Regular and consistent school and class attendance is an essential component of a successful learning experience for all children. Dedham's students must master a wide range of academic, social, and emotional skills and strategies over time. Doing so successfully requires thousands of hours of direct instruction, support, and practice that can only be accessed by attending school.
Attendance is so important that Massachusetts General Law requires it for all children between the ages of six and sixteen. Children who do not attend school regularly as defined by the law are considered truant and, if attendance does not improve, can result in the involvement of the local courts. A school district may excuse up to seven day sessions or fourteen half day sessions in any period of six months. In addition to this law, each school may have its own attendance policy with which parents/guardians should be familiar.
Dedham School Committee policy further details the District's expectations for attendance and the processes and procedures by which it is monitored and managed.
Absences are excusable for; illness, recovery from an accident, required court attendance, professional appointments, death in the immediate family, observation or celebration of a religious holiday, and such other good cause as may be acceptable to the Superintendent of Schools.
Absence for such reasons as vacations, non‐school activities, or visiting is discouraged. Late night activities that cause a student to be tardy or absent the following day are also discouraged.
Dedham Public Schools discourages the scheduling of dentist or doctor appointments during school hours unless it is an urgent situation.
Families must call and report their student(s) absent.
Whenever a student will be absent from school, the parents must inform the administration prior to 8:00 a.m. by calling the designated School Attendance Line and providing:
- Student Name
- Teacher, Homeroom or Team
- Reason for Absence
An administrator will call home when there is no information. An automated call will be made home at 10:00 a.m. to confirm when a student has been marked absent.
Reporting Your Student Absent
Avery Elementary School
Dedham High School
Dedham Middle School
Early Childhood Education Center
Greenlodge Elementary School
Oakdale Elementary School
Riverdale Elementary School
A doctor or nurse practitioner’s note will excuse an absence(s) from class provided that the note is written on the doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s stationery, showing the name of the patient (student) and stating that the student was under his/her care for a particular time interval. Dates MUST be included, that is, an open-ended/blanket doctor or nurse practitioner’s note will not be accepted. The doctor or practitioner ONLY must sign the doctor or nurse practitioner’s note. No signature stamps or copies will be accepted.
The doctor or nurse practitioner’s note must be brought to the main office no later than two weeks after the student’s return to school. Notes will not be accepted beyond the two week period. If the above procedure has been followed, the excused absence will be accepted for the dates included in the doctor’s /nurse practitioner’s note. In any case, work missed during absence must be made up within a two-week period, and it is the student’s responsibility to follow up with teachers to ensure that make up work is completed within this timeframe.
Absence may also be excused (with proper documentation) for court appearances and death in the immediate family or death of a classmate. If a student’s absence from class is excused under the above criteria, credit for class will be awarded provided that the student has made up all necessary work for the class. In the case of extended absences, a home tutor may be assigned by the School Administration Office.
Late Arrival To School
On time arrival at school each day allows students to get their day started in a calm and orderly fashion with their peers and teachers. Students who arrive after the school's designated start time are considered tardy and must follow the school's specific late arrival procedures (see below). Students who are regularly late to school will be contacted by the school to work with the family to support a timely arrival each day.
For reasons other than illness, early dismissals are discouraged if appointments can be made after school hours. If an early dismissal is absolutely necessary, please follow the school/level specific procedures that follow.
DHS Class Attendance - Absent or Late
Absent From Class
Any student who has five (5) or more unexcused absences from a class that meets five (5) times in a seven (7) day cycle during any marking period will receive no credit for that subject for that term.
Any senior who has three (3) or more unexcused absences from a class during the fourth (4th) marking period will receive no credit for that subject for that term.
Any student who has seventeen (17) or more unexcused absences from class in a year-long course, or 9 in a semester course, meeting five (5) times in a seven (7) day cycle, will not receive credit for that course.
If a student receives no credit for a subject during any term it will be reported as an “NC” on the report card and be calculated as a 50.
Late to Class
If a student knows they cannot reach a room on time, the student is to obtain a pass from the teacher who can account for their tardiness. If the student cannot obtain a pass at that time, the receiving teacher will admit the student and then decide whether the student should stay after school or bring a pass, which can be obtained later. The Main Office does not issue passes for unexcused tardiness to class. A student who is habitually tardy to class will be referred to the office where they will be issued a warning, a subsequent tardy to that class will result in an office detention. An automated call will be made home at 10:00 a.m. when a student is tardy to school.
Occasionally a student must be absent from school for an extended period of time. If a child requires an extended absence, the parent/guardian must contact the building principal or their designee to discuss the nature of the extended absence and ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are followed.
If a child is absent for an extended period of time and the District has not received communication about this absence the District will conduct a home visit to ensure the safety of the child.
Transfer or Withdrawal from School
When families relocate or choose to send their child to private school the following procedures must be followed at each level.
DHS - Attendance Buy-Back Policy
Any student who has been absent will have the opportunity to buy back (i.e., waive) up to one day of absences each term, according to the following guidelines:
• Inform your Assistant Principal of your intention to buy back a day and obtain the appropriate form
• Show that form to each of your teachers for initialing on the first day
• Attend school for seven consecutive days without incurring any tardiness or any discipline referrals
• Complete all assignments (including homework) for seven consecutive days • On the seventh day, have each teacher re-sign the form, verifying your attendance and class work
• Return the form at the end of the seventh day to the Assistant Principal’s office • If the student successfully fulfills the above guidelines, a one-day waiver will be granted • Students must check in with teachers regarding potential field trips or other issues.