Recently MISD communicated information that sought to clarify how the district is recording student attendance. After providing this information, we have received feedback from parents that indicates there are a few important items that needed additional clarification.  I want to thank those who took the time to reach out directly via phone or email. This outreach allowed us to gain a better understanding of the items that needed additional explanation.

Below are a few clarifications about how absences excused by Montgomery ISD will be categorized in Skyward:

  • It’s important to note that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) creates a list of absences that must be excused by school districts.
  • Additionally, school districts have the authority to excuse additional absences and determine how those absences are coded.
  • Montgomery ISD’s policy on how attendance is enforced has not changed. The only adjustment was the addition of the coding labels “recognized” and “unrecognized” in Skyward as it applies to absences. 
  • “AR” is short for “Absence Recognized” and is Montgomery ISD’s local coding for a locally excused absence that is outside the criteria of TEA’s list of absences that must be excused.
  • Moving forward, absences excused locally by Montgomery ISD (marked as AR – absence recognized) will be categorized as “other” in Skyward under the “details” tab in attendance (see graphic below). In other words, when you are reviewing your child's attendance, the absences that have been excused by MISD locally, but do not meet the state’s criteria for an excused absence will be categorized as “other”.This change will be applied retroactively to the beginning of the school year, and all absences excused locally will be categorized under “other” by Friday, November 3.
  • Absences that meet the criteria of those that must be excused by school districts will be marked as “excused” (see graphic below).
  • Unexcused absences with no parent or doctor note will be marked as “unexcused” (see graphic below).
Attendance Graphic

In Texas, there are two important ways absences are monitored for students: compulsory attendance and attendance for credit (90% rule):

Compulsory Attendance: State law requires students to attend school each day that instruction is provided. The law applies to children ages 6-19 and any students voluntarily enrolled in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten before age 6.

90% Attendance for Credit rule: State law requires students to be in attendance at least 90% of the days school or classes are offered.  If a student misses more than 10% they must make up class time or they will not earn credit for class or a final grade.

A parent note will code the absence as AR (Absence Recognized) instead of AU (Absence Unrecognized) and place the absence under “other”, meaning that it is excused by Montgomery ISD. With regard to the state's compulsory attendance laws, coding absences as AR allows the district to work with families when the attendance guidelines for compulsory attendance and the 90% attendance for credit rule are not met and we are working together to decide whether a student should receive credit for the course they have taken.

Partial Day Absence:  A parent note will allow your child to be checked out at the time requested and will have the partial day absence labeled as “AR-PN” (Absence Recognized-Parent Note - Montgomery ISD’s coding for a locally excused absence). If a doctor’s note is submitted, the partial day absence will be documented in Skyward with “MED-DOC” (Medical appointment-Doctor’s Note).

Full Day Absence for Illness: If your student is absent from school because they are sick, even with a doctor’s note, the absence will count against the 90% attendance for credit rule. A parent note or doctor’s note will document the absence in Skyward as “AR-PN” (Absence Recognized – Parent Note – Montgomery ISD’s coding for a locally excused absence) or “AR-DOC” (Absence Recognized- Doctors Note - Montgomery ISD’s coding for a locally excused absence).

Montgomery ISD requests that parents submit a doctor’s note within 48 hours of the absence. If the 48 hours has passed, please contact your campus attendance clerk to submit the necessary documentation.

LCHS Attendance clerk: [email protected]

I hope this change provides some clarity to the information that was communicated earlier this week. Please know that communicating how we code absences was to share how the district is complying with state law.  Montgomery ISD and our board of trustees never recommend sending a sick child to school and understand that parents will use their best judgement on whether to keep their student home. We understand that students will sometimes need to be absent from school, and our local board policy excuses students with appropriate documentation from a parent or doctor.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please do not hesitate to communicate with your student’s campus personnel with specific questions.

See the 2023-2024 Exam Exemption Policy

Please see the Student/Parent Handbook for additional Attendance laws and School Policy.

NOTE:  Beginning on Monday, November 6, 2023 tardies will be added to the attendance notifications that parents can opt into through their Skyward parent portal. Parents can now track their students' tardies for each day if they opt into attendance notifications; if you opt in, you will get absences and tardies for each day.

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