Attending School

Attendance Areas

There are seven elementary school buildings housing students from kindergarten through grade five.  Students from the seven elementary schools feed into two middle schools.  Students from Foster, Howe, and Washington Schools attend Mellon Middle School.  Students from Hoover, Jefferson, and Lincoln Schools attend Jefferson Middle School.  Students from Markham attend Jefferson Middle School, with a limited number of spaces available for transfer requests to Mellon Middle School.  All students attend the Mt. Lebanon High School.

Information about the specific boundaries for each elementary school can be found on the District website.

 

Absences from School

School attendance is an integral part of the instructional process because the involvement and interaction of all students are needed to make classes engaging and productive.  It is the parents’ responsibility for all students to attend school regularly.  Procedures and practices for school attendance derive from Policy JED.

Students must meet attendance requirements to be able to fully benefit from instruction, achieve expected progress, and matriculate to the next instructional level.  All attendance records are maintained and updated using the student information system or such other system as the District may adopt and reported on the Elementary Report Card, permanent record cards, and Dashboard.  

Permissible excused absences from District Schools are: (1) personal illness, (2) medical or dental appointments, (3) District approved tutorial programs not offered by the District, (4) quarantine, (5) death in the immediate family, (6) traditionally-recognized religious holidays, (7) religious instruction as defined below, (8) approved school activities and educational travel, (9) approved 4-H/FFA/FHA participation in authorized Pennsylvania agricultural fairs, (10) required court appearances or attendance, (11) other urgent reasons as approved by the District, and (12) suspension from school.

There may be other reasons for a student’s absence which supersede the importance of a day in school.  However, the school administrator is obligated to classify the absence according to school regulations.

 

Enrolling in School

Enrolling in School

Proof of residency, birth certificate or passport, and evidence of basic immunization must be presented before a child’s entrance to school as noted in Policy JID.  Enrollment forms for Kindergarten and students transferring to the District can be found on the District website or may be picked up in any school office.

Entrance Age

Entrance Age

Children who reach the age of five before September 8th or the first student day of school (whichever occurs later) are eligible to enter Kindergarten in September of that school year as per Policy JEB.  New entrants to kindergarten must be enrolled prior to the end of the first two weeks of school, transfer students accepted.

The enrollment process for new Kindergarten students begins on February 1 of the preceding school year and involves a screening process and parent information sessions in the spring. Information about these can be found on the District website or by contacting the school office.

Pre-Approved Absences Including Educational Travel

Parents requesting permission for such travel must complete a Pre-Approved Absence Request Form at least five days in advance of the proposed trip.  All trips must have some educational or family value for the students as predetermined by the building principal to be counted as an excused absence.  Students absent ten or more times per semester will be refused permission.  Students, who in the opinion of the professional staff, are performing less than satisfactory, will not be given permission to leave on a pre-approved absence.  Any absence denied for such reasons will be treated as an unexcused/unlawful absence.  The principal’s judgment to approve or disapprove this absence for such reasons stated above is final.

Pre-approved absences are strongly discouraged during standardized testing and may not be approved for this reason.  Only five days of absence will be pre-approved per student per year.

 

Re-admittance to School

In every case of absence, a student must provide an excuse (written or emailed) to the homeroom teacher within three (3) calendar days.  This should show the date or dates of absence, the reason for absence, and the parent’s signature.  Excuses should be submitted in advance when an absence is anticipated.  If the excuse is not given to the homeroom teacher by the tenth day after return, the absence will be considered unexcused.  The excuse must include the following information:
●    Full name of student
●    Date of absence
●    Reason for absence
●    Signature of parent/guardian (and/or licensed health care provider, where applicable)
●    [Note: An excuse can be emailed to the teacher/school provided it originates from the email address of the parent/guardian which is on file in the District.]

 

Re-admittance After Five (5) Days of Absence

After five (5) or more days of absence, students are required to re-enter school through the health office.  The health office will obtain information pertinent to the student’s Pennsylvania Health Record and will submit the completed readmission form to the attendance office and teacher.  A parent’s written statement for a school absence related to illness is generally all that is required.  However, in special circumstances a physician’s statement may be requested.  Parents are encouraged to notify the health office of any illness or injury which results in a long absence from school.  Currently, students missing 10 or more days a semester may not receive credit for their classes.

Unexcused Absences

The following constitutes unexcused absences:
●    Lack of a valid written excuse from the parent/guardian (and/or licensed health care deemed appropriate by the Principal)
●    Absence because of parental neglect
●    Unapproved educational travel
●    Oversleeping
●    Working at home
●    Other reasons not sanctioned under excused absences

 

Unlawful Absences

Any unexcused absence for students of compulsory school age is also unlawful.  Except as may be provided otherwise by applicable law, compulsory school age is the time from when the student enters first grade (but no later than age 8) to age 17 or graduation from high school, whichever occurs first.  There are exceptions:  in unusual circumstances, a student may not be able to attend school for severe psychological or medical reasons.  In such cases, parents must notify the principal, provide supporting documentation from a licensed health care provider, and work with school officials to develop a plan to ensure that the child receives an appropriate education and that the parent does not violate state attendance laws.  Temporary excuses based on medical, psychological or other urgent reasons may not exceed three (3) months.  Excusals anticipated to be over three (3) months shall be reviewed in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines.

    When absent, it is the student’s responsibility to complete those assignments deemed necessary by the teacher.  Arrangements to have daily work picked up or sent home with another student should be made by calling the office before 11:00 am or by emailing the teachers on the day of the absence.

 

Penalties for Unlawful Absence for Students of Compulsory School Age

First Offense: When a child has accumulated three days (or their equivalent) of
unlawful or unexcused absences as verified by the Principal or his/her designee, the
parent is notified by mail by the Superintendent (or a Principal as the Superintendent’s designee) with the First Offense Notice, advising the parent of the dates of unlawful or unexcused absences and including a description of the consequences that will follow if the child becomes habitually truant. The First Offense Notice shall be in the mode and language of communication preferred by the person in parental relation, may include an offer of a school attendance improvement conference and, when transmitted to a person who is not the biological or adoptive parent, shall be provided to the child’s biological or adoptive parent if the parent’s mailing address on file with the school and the parent is not precluded from receiving the information by court order.

Subsequent Offenses:  If the child continues to incur unlawful or unexcused absences after the District has issued the First Offense Notice, the District shall then offer by advance written notice a school attendance improvement conference to the child and the person in parental relation, unless a conference was held previously following the First Offense Notice. The following shall apply:
●    No legal requirement is placed upon the child or person in parental relation to attend the conference. The conference shall occur even if the person in parental relation declines to participate or fails to attend the scheduled conference after advance written notice and attempts to communicate via telephone.
●    The outcome of the conference shall be documented in a written school attendance improvement plan on a form substantially similar to one developed by the Department of Education.
●    Further legal action may not be taken by the school to address unexcused absences by the child until after the date for the scheduled school attendance improvement conference has passed.
●    The District shall not expel or impose out-of-school suspension, disciplinary reassignment or transfer for truant behavior.

 

Early Dismissals

Parents and students are strongly encouraged to make personal appointments before or after school hours since being dismissed early from school can cause a disruption to the educational process. A written or email request from the parent that includes the reason for the request must be submitted in advance. The allowed reasons for early dismissal are the same as for absences.  The District may also require that students who receive approved early dismissals for medical or dental appointments bring an appointment notice from the doctor when the excuse is issued or when the student returns from the appointment. In exceptional circumstances, prior written notice may be waived, and the parent must personally appear at the school to request a child's release. Students returning from early dismissals should report to the school office before going to the classroom.

Release Time for Religious Instruction

Students may be released from school for a total of not more than 36 hours per year in order to attend classes for religious instruction.  In advance of the student’s release, the parent or person acting in a parental role must identify and describe the instruction and the dates and hours for which the release time is requested.  The parent must, following each such absence, furnish in writing to the Superintendent (or a Principal as the Superintendent’s designee) a statement attesting that the student did in fact attend the instruction and the dates and hours for which such attendance took place.

Release time for religious instruction is considered an excused absence.  The student is responsible for making up the work, quizzes, and/or tests missed during the released time.

 

Tardiness

Students who are not inside the school at 8:30 am when the bell rings are considered tardy.  Tardiness is considered excused or unexcused for the same reasons as excused or unexcused absences.  Students who are tardy without an excuse are subject to academic and/or disciplinary consequences such as loss of recess time, school detention, etc.

School Calendar

The District and individual school calendars are posted on the District website at www.mtlsd.org.  A paper copy of the calendar is also mailed home to every family and additional copies may be available in the school office. Please note that the online calendar will have the most up-to-date and correct information including days off from school.

Transfer Requests

When families move within the District’s geographical boundaries, students are permitted to remain in their school of origin through grade 5. Parents are responsible for ensuring students have safe transportation to the school as safe walking routes would likely not be available. Transfer requests must be made in writing each year and should be submitted to the office of the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education in May or June of the preceding year. These requests may be denied for reasons of class size or concerns regarding school attendance. Upon completion of elementary school, students will then attend the middle school determined by their current residence.