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Old 07-06-2009, 03:45 PM   #1
QueenGoblin
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Advice on taking kids out of public school for trip

TIA for any thoughts.

My DD will be in first grade this year. Up to this point she has been in a university lab school with no real attendance policy, but this year she will be in the public school with all the associated rules and regs.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email pin with some really great rates, and I jokingly suggested to my husband that we take a trip in August before school starts. He said he would actually prefer to go in January to run the Goofy challenge again. My DH cheerfully tolerates all things Disney for the sake of the rest of us, but it isn't his cup of tea. So adding the race to the mix makes it a better trip for him. BUT marathon weekend is right in the middle of the school year, just after the Holiday break and a trip then would require taking DD out of school for at least 5 days (the maximum allowed by the school district for the entire school year).

The race is already at 88% capacity so it could fill up soon, so I feel like we need to make a commitment one way or the other in the next few weeks. But we don't even have a teacher assignment for our DD yet. Should I bite the bullet and just commit to go? Should I hold out until we get a teacher assignment and then contact the teacher to give her a heads up before making our plans, or is that a bad first impression? Should I just tell my husband it won't work and plan a last minute trip for August?
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:56 PM   #2
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Go in January. This is a family vacation and most schools understand. All schools have a policy that states what are acceptable absences...those usually include an educational experience. Your child will have tons of educational experiences while there. My DH is a middle school principal and he doesn't hesitate to approve this type of a absence as long as there aren't other attendance issues. When our oldest DS was in Kindergarten, we took him out of school for a week for us to go to WDW. My DH and DS had different spring breaks, so we went when my DH had spring break. My DS had to do his school work that he missed and also made a journal that he had to write about something he did during the day. His teacher sent his work home his last day before we left and he did it on the way to WDW. Every day, he would write out what he did the day before or that day, so it was completed when we left WDW. Chances are, the teacher will be fine with it. Just don't spring it on her the day before you leave. Give the teacher and the school at least a months notice. That way, you can have conversations with the teacher to determine what is needed for your child to do without being in a time crunch. Go and have a fantastic time!

Just noticed you said that 5 days is the maximum allowed to miss. Is that 5 absences total or 5 unexcused absences? I seriously doubt a school would hold your child back for an attendance issue if she is proficient in all areas needed for promotion.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:04 PM   #3
ms_missy66
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We did it with our kindergartener last year and I won't do it again. It feels like everyone in the world does it, but our school system is ridiculously strict and we had to have an attendance intervention meeting, where we had to sign a contract that states if our daughter has any unexcused absences or tardies within one year we will first be referred to the district for further penalties. It happens again, we'll have to appear in family court. It still makes me SO mad. 1) Our policy is 10 unexcused days. Our trip required missing 4 1/2. 2) We're under the microscope for 1 full year. This makes me insane because the policy is a school year poilcy. It should have ended when school finished this year.

I don't regret our choice to go because we had the opportunity to go with my parents. My dad was gravely ill, but somehow managed the travel and parks. Four months later, he died. The school system can, basically, suck it. Though I can't say I would do it again without there being some hugely special circumstance. What I did learn through this all, though, is that if my daughter had missed two or less consecutive days there would be no problem.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms_missy66 View Post
We did it with our kindergartener last year and I won't do it again. It feels like everyone in the world does it, but our school system is ridiculously strict and we had to have an attendance intervention meeting, where we had to sign a contract that states if our daughter has any unexcused absences or tardies within one year we will first be referred to the district for further penalties. It happens again, we'll have to appear in family court. It still makes me SO mad. 1) Our policy is 10 unexcused days. Our trip required missing 4 1/2. 2) We're under the microscope for 1 full year. This makes me insane because the policy is a school year poilcy. It should have ended when school finished this year.

I don't regret our choice to go because we had the opportunity to go with my parents. My dad was gravely ill, but somehow managed the travel and parks. Four months later, he died. The school system can, basically, suck it. Though I can't say I would do it again without there being some hugely special circumstance. What I did learn through this all, though, is that if my daughter had missed two or less consecutive days there would be no problem.

This is really frightening! This is America for God's sake! Family court! Like you guys are some crack addicts! Let them try to take you to Family court, then go to the media and talk about how you are forced to appear having because you took your family to WDW. I'll bet the district would back off real fast. I think it is a bluff to scare parents into not taking vacations during the school year. (funding) You are the parent, you make the decision.

I would think the conservative climate in South Carolina would favor the parent. We are in Southern California and they allow 10 absences per semester, and if you go past that they can lower you student's grade if they see it affecting performance. (I can live with that policy)
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
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We've only done it once but I took my kindergartener and 3rd grader out for a week last year. It was so worth it and I didn't have trouble from either school. My son's 3rd grade teacher was so happy for him and he was not an A student.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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My parents never hesitated!!

As I was growing up, I remember being taken out of school for two weeks at a time, just about every year. We had to take school work with us and it just had to be completed before we got back. I would always try to do mine on the trip up in the RV so I could enjoy the rest of the trip. I was a very good student though. If my children were struggling, then I would think twice about it, or at least make sure they missed as little as possible. But I agree with many others here - they are YOUR kids, not theirs. (just getting into the mood of that last satement...)

Enjoy your trip - have fun! After all, it too is educational. (just catch exhibits as well as rides)

Oh yeah, someone said if they try to take you to family court, contact the media and explain how the school is penalizing you for taking your child on an "educational" family vacation.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
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Check to see if there is an Educational Enhancement Opportunity (EEO) form available at the school. If there is, do one. Once it's approved, the missed days are excused, and your child will not be counted absent. The school will lose no money either since the child is technically being educated.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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We have always taken our 4 out of school. My husbands job requires that we take our vacations in winter and so we opted for WDW in Jan or Feb most every year. Now that our oldest is a sophomore in high school, it really is now becoming too big of a burden for him to miss that much school - now we go over Christmas break.

Looking back on first grade? I wouldn't give it another thought - go on your vacation.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:17 PM   #9
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Go ahead and take the kids out

If you let your younger ones know about the Disney trip it will encourage them to not miss school! If they know that by attending classes and not missing it will give them the chance to hang out with Mickey and the gang it is more of a reason for them not to miss early on in the school year!!
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:42 PM   #10
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I work for the school board and that is very extreme. We do contact the authorities after 13 unexcused, consecutive absences. Usually the children take work with them. The only time it becomes a real issue is if the children are struggling to begin with or if the parents expect the teacher to catch them up during recess and lunch. Grade 1? Go for it. As they get older it becomes more difficult. Of course the teacher can give them the assignments they missed but can you, the parent, teach them how to do the assignments? That's where I had trouble. My daughter missed a week of lessons and we had trouble helping her out. Yes, it's true, my grade 9 science didn't quite cut it. LOL
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:05 PM   #11
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Disney Trip!!!!!

I would book the trip in Jan and see how the first half of school goes. We get 10 unex. and 10 ex. I bring my daughters work every year with us. She is now going in second grade and we are going again this year. She will miss 4 days.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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I may not agree with it, but your school's policy seems very clear to me. I would hate to use up all my absences and then have something else very important come up that I needed to use another absence for. I would go for August. Your DH will understand.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:41 AM   #13
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take your child out of school, they are not missing much in 1st grade, HS would be different. We go every other September and have this year a 3rd and 1st grader. Heck my wifes a teacher and she takes off school too....
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:41 PM   #14
dwelty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms_missy66 View Post
We did it with our kindergartener last year and I won't do it again. It feels like everyone in the world does it, but our school system is ridiculously strict and we had to have an attendance intervention meeting, where we had to sign a contract that states if our daughter has any unexcused absences or tardies within one year we will first be referred to the district for further penalties. It happens again, we'll have to appear in family court. It still makes me SO mad. 1) Our policy is 10 unexcused days. Our trip required missing 4 1/2. 2) We're under the microscope for 1 full year. This makes me insane because the policy is a school year poilcy. It should have ended when school finished this year.

I don't regret our choice to go because we had the opportunity to go with my parents. My dad was gravely ill, but somehow managed the travel and parks. Four months later, he died. The school system can, basically, suck it. Though I can't say I would do it again without there being some hugely special circumstance. What I did learn through this all, though, is that if my daughter had missed two or less consecutive days there would be no problem.

This is really frightening! This is America for God's sake! Family court! Like you guys are some crack addicts! Let them try to take you to Family court, then go to the media and talk about how you are forced to appear at family court because you took your family to WDW. I'll bet the district would back off real fast. I think it is a bluff to scare parents into not taking vacations during the school year. (funding) You are the parent, you make the decision.

I would think the conservative climate in South Carolina would favor the parent. We are in Southern California and they allow 10 absences per semester, and if you go past that they can lower you student's grade if they see it affecting performance. (this is a more resonable policy) I am wondering what would have happened at the "attendance intervention" meeting if you had refused to sign the "contract" Would they have taken your kids away BECAUSE OF A WDW FAMILY VACATION!

I am really irritated by this because I see parent's rights eroding more and more in the public school system. Here is yet another example.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:31 AM   #15
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Wow! I can't beleive that you are not allowed to take your own children out of school! As a parent I would be very angry if someone told me that I could not take my kids out of school for a family vacation. We are taking our kids out for 11 days this year and we took them out for 12 last year.
I called the principal at the end of this school year to let him know ( we are leaving the 2nd week after school starts, so I wanted to give him a heads up) and he told me that of course it was ok. He said that they are MY children and as a parent it is MY right to decide. He said that experiences in life and with family ( such as vacations) are just as important as classroom experiences. He said that he wished he could come with us because it sounds like such fun and that my kids were very lucky.
We are from Canada and my kids go to a French first language school, and are in a seperate school board ( French School Board ), so I am not sure if all of the schools in Canada are like this but we do not have any rules, that I am aware ( unless they stopped showing up without a reason) of for taking kids out of school, as long as they are receiving good grades.
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