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One Parkway, Suite #204  *  Bethel, Maine  04217

Tel. (207) 824-2185   *   Fax (207) 824-2725

Mark C. Kenney         Superintendent of Schools    

“It's All About Students! Everything and Every Decision!”  

Re: Updated Attendance Procedures for MSAD#44

School Year 2023-2024 

To our MSAD#44 Families,

Regular school attendance is the first step in achieving academic success for our students.  Our goal is to have students in class with their teachers and peers to maximize their learning opportunities. We know that things happen, and if your student is ill, keeping them home is the right thing to do.  If a student misses excessive class time, it makes it very difficult for a teacher to assess their achievement of the learning standards.  It is important to make sure our expectations and practices across the district are consistent no matter which building your student attends. We always want to work with parent(s) and guardian(s) to help your students learn to take responsibility for regular attendance while they are students here.  If you need help with this, then please contact school administrators or social workers for assistance.   We hope that parent(s)/guardian(s) will do their best and try to schedule appointments outside the normal school day whenever it is possible. The student will be responsible for making up the work missed during an excused absence within five (5) days of the absence.

There are three types of attendance status the office must use for state reporting purposes:  

Present , Excused Absence, or Unexcused Absence

(A student is considered present if they attend 50% or more of their instructional day)

State of Maine Law, Title 20A, Section 500, states a person’s absence is excused when the absence is for any of the reasons listed here and only these: 

  • Personal Illness 

  • Appointments with health professionals that cannot be made outside the regular school day; 

  • Observance of recognized religious holidays when it is required during the regular school day; 

  • Emergency family situations 

  • Planned absence for personal or educational purposes that has prior administrative approval. 

We ask that the parent(s)/guardian(s) notify the main office in writing (email or a note) if your child is going to be absent.  If parents are not able to notify the office until after the absence, which can happen, we ask that you submit a signed note or email within five (5) days of the absence for the absence to be deemed excused.  You may excuse a maximum of ten (10) absences in the year.  Phone calls and text messages cannot act as a substitute for this documentation unfortunately per the state regulations.  It is greatly appreciated if you are able to call and let the office know on the day of the absence or after you receive the robocall still, however we still need a written note or email either the day of the absence or upon your student’s return to add to their file for proper documentation please and thank you.

When a student accumulates seven (7) unexcused absences in a year, the parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive written notification and the Principal or his or her designee may have a conference with the student. The parent(s)/guardian(s)and student may also be requested to meet with the administration.  At the high school level, when a student has accumulated more than five (5) unexcused absences in a half credit course, or more than ten (10) unexcused absences in a year long course, that student may not receive credit for the course.

On occasion, students miss school for reasons that are anticipated in advance. Please try to minimize planned absences as much as possible. Planned Absence Forms are available in each office for this and need to be completed prior to a student being out. Students are responsible for following the procedures listed below before the planned absence: 

  • Bring in a note from the parent(s) to attach to the form. 

  • Take the form to teachers to sign and make any needed notations. (must be signed by the parent or have a note attached first) 

  • Return the form to the main office five days prior for the principal to approve and file.

We appreciate your collaboration with us on this and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building administrator.  It is understood that this is a change for many, and our goal is to build consistency across the district in all buildings so we are in state compliance.  Thank you very much for your help in achieving this goal.  We are all looking forward to a great school year together!