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