLT) meeting to help students get reengaged and/or an Evaluation Hearing will be held to consider whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain in independent study. An initial meeting or hearing after the first truancy may either be in the form of a consultation with the parent/guardian/student, or an attendance PLT, or an evaluation hearing. Evaluation hearings can be held at any time, but are usually held after a second truancy. These meetings may be held in person or online at the Executive Director or designee’s discretion. If the Executive Director or designee requires an in-person meeting/hearing, the location of the meeting/hearing may take place at the CWCS Main Office located in Waterford, California.  Parents/guardians or adult students will be informed of this policy as part of the Master Agreement signed each year.

A missed assignment/attendance period is defined on the Attendance Roll by unexcused absences or a pattern of excused absences.

A school appointment may be defined as Learning Record meetings, classes, tutoring, assessments, attendance PLT, PLT/504/IEP meetings, and Classes (including Canvas and Resource Center courses) for grades TK-12 in English, English Learner, Math, Science, Social Science, Career Technical Education, Visual Performing Arts, and Foreign Language. The parents/guardians or adult students are required to give at least 24 hours’ notice for any cancellation or change of appointment except in the case of an emergency.  An example of such an emergency would be a car accident, sudden illness, or other types of tragic events that prevent a person from being able to keep their appointment or give a 24-hour notice. 

It is CWCS’ policy to immediately hold an Attendance PLT when there are unexcused absences in a given week and/or lack of student engagement and/or hold an Evaluation Hearing for students who are truant for two school attendance periods (length of time between meetings with an ES, but no more than 20 days maximum) or have 2 missed appointments within the same school year, or a combination of the above. Please note that the truant attendance periods within one school year do not have to be consecutive. In accordance with the Independent Study Policy and the Master Agreement, an Evaluation Hearing, or whenever else it is deemed necessary, will be held to determine whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain in independent study after one or more missed assignments or appointments.

Warning:

Students who miss an assignment, school appointment, have a pattern of excused absences, or are at risk of falling below the required attendance requirements as defined above shall be sent a warning letter, reminding the student of this policy and requirements of the Master Agreement and will be consulted or invited to attend an Evaluation Hearing to determine whether remaining in independent study is in the best interest of the student.

Evaluation Hearing:

Students who have missed one or more assignments/attendance periods, school appointments, or whenever else it is deemed necessary, shall be invited to attend an Evaluation Hearing (as defined above) to determine whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain in an independent study program. This Evaluation Hearing will be held as soon as possible and will be conducted by the Administration or designee. The Executive Director shall send out written notice of the date, time and location of the Evaluation Hearing to the parent/guardian or adult student. The parent/guardian or adult student may request one postponement of the previously scheduled Evaluation Hearing for good cause, not to exceed five (5) school days.

At the Evaluation Hearing, the parent/guardian or adult student shall be informed of the reason for the Evaluation Hearing and the evidence supporting a finding that independent study is not in the student’s best interest. If the student and/or representative do/{does} not attend the Evaluation Hearing, the Administration will review the relevant information and make a determination in the student’s absence.

The student and/or their representative shall be given the opportunity to present information and/or witnesses to the Administration either orally or in writing or both during the Hearing. The Administration shall take any information presented by the parent/guardian or adult student into consideration when determining whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain in independent study.  Additional factors to be considered shall include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Student’s grades at the time of the evaluation
  2. Teacher observation/feedback
  3. Standardized/local testing data
  4. Student’s progress in independent study curriculum
  5. Monthly review of work
  6. Annual portfolio
  7. Parent, student, observation
  8. Norm - and criterion-referenced tests
  9. Student demonstrations
  10. Student work samples
  11. Student self-evaluation

The Administration’s decision shall be provided in writing to the parent/guardian or adult student within three (3) days of the evaluation.  The Administration may:

  1. Find remaining in independent study is in the student’s best interest,
  2. Place the student on attendance probation to be evaluated again at a later date if the student continues to fail to engage in daily activities,
  3. Use other alternatives to improve attendance, or
  4. Find that it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in independent study.

If the Administration finds that it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in independent study, then the student shall be withdrawn from enrollment at CWCS and the parent/guardian or adult student shall immediately enroll in a site based program through the local school district or other appropriate educational program.

Students with a Section 504 Plan or IEP[LC3]:

  1. If the student who is subject to an evaluation under this policy as to whether remaining in independent study is in the best interest of the pupil has a Section 504 Plan or IEP, CWCS shall conduct a manifestation determination (“MD”) to evaluate whether the student missed assignment(s) as a result of:
    1. The student’s disability; or
    2. CWCS’ failure to properly implement the student’s Section 504 Plan or IEP.
  2. If the MD finds that missed assignment(s) is/are a manifestation of the student’s disability, CWCS shall convene an IEP Meeting or Section 504 Meeting to determine whether the independent study program is in the best interests of the student and provides the student with an educational benefit or whether the student should be referred to an alternative placement and educational program that would better satisfy the student’s unique needs. 
  3. CWCS shall provide the parent(s) with the applicable Procedural Safeguards.

Appeal:

The Administration’s decision shall be subject to an appeal to a Committee of the Board of Directors.  The parent/guardian or adult student shall submit a written request to the Board of Directors, outlining the reasons for the appeal.

The appeal must be requested in writing and received within five (5) school days following the Evaluation Hearing. The written appeal must be received by the CWCS Main Office in Waterford on or before the close of the business day (4:00 p.m.) within five (5) school days following the Evaluation Hearing. The CWCS Main Office in Waterford must be called or emailed to confirm receipt of appeal.

Upon receipt of a request for an appeal hearing, the Board of Director Committee shall schedule the appeal to be heard within fifteen (15) school days of receipt of the request.  The Board of Director Committee shall send out written notice of the date, time and location of the meeting to the parent/guardian or adult student.  The Board of Director Committee shall hear the appeal in closed session, unless the parent/guardian or adult student requests in writing to have the matter heard in open session.

The appeal hearing shall proceed as follows:

  1. The Committee shall review the request for appeal document and any other documents submitted by the parent/guardian or adult student.  The Committee shall also review all records considered by the Administration at the Evaluation Hearing.
  2. The student or their representative may address the Committee regarding the appeal.
  3. The Administration may address the Committee in response to the parent/guardian or adult student’s appeal.

The parent/guardian or adult student shall be informed in writing of the Committee’s final decision within five (5) school days following the conclusion of the appeal. The decision of the Board of Director Committee is final.