University School of Jackson

US Attendance Information

USJ believes regular class attendance is a critical component of the learning process, yet it also understands school absences due to illness are inevitable. If students have a fever or a contagious illness, they should not be at school. It is also important though for parents and students to understand that excessive absences, regardless of their nature, interrupt the learning process and cause students to miss classroom activities like class discussions and science labs that are extremely difficult to make up. Regular and punctual attendance is essential to maximizing the learning opportunities offered to USJ students and enables students to learn lessons about personal accountability and responsibility. Therefore, faculty and administration will closely monitor student attendance.

 

Tardiness

Students are expected be on time for all classes, meetings, advisories, and assemblies and are strictly prohibited from purposely avoiding such activities. A student arriving late to class disrupts the flow of any lesson, and for this reason and others, we ask parents and students to be punctual. For attendance purposes, if a student is more than 10 minutes late for a class, he or she is considered absent from that class.

Students who are unable to be in their assigned location at 8:00 a.m. must sign the tardy sheet and obtain a pass in the Upper School office in order to be admitted to class. When students arrive late to school, they will not be admitted late to a class without a pass from the Upper School office.

If a student is absent for an unforeseen reason, the Upper School office must be contacted via email or telephone by 8:30 a.m.

Tardies to classes will be recorded with the office by the classroom teacher. All such tardies will be counted as unexcused unless the student has a note from a teacher or administrator. Students who accumulate five (5) tardies in a quarter will be assigned a 45-minute detention. A continued pattern of tardiness will result in further disciplinary action which may include Saturday School, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, or expulsion. 

Students who are tardy to class may, at the discretion of the classroom teacher, be required to make up any assignments, labs, tests, or quizzes before leaving school that day.   

 

Appointments

In order to avoid being counted tardy when having an early morning professional appointment (doctors, dentists, physical therapists, etc.), the student must bring in a note from a parent or guardian the previous day or have the parent/guardian email or call the Upper School Office prior to the appointment.

Students who must depart campus before 3:05 p.m. for an professional appointment must present a note from a parent or guardian or have them call or email the Upper School office to confirm the appointment prior to 8:30 a.m. USJ is a closed campus, and no student may leave campus during the day without the permission of the Upper School office and without signing out in the Upper School office. When missing class(es) due to an appointment, students need to get any assignments they might miss and discuss with the instructor when such assignments need to be completed.

Upon arriving at or returning to school after a professional appointment on the same day, students must sign in at the Upper School office upon their arrival and present documentation from a medical professional verifying the visit. They will then receive a pass to their next class.

Parents are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments after school or during periods when USJ is not in session.

 

Absences

Absences are classified as either excused or unexcused. Absences are considered unexcused until the USJ Upper School Secretary receives appropriate notification. The administration reserves the right to make this determination. Students may not receive academic credit for work during an officially unexcused absence. The specific provisions of this requirement are noted below. All students returning to school following an absence, regardless of the reason, must report to the Upper School office with a signed note or an email from a parent or guardian, stating the reason for the absence.

Whether or not an absence is excused, in order to receive Upper School credit for a course at University School of Jackson, a student must not be absent from a course for more than ten (10) class periods during a semester or twenty (20) class periods over the course of a year. In the event that a student's absences are excessive or are jeopardizing his/her academic success, the school reserves the right to require a doctor's excuse in order for the missed days to be deemed excused.


Written warnings will be sent to student and parents/guardians if a certain number of absences are accrued, regardless of whether the absence was excused or unexcused.  

  • The first warning letter will be sent after a student has accumulated five (5) absences in a semester.
  • If a student accumulates ten (10) absences in a year (as opposed to within one semester), a meeting will be held with the parent(s) or guardian(s), the Dean of Students, and the Upper School Director.
  • Absences from class due to school-related activities (such as field trips, athletic events, or disciplinary action) will not be counted as absences.

Students and parents should understand that excessive absences have a negative effect on academic performance. The ten (10) maximum absences should not be regarded as allotted "cuts."

After ten (10) absences in a class during a semester or twenty (20) absences over the course of a year, a student will be required to appear before the Attendance Review Board to appeal for class credit.  

  • The Attendance Review Board will consist of the Upper School Director, the Dean of Students, and two faculty members.  
  • Students who appear before the Attendance Review Board must furnish documentation which illustrates a valid reason for missing class.
  • The Attendance Review Board will make a recommendation to the Head of School as to whether or not a student will receive credit for a class in which he or she has exceeded the allowable number of absences.   

 

Students are expected to furnish valid reasons for missing class. Valid reasons for missing class include:

  1. Personal illness
  2. Court appearances
  3. Family illness, medical emergency, or death in the family
  4. Scheduled healthcare appointments for which the Upper School office was previously notified
  5. College visits
  6. Religious holidays
  7. School-sponsored extracurricular activities
  8. Pre-arranged Family trips up to two days per academic year with parents or guardians
  9. Pre-arranged absences approved by the Upper School Director

 

Unless excused for extraordinary circumstances by the Upper School Director, students who are absent for the reasons outlined below will not be given an excused absence and may not receive credit for work missed.  Unexcused absences are:

  • Non-school instruction
  • Truancy
  • An absence not listed under “valid reasons for missing class” (above) and not previously approved by the Upper School Director
     

In accordance with Tennessee state law (49-6-3007) which applies to all independent schools in the state of Tennessee, when a student accrues five (5) unexcused absences from school, written notice will be given to the student’s parent or guardian and disciplinary action will be taken. If the parent or guardian fails to rectify the absenteeism, the USJ administration is required by law to report said absenteeism to the appropriate local governmental authorities.

 

All questions regarding attendance requirements should be directed to the Upper School Director. In the event of communication problems or differences of opinion between home and school, the school reserves the right to categorize a particular absence.

 

Pre-arranged Absences

The school's vacations are generous in both number and length, and therefore, USJ expects parents and students to observe the dates specified on the school calendar. USJ discourages out-of-town trips or other discretionary absences on school days, especially towards the end of each semester, as such absences force students to miss classroom discussions and activities and often have a detrimental effect on students’ academic output and achievement. Exceptions, which must be requested in advance by parents and students via email or in writing, may be considered. Only absences for which a Pre-Arranged Absence Form has been completed will be considered.
 

The Pre-Arranged Absence Form must be requested from the Upper School office one calendar week (seven days) prior to the absence date in order for the prearranged absence to be considered excused. After the Upper School Director classifies the absence as excused or unexcused, the form must be signed by each of the student’s teachers and submitted to the Upper School office for its records. The student should request all assignments from teachers and make arrangements to make up any missed tests or quizzes. Failure to follow the procedures outlined above may result in unexcused absences or zero grades for the days missed. If a student's academic standing is in jeopardy, a pre-arranged absence may not be granted.

 

Upper School Non-School Sponsored Enrichment Activity Policy

For students who engage in non-school sponsored academic, artistic and athletic enrichment activities/opportunities that require them to be absent from school, USJ has the following expectations for such absences to be excused:

  • Families must request a pre-arranged absence form at least two weeks prior to the scheduled activity. Absence requests may be emailed to Upper School Director, Ben Murphy at [email protected] or Upper School Assistant, Kim Rainey at [email protected] and include the following:

 

  • The dates and activity to be scheduled.
  • Letter from the Coach/Director/Coordinator of the event detailing expected travel dates and schedules.
  • Pre-arranged absence forms will be issued through the Upper School office. Students are responsible for picking up the form, having their teachers sign it and returning it to the office at least seven calendar days prior to the absence.
  • Students will be expected to follow the original emailed schedule of days/class periods missed for the activity.Any additional days/class periods missed will be considered unexcused. An unexcused absence may mean a student does not receive academic credit for any assignments, tests/quizzes he or she will miss during the absence.
  • Communication with teachers regarding assignments, tests/quizzes and projects will be the responsibility of the student prior to his or her absence for the enrichment activity.  Students should coordinate a schedule for makeup assignments/tests/quizzes/projects with each of their teachers prior to leaving for their event. Students will be expected to follow this schedule upon their return.
  • Families are asked to be aware of the number of school days a student will be absent for his or her enrichment activity.
  • USJ administration reserves the right to categorize absences for such enrichment activities as unexcused if it determines absences for such activities are becoming excessive in number.

 

College Visits

The Pre-Arranged Absence Form for College Visits may be obtained from the Director of College Advising.  The College Advising Office approves college visits on a case-by-case basis.  A college visit is an official campus visit during which the student meets with the admissions department. In order for a college visit to be excused, it must meet the following guidelines: 1) Parent/guardian must contact the College Advising Office by email or phone at least seven calendar days prior to the planned visit 2) The student should obtain a prearranged college visit form from College Advising seven days in advance of the visit. The form must be signed by a member of the College Advising Office to be valid and and must be returned to College Advising.  3) All teachers must be given the form seven days in advance of the visit and make-up work must be completed in the time frame allotted by the teacher. 4) While on the college visit, the student must secure evidence of visiting the admissions office. If the student does not bring evidence of the visit to the College Advising Office within three school days of returning from the college visit, the visit will be unexcused.

For More Information

Benjamin Murphy
Upper School Director

[email protected]

Kim Rainey
Upper School Assistant

[email protected]

Don Roe
Middle School Director

[email protected]

Becky Baskin
Middle School Assistant

[email protected]

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