• Craven County Schools Policy Code 4400*

    *Excerpts as applicable to WCHS; full policy is available at this link.
    ** Items in BLUE are additinal information as applicable to WCHS

    Attendance in school and participation in class are integral parts of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Through regular attendance, students develop patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory. The State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of 7 (or younger if enrolled) and 16 attend school. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.

    A student’s attendance is a critical factor in determining his/her success in school. Therefore, Craven County Schools believe that parents, students and schools need to work together to have all students attend school at the highest rate possible.

    A. General Guidelines (K-12)

    a) Attendance: An absence for grades 9-12 is defined as the failure to be in attendance for at least 90 percent of the required allotted daily instructional time per class period. The school principal may designate whether the 90 percent will be at the beginning or the end of the class period.  At WCHS, this equates to 10 minutes at either the beginning or end of class.

    b) Perfect Attendance is defined as a student’s being present each day enrolled in a school with no absences, no tardies and no early checkouts.

    c) Lawful/Excused Absences: The following shall constitute excused absences for the temporary nonattendance of
    the student provided that the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian provides an excuse within two days of the student’s return to school (K-8). Absences for grades 9-12 will be reviewed, if necessary, at the end of each semester. A principal or designee may require additional documentation from medical service providers, court officials, or other appropriate officials.  At WCHS, ALL excused absences require 3rd party documentation; a parent note will be kept on file for record-keeping purposes, but is not suffienct for an EXCUSED absense.

    i) Illness or Injury – An absence is excused when the absence results from illness or injury which prevents the student from being able to attend school.  At WCHS, a note from a doctor or other medical professional is required.

    ii) Quarantine - An absence is excused when isolation of the student is ordered by the school nurse, local health officer, or by the State Board of Health.  At WCHS, a note from a doctor or other medical professional is required.

    iii) Death in the Immediate Family - An absence is excused when it results from the death of a member of the immediate family of the student. For purposes of this regulation, the immediate family of the student includes, but is not necessarily limited to, grandparents, parents, brothers, and sisters.  At WCHS, a copy of an obituary or funeral service program is required; generally, (1) day is allocated as an excused absence.

    iv) Medical or Dental Appointment - An absence is excused for a medical or dental appointment.  At WCHS, a note from a doctor or other medical professional is required.

    v) Court or Administrative Proceedings - An absence is excused when it results from the attendance of a student at the proceedings of a court or administrative tribunal if the student is party to the action or under subpoena as a witness.  At WCHS, a letter from a lawyer, court official, or other legal professional is required.

    vi) Religious Observance - An absence is excused up to 5 days if the tenets of a religion to which the student or his/her parent adhere require or suggest the observances of a religious event. Principal approval must be granted 5 days prior to the absence.

    vii) Educational Opportunity - While daily attendance at school is critical to a student’s success, occasionally there are valid educational opportunities such as travel that will greatly enhance a child’s education. Absences may be considered excused if they meet the criteria for an Educational Opportunity.  These absences from school will still count as an “absence” but will be considered “excused” due to an Educational Opportunity.  To be granted “excused” absences to participate in an Educational Opportunity, a parent must do the following:

    1. Request that the absence be considered an Educational Opportunity in writing at least one week prior to the absence. The letter must give an explanation of specific circumstances of the trip that would warrant it being documented as an Educational Opportunity.

    2. The teacher may require the student to complete an age-appropriate journal of events for the trip.

    3. The teacher may require the student to provide at least five pictures representative of the places visited.

    4. Make up all assignments within the time agreed upon by the teacher. Work may be requested prior to the absence. An agreement will be signed by the principal of the school, the child’s teacher(s), the parent and the student regarding the requirements and the deadline for their completion prior to the absence. The absences will be considered “unexcused” until all items on the agreement are completed. Once the student returns to school and all requirements are met, the agreement will be signed by the teacher as complete and given to the principal. It is the teacher’s responsibility to change the absences to “excused” once given final approval by the principal of the school.

    viii) Students of military parents being deployed or returning from deployment should receive an excused absence for the day of deployment, and/or the day of return from deployment.

    ix) Cultural Experiences – Students who are participating in performances not sponsored by Craven County Schools may be counted present as attending a field trip if the field trip is approved by the Superintendent or designee. The director of the production or his/her designee will send a list of those students participating to the Principal who will then make a determination regarding approval of the students eligible to participate. Principals may designate the absence(s) as field trip status and as counted present on a student by student basis if the student is in good academic standing, with minimal absences and all assignments completed in a timely manner.

    d) Unlawful/Unexcused Absence:  An unlawful/unexcused absence is defined as (1) the willful absence of a student with or without the knowledge of the parent or (2) a student’s absence from school for any reason other than those described above as lawful/excused absences.

    e) Tardies (K-8) OMITTED

    f) Leaving School Early: Parents are discouraged from signing their child out early because this disrupts the student’s educational progress.  At the high school level, a principal or designee may require the parent, legal guardian, or approved adult (as indicated on the emergency contact card or in a written note from the parent or guardian) to sign the student out in person. A principal or designee may require verification of the need to leave school early if it is deemed that the frequency of early dismissals is interfering with the student’s educational progress. It is the responsibility of the student’s parent or legal guardian to notify the school as early as possible so the student’s teachers can provide the appropriate educational opportunities such as homework. If it is deemed by the school principal or designee that early dismissals are a chronic problem, the school shall require a parent conference be held to develop a plan to reduce early dismissals.

    g) Parent Notification and Involvement:  School personnel responsible for attendance within each school shall assist in the notification of parents at the beginning of each year of the requirement to read and indicate that they have read the notice by signing the Craven County Parent Permission Form. Said personnel shall also coordinate all school level attendance improvement activities and drop-out prevention activities related to school attendance.


    The following procedure will be implemented each semester:

    (a) First and Second Absences – Student will be responsible for making up class work within five school days.

    (b) Third-Tenth Absences – Student will be responsible for making up class work within five school days. If absences are consecutive more
    time may be allowed at the teacher’s discretion. Parents will be notified after the sixth absence.

    (c) Eleventh Absence – In grades 9-12, if a student misses more than 10 days, Course Credit will be denied unless waived by SSMT. Student may request an appeal for a waiver to the SSMT (Student Services Management Team) due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. illness, death in the immediate family, etc.). The occurrence may be referred to the principal/designee following appeal to the SSMT. Student must be able to document the number of absences in excess of ten (10) in order to be granted a waiver. The documentation may be from any absences during the semester. (Waiver decisions will be determined at the end of the semester.)


    Tardiness is defined as attempting to enter a class after the tardy bell stops ringing. Each high school in Craven County will develop tardy procedures that support optimal learning conditions. These tardy procedures will be made available to parents, students, and teachers, reviewed as necessary, and copies will be on file with the Director of Student Services. These procedures will be reviewed and/or revised as needed, but at least annually.