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Elementary School News

December 19, 2012

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Attendance Q & A’s at MRH Elementary

Almost halfway through the 2012-2013 school year, most families have managed to get into a successful morning routine. Understandably there are some days when things just don’t seem to go our way - whether it be illness, traffic or a finicky alarm clock - students can find themselves faced with taking a sick day or walking into school tardy. When this happens, parents are urged to call the MRH Elementary 24 Hour Attendance Line at (314) 256-7202 to report their child will be late or absent from school that day. Absences can also be reported via email at: kris.ricks@mrhschools.net

“Being just a few minutes late, or leaving school a few minutes early may not seem like a big deal, but the accumulated time a student is missing in the classroom adds up faster than you might think.” says MRH Elementary Counselor Mary Darst.

A student who arrives 10 minutes late every day, will have missed almost an hour of instruction every week. Over the course of a school year, this can leave a chronically tardy student considerably behind compared to classmates who arrive on time every day.

MRH ECC Counselor Michelle Manuel recently wrote in her letter to parents regarding the importance of School Attendance: “Students who attend school regularly learn more and are more successful than students who do not. Being in school gives students more time to interact with teachers and classmates. They have more time to ask questions and practice important skills. The coursework in school can be very challenging  if a student misses school time on a regular basis. Students who are absent or frequently tardy may fall behind resulting in academic problems. Students who come to school every day and work hard, do better in school. Good attendance also helps students develop responsible work and study habits, which prepare them for the working world after school.”

What time is a student considered late or tardy?
Our school day begins and students are expected to be with their class, ready to learn by 7:30 a.m.. If a student is not with their class when the MRHE clock reaches 7:31 a.m., they are marked absent for first period by their teacher. Late students are required to pick up a tardy pass from Mrs. Ricks before joining their class so they can be given credit for the school day beginning at the time they arrive. Students can obtain a quick pass as they arrive in the atrium if they are no more than 10 or 15 minutes late joining their class. After that, they must go to the Student Services office (located upstairs, adjacent to the Nurse’s office) and pick up their late pass.

How can I tell if my child is too sick for school?
MRH Elementary policy states that if a student has symptoms of fever, vomiting, or diarrhea - they must be fever/vomiting/diarrhea free for 24 hours (without medication) before they can return to school. But sometimes a child just wakes up complaining of a “tummy ache” or “sniffles.” In these cases parents faced with tough decisions may take comfort in the fact that MRHE has a full time nurse who is available to assess their child’s needs during the school day. Nurse Ashley Shepherd has over eight years experience as a school nurse and offers students a place to visit if they require assistance for minor medical issues that may arise during the school day.

“Occasionally I do need to contact a parent about a sick child, “ says Nurse Ashley. “So it is imperative that parents have current phone numbers on file.” 

Parents can call the main office at (314) 644-4403 or email Ms. O’Connor directly at: cheryl.oconnor@mrhschools.net  to update their contact information. With an up-to-date, completed and signed Consent to Dispense Medication form, Nurse Ashley can treat a student and most often send them back to class ready to learn within five minutes.

What is considered a “normal” amount in terms of days absent or tardy during the school year?
Although there are some instances of illness or family issues that arise during the course of the school year, most students do not acquire more than five tardies and/or three full days of absence during the entire year. All absence should be reported to the Attendance Secretary, Kris Ricks by the student’s parent or guardian. If a student is out sick three days in a row, or is approaching 10 or more total absences during the school year,  a doctor note will be required to excuse any further absence.

How can I encourage good attendance?
Insisting on regular school attendance helps teach your child responsibility. Set and adhere to a specific bedtime routine, attempt to make appointments during non-school hours and plan vacations during designated break times. And “Get involved with your child’s school,” continues Ms. Manuel. Missouri law states once your child is enrolled in school, that school is required to make sure responsible effort is being made by parents in regard to their child’s attendance.

Families should call Kris Ricks in the Attendance office at (314) 256-7202 if they have any other questions, need information or assistance regarding attendance.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.