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Elementary K-5

Parents/Guardians of a student who will not be in school should call every day of absence to the appropriate Student Absence Answering Service: (They are available 24 hours a day).

Bridgewater ………………………….507.664.3306 or Greenvale Park…………………….507.645.3506 or Spring Creek……………………….507.645.3474 or

If a phone call is not received by 8:30 a.m. and your child does not arrive at school, you will be telephoned to verify the absence.

Students who arrive after the beginning of the school day are to check in with the front office for a late arrival slip before reporting to their classroom. If an absence is anticipated, call the attendance line prior to the absence.

Note: Parents/Guardians may not take their child from the school premises without notifying the office. For students to leave school early, parents/guardians must send a note to the classroom teacher and call the front office or attendance line. When leaving early, parents/guardians are to meet students in the office and sign them out. It is believed that elementary students benefit from continuity in their educational program. If an educational family trip needs to occur during school, parents/guardians should contact their child’s teacher so that class work that is missed can be made up. Because it is difficult to predict exactly how instruction will be paced during a student’s absence, it may be necessary for students to make up work after they return.

Attendance Areas: District resident students attending Bridgewater, Greenvale Park, or Spring Creek shall be eligible for transportation to the school in their attendance area provided that they live beyond the walk boundary.

Walk Zone: The walk boundary for students in grades K through 5 is approximately .75 mile. Distances are calculated from the school property, using streets and paved pedestrian paths. If you are unsure whether your child is eligible for bus transportation, call Benjamin Bus.

Non-Resident Students (Open-Enrolled): The district will provide transportation to open enrolled (non-resident) students who are attending Northfield Public Schools, using the closest safe pick-up/drop-off point on an existing route that serves the school that the student attends.

After School Activities: Transportation is not provided on regular route buses for non-school activities such as work, music or dance lessons, scouts, church activities, etc.

Safety: All elementary students in kindergarten through grade 5 are required to complete bus safety training at the beginning of every school year. Parents/Guardians should review the following safety rules with their children.
● Bus doors will not be opened until students form an orderly line ready for boarding.
● When crossing the road to get on or off the bus, students must wait until the bus has stopped, the stop arm is out with red lights flashing, and the driver has indicated to the student to cross. Students must cross in front of the bus only; never behind the bus.
● Students should follow the directions of the driver.
● Students are to remain seated while the bus is in motion. Share the seat with others. Keep arms, legs, and belongings to yourself.
● Students will not be allowed to extend any part of their body or place objects outside the windows. Windows may be opened halfway only, with permission of the bus driver.
● Students should talk quietly and act courteously at the bus stop and on the bus. No swearing, fighting, teasing, harassing, or horseplay. Be respectful of property at the bus stop. ● Students must not throw any object inside the bus or out of the bus.
● No eating on the bus. No beverages other than water on the bus. Use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, lighters, matches, or vaping products on the bus or at the bus stop is prohibited.
● No weapons or hazardous objects on the bus.
● No animals, insects, or pets on the bus or at the bus stop.
● Students must not damage the bus or tamper with emergency exit devices.
● Students should help to keep their bus clean and safe.

Behavior, Bus Incident Reports: If a student is involved in a behavioral incident on a school bus or at a school bus stop or transfer point, a bus incident report form is issued by a driver, the bus company safety director, or school employee. The purpose is to provide communication to parents/guardians regarding the incident. A copy goes to the student’s school, and corrective action may be initiated by the school district. When a student receives a bus incident report, the parent/guardian must sign the form and the student must present the signed form to the bus driver when boarding in the morning on the following day, or the next time the student rides the bus, whichever comes first. If a child is suspended from the bus, parents/guardians will be notified by school district administration.

Suspension of Riding Privileges: Transportation is a privilege and not a right for an eligible student. A student’s eligibility to ride a school bus may be revoked for a violation of school bus safety or conduct policies, or violation of any other law governing student conduct on a school bus pursuant to the school district’s discipline policy. Revocation of a student’s bus riding privilege is not an exclusion, expulsion, or suspension under the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act. Revocation procedures for a student who is an individual with a disability under 20 U.S.C. §1415 (Individuals with Disabilities Act), 29 U.S.C. § 794 (the Rehabilitation Act), and 42 U.S.C. § 12132, (Americans with Disabilities Act) are governed by these provisions. (Minn. Stat. § 121A.59)

Repayment for Damage to School Buses: Students and/or parents/guardians shall repay the bus owners for damages due to vandalism of school buses.

Attendance Procedures: Every minute of a child’s time at school is important. Children who are absent for even one day, or who arrive later than their classmates, miss valuable instruction time and can easily fall behind in school. They also miss important socialization time and fun with their peers. With that in mind, please note the following.

Excused absences or tardies require parent/guardian communication with the school on or before the day of absence or tardiness. If such communication takes place, the following shall be considered an excused absence.
A. Ill – flu, cold/cough, headache, strep throat, etc.
B. Family emergency/special events – accident, funeral, wedding, educational family trip
C. Childhood diseases
D. Doctor/dental appointments that cannot be made outside of school hours
E. Taking child home at the request of the school

Unexcused absences or tardies: No parent/guardian communication with school, sleeping in and suspension from school.
1. Any student not in school will be counted absent. Please call the school attendance line at your child’s school (see numbers on previous page) by 8:30 a.m. every day that your child will not be in school. This line is a recorded message that you can call anytime, 24 hours a day. If the student is absent and there is no contact with a parent/guardian, the child will be considered unexcused.
2. Any student that arrives after the bell rings or leaves school early, for any reason, will be counted tardy. You must call the attendance line to report that your child will be tardy.
3. A letter of concern will be sent to the parents/guardians of any student who has three unexcused absences or six tardies, or excused absences that are negatively affecting the students’ classroom achievement. Four (4) unexcused tardies will be considered one (1) unexcused absence.
4. A letter will be sent to parents/guardians requesting a meeting with the principal, nurse, social worker, and teacher to discuss their student’s attendance when the student has five unexcused absences or ten tardies or excused absences that are negatively affecting the student’s classroom achievement.
5. Since unexcused absences, tardies or excused absences can negatively affect the student’s classroom achievement, should they continue after a meeting with staff and parents/guardians, a follow up by the District Truancy Coordinator will take place. If appropriate, an educational neglect report will be filed with the County Social Services.

Please try to schedule dentist, orthodontist, and doctor appointments outside of school hours. Also planning family vacations during days when school is not in session will help ensure minimal loss of instructional time for your student. Share with your child how important it is to be at school on time. Make sure they are in bed on time every night so that they can get up on time in the morning. We can help children learn a valuable life-long lesson by always encouraging them to be on time.

Middle School 6-8

Compulsory Attendance Law Minnesota State Law provides that children enrolled in school after 1988 shall attend a public school or a private school, for a period of not less than nine months during any school year until age 18 or until they graduate. Both parents/guardians and students have responsibility for school attendance. This section outlines the procedures for attendance and consequences for unexcused absences. PLEASE REVIEW WITH YOUR CHILD.

Rules, Policies, and Guidelines
1. Reporting: Teachers record and report each student absence and tardy in every class period.
2. Verification: All student absences are verified by the Attendance Office. Verification occurs in several ways. Parents/Guardians call in, send a note, or the Attendance Office calls home.

Absence Procedure: If a student must be absent from class or arrive late to school, the student’s parent/guardian must call the Attendance Line at 507.663.0655 the day of the absence or earlier. The attendance line is available 24 hours a day for your convenience. Absences must be excused within 24 hours or the absence may remain unexcused. School personnel will make every effort to contact the parent/guardian of absent students if the school has not received a telephone call from the parent/guardian on the day the student is absent. If the school and parent/guardian do not connect on the day of the absence, an automated email and/or text will be sent to the primary phone number and/or email in the student’s account. A call or email from a parent/guardian will also be accepted the morning the student returns.

3. Definition of Excused/Verified Absences
School activities, illness, non-illness absences requested by parent/guardian, out-of-school suspension , in-school suspension

4. Definition of Unexcused Absences
Leaving school without permission, any absence that does not meet the criteria specified in excused/verified absences

5. Consequences of Tardies
Students may receive a detention or a lunch detention for a set of 3 tardies in any class. If the detention is served within five school days, the student’s tardies are erased for that class. If the detention is not served, detention will double or a full day of in-school detention may be assigned.

6. Consequences of Abuse of Attendance Policy When students have accumulated an excessive amount of excused absences, the following steps are followed to attempt to have the student improve attendance:
a. Guidance counselors are made aware of the concern about absences.
b. Guidance counselors meet with the student and contact parents/guardians about the concern.
c. The student and his/her family receive a notification letter of the attendance concern. Middle School.
d. The student and his/her family receive a notification letter noting that school officials will no longer accept excuses from the parent/guardian. A doctor’s written verification for each absence will then be required.

7. Consequences of Unexcused Absence
Truancy. When a student has accumulated 7 unexcused absences during the school year, school officials can file truancy with the student’s resident county.

8. Possible Loss of Credit
In general, students who are absent 12 or more times (excused or unexcused) or have 5 unexcused absences during a semester may have credit withheld for that semester. The Student Support Team will monitor this by sending a notification before students reach this level so students and parents/guardians have time to correct the problem. If the problem is not resolved, students may receive a grade of “F” in those classes that the attendance requirement was not met. If the student/parent/guardian disagrees with the decision they may request a review. The review committee will consist of the Principal, Assistant Principal, a Counselor and a teacher of the student/parents/guardians choice. Family vacations, extended illnesses, absences approved by a doctor and other long absences may be approved by the Administration and these absences will not count as part of the 12 absence limit.

9. Special Attendance Procedures
. If a student has an appointment during the school day, the parent/guardian should send a note with the student who must bring it to the attendance secretary. The secretary will give the student a pass to leave class at the appropriate time. Students must sign out before they leave the building and upon their return to school. If a student does not know the appointment or has forgotten a note, the parent/guardian may call the Attendance Office to excuse the student from school.
Illness while at school. If a student becomes ill during the day, they should get a pass from a teacher to go to the nurse. The nurse will determine whether a call home is warranted. Leaving the building during the school day. Students cannot leave the school building during the school day without permission to leave or having a parent/guardian sign them out. Failure to do the above will result in an unexcused absence.

10. Appeal
Parents/Guardians may appeal the loss of credit due to unexcused absences under the following circumstances if:
A good faith effort has been made to delete unexcused absences using the detention option.
A request for an appeal hearing has been made within one week of notification of the loss of credit.
Good cause is demonstrated for the failure to abide by the attendance rules.

Any appeal will be decided by a Review Committee consisting of one (1) counselor, two (2) teachers and an administrator. The administrator will convene the meeting and provide any available information about the situation but will not have a vote in the final disposition. If parents/guardians are not satisfied with the decision of the Appeal Committee, the decision may be appealed to the administrator.

11. Exceptional Attendance
Guidelines to qualify for perfect attendance:
1. No tardies excused or unexcused for the full academic year.
2. No more than two periods of excused absence for the full academic year. This does not include school related activities.

High School 9-12

Attendance at school is a shared responsibility between the individual student, and their parents/guardians and the school. State law stipulates that it is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure that their son/daughter attends school. The expectation is for parents/guardians to provide an honest reason for absence or tardiness and the school determines whether a student’s absence/tardiness is excused or unexcused. Learning is enhanced by regular school attendance. Regular attendance assists in maximizing the educational benefits for each individual student.

Student Responsibilities
1. Attend each class and arrive on time prepared to learn and participate.
2. Inform teachers and office staff in advance of pre-excused absences.
3. Have a parent/guardian call the office within 48 hours of an absence.
4. Be aware of their own status in regard to tardies and absences in classes.

Parent Responsibilities
1. Encourage students to attend school regularly.
2. Notify the office by phone on the day of your child’s absence. Absences not verified within 48 hours of the student’s return to school will remain unexcused.
3. Limit absences by scheduling appointments, vacations, college visits, etc. on non-school days.
4. Notify the office in writing or by phone of a pre-excused absence at least 1 day prior to the absence.

Absence Procedure
If a student must be absent from class or arrive late to school, the student’s parent/guardian must call the Attendance Line at 663-0616 the day of the absence or earlier. The attendance line is available 24 hours a day for your convenience. Absences must be excused within 24 hours or the absence may remain unexcused. If the school and parent/guardian do not connect on the day of the absence, a note or phone call from a parent/guardian will be accepted the next morning. Absences may no longer be excused after the day the student returns. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to apply for an online access number to view their student’s attendance record. See website for more information on Family Access. All students who become ill during the school day are required to check out with the nurse’s office prior to leaving the building. Check out must include contact between school officials and parents/guardians prior to leaving the building. Failure to properly check out with the nurse’s office will cause the student to be unexcused and consequences may be assigned. Any student who leaves the building for any reason, without checking out, is considered unexcused. Checking out means contact between parent/guardian and school official before the student leaves the building.

Excessive Absences
Students with excessive absences will be referred to the Problem Solving Team (PST) for intervention. Students may be referred to Rice County’s Student Attendance Review Board. Students who miss 15 consecutive days of school will be dropped from NHS rolls per MN Statute.

Athletic & Academic Activities All students are encouraged to participate in the athletic/academic programs. Please access the Activities Office Website for more information.

Attendance Policy – Student Activities
In order to practice, rehearse, compete or perform in any NHS co-curricular activity, the student must be in attendance all day. Pre-arranged absences with the approval of the Principal, Assistant Principal, or Activities Director will be considered an exception to the policy. All coaches/advisors are to explain this rule to the participants at the beginning of their season. Coaches/Advisors are expected to enforce this policy. If absences are not cleared by a parent/guardian, the absence will be considered unexcused.

Unexcused Absences
Students who have an unexcused absence receive no credit from their teachers for the class activities performed on the day of the absence. Students with unexcused absences will be given appropriate consequences by their Assistant Principal. Consequences will be progressive with succeeding unexcused absences. We support students’ right to freedom of expression. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that freedom of expression cannot infringe other students’ rights nor disrupt the educational environment. There are consequences associated with any civil disobedience and for missing classes. If absences to attend a protest, strike, or similar event, are not cleared by a parent/guardian, the absence will be considered unexcused.

Attending Post-Season Competitions as Spectators
Students who wish to attend a state tournament as a spectator must have their parent/guardian excuse them at least one day prior to the day of the event. No phone calls or notes will be accepted the day of the event. The absence must be pre-excused. If a Northfield team is in the state tournament, the school will provide pre-registration, ticket information and fan bus information for students to sign up.

Academic Eligibility Policy Adopted June, 2019
The purpose of this academic eligibility policy is to monitor, motivate and assist the students who participate in co-curricular activity programs, in order for the student to be academically successful. While the school’s co-curricular programs are a vital part of the total education of our students, our primary mission is academics. Please reference the Co-Curricular Handbook for academic eligibility details.

Classification of Absences
Below is a list of some of the reasons an absence may be deemed “excused”:

  1. student illness (legal guardian must call the office or complete the online absence form to inform our school personnel with 48 hours).
  2. medical appointment (please make your best effort to schedule appointments outside of the school day)
  3. school sponsored curricular and co-curricular activities
  4. official religious holidays
  5. family emergencies verified by parent/guardian including family illness, injury or death
  6. post-secondary school visits
  7. authorized appointments with school personnel (principal, assistant principal, school psychologist, counselor)
  8. family vacations verified by parent/guardian
  9. *after a student has missed 10 or more days of school due to illness, a medical letter may be sent to the student’s home and documentation will be required for future absences
  10. administrator discretion

Below is a list of some of the reasons an absence may be deemed “unexcused”:

  1. babysitting
  2. work
  3. rest due to work
  4. missing or getting kicked off the bus
  5. oversleeping
  6. helping out at home
  7. car trouble
  8. child doesn’t meet immunized requirements or exemptions are not on file
  9. chronic or long-term illness (approximately 15 days) that is NOT verified by a doctor’s note and communicated to the administrative team

Unexcused tardiness for more than fifteen minutes is considered an unexcused absence.

Minnesota State Law (MN 120A.22) gives schools specific guidelines around what can and what can not be considered an excuse for missing school. Please be aware that the school administration holds the final say in whether an absence is excused. Parents/guardians notify the school of the reason for a student’s absence. The school must determine whether the reason fits the school board approved criteria and meets the requirement of the law.

Missing Classes: Students are not allowed to miss classes in order to make-up or complete work for another class. Parents/Guardians may not excuse students from classes to make-up or complete work for another class. The school reserves the right to require medical verification in cases where student absences are excessive.

Reinforcing Attendance at NHS

School-Home Communication

Tier I Response: (All students) Communication and strategies that support all students.  Teacher takes accurate attendance.  When students have unexcused absences, teachers will communicate with students and families. Automated messages will also be sent home daily from skyward.

At 3 unexcused absences and beyond, teachers will complete an ODR in skyward.

Tier II Response: (Some students) Evidence-based practices of moderate intensity that address the learning or behavior of some students.  Students who continue to make choices that result in unexcused absences will receive additional time and support to help improve in class attendance.

An ODR will be completed for students when they have 3 or more unexcused absences to notify the Tier II team that additional support is needed. An unexcused letter will be sent home and a student conference will take place with admin and/or a counselor.

Between 4-9 UNX absences:  Automated phone calls will occur with each unexcused absence.  Additionally, a letter will be sent to home with a request for participation in a support team (parent, student, counselor, admin. and *teacher) meeting.  At this meeting an appeal plan to remain in the class will be completed and shared with the team. *Teachers will attend based on availability during the school day.

  • Weekly monitoring and specific check-ins will take place throughout unexcused absences 4-9. An assigned point person will conference with students and reviews expectations – communication home
  • We will review indicators for appeal to remain in the class at or about 9 UNX: (Appeal Team:  Counseling, Admin, Teacher(s) student and parent)

The 3 indicators of progress below when determining next steps:

  1. Is the student making academic progress?
  2. How is general attendance (review all absence data)
  3. Consider the number of additional unexcused absences in the time frame leading up to 9 unexcused absences and habitual truant status.

If the student is under the age of 18, and has accumulated 10 or more unexcused absences, the parent/guardian will be notified that the student has met the definition of a “Habitual Truant”.  Students with an unexcused absence in one or more classes on any 10 days during the school year are deemed to be “Habitually truant”.  Parents, students, or administration may request a conference for the purpose of reviewing the attendance and achievement record of the student.  The purpose of the conference is to determine if there are unusual or extenuating circumstances, review attendance/academic appeal plan and current academic progress to determine next steps.

Tier III Response: (Few Students)  Individualized plans with increased intensity for students who show minimal response to tier I and II.

Responses when unexcused absences approach 10, the outcome may include, but not limited to:
1. possible referral to SARB (Student Attendance Review Board)
2. implement changes to attendance/academic appeal plan and continue to monitor progress
3. removal from the class with withdraw/fail (WF) and a transition to a credit recovery plan. If credit recovery option is not available, typically elective courses, the student will be placed in a study hall.

Homework Make-Up Policy
If a student is absent, they should email teachers directly asking for homework, check Schoology for assignments, and/or call a friend and ask them to bring work home for them. If a student knows they will be absent, it is their responsibility to connect with their teachers for their homework in advance. A parent/guardian will still need to report their student’s absence to the Attendance Office. The entire responsibility for making up school work missed due to any absence lies with the student. All classroom teachers will have a procedure for obtaining that make-up work.
1. Students may make up work missed due to an excused absence. Work missed as a result of an unexcused absence cannot be made up.
2. Students will have two days after returning from an absence to make arrangements with the teacher for completing work missed during the absence. Failure to make arrangements or failure to follow through with those arrangements will result in losing the right to make up the missed assignments.
3. Previously announced tests or projects are due immediately upon return to school. Individual Departments may elect to enforce alternative make-up test procedures.

Passes to Leave Campus
Under no circumstances may any student just sign-out and leave school. A student must have an excused reason to leave school and must be issued a pass to leave the building. Failure to follow this procedure will result in disciplinary consequences.

A student not in class when the bell rings is considered tardy. A tardy of more than (12) minutes without an authorized pass may result in additional consequences. The third unexcused tardy to the same class during a quarter and any subsequent unexcused tardies may result in detention being assigned and served during FLEX time. Excessive tardiness will be referred to an administrator for further disciplinary actions. The office will not issue tardy passes.

Last modified:  August 14, 2023