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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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September 2006 ASMo and MNSSHP
January 2008 Pop and AKL while DH ran the Goofy Challenge!
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:56 PM   #2
cmaee
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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, 04:08 PM   #4
QueenGoblin
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My understanding is she can have 5 excused absences (not including sick days with a Dr's note.) Anything beyond the 5, regardless of reason, is considered unexcused. I'm not sure how many unexcused absences she can have before we would get in trouble with the school district. If we do the trip and limit her to 5 days, my understanding is she will be fine as long as we get Dr's notes anytime she stays home sick. But it pretty much rules out any spontaneous days off/trips through the rest of the year.
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Me DH DD(9) DD(5)rincess:
Many trips in the 80's, mostly FW
May 2005 Fort Wilderness Cabins
September 2006 ASMo and MNSSHP
January 2008 Pop and AKL while DH ran the Goofy Challenge!
Oct/Nov 2008 MNSSHP and tent camping at FW
January 2010 AKL and Goofy Challenge
May 2012 Fort Wilderness Cabins (?)
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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We have taken our DD9 out for the past 2 Septembers--and again this Sept (she will miss 8 days). We have never had a problem. Our school requires us to fill out a planned absence form 2 weeks before the trip, so the teacher has time to get her work together. Our teachers have been great!! My DD9 has never had difficulty catching up---A+ student. If she struggled in school, I wouldn't take her out. Last September (3rd grade) her teacher only required her to do a travel journal. Our school takes their MAP testing in spring--that's the only time they frown upon trips!
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:53 PM   #6
princessmom29
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It's ypur child and ultimately up to you what you choose to do, but i personally wouldn't cut it that close with absences. I would be worried that something nonmedical would come up. With small children it is much easier, especally when they are good students, to take them out of school, but I don't know that i would leave my selfwith no "backup days" it your school system is actually going to enforce their policy. I teach in one that does and i have seen this kind of thing go really, really badly. I guess it depends on how strict the policy is.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:15 PM   #7
mom2faith
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*Knock on wood*

We do not have these strict policies here in central Canada. My mom is a teacher and my DD is starting Kindergarten this year. We had a long talk about pulling her from school (we aren't this year, but may be next year if we go again). Mom was surprised to hear some of the stories I have gotten off of these boards about the discipliary action.

IMHO - part of growing up includes real life experiences. And, nothing is more sacred than family time. I cannot believe that you are on watch to go to family court for 4 1/2 days for one trip. What a waste of tax payers money!! I agree there needs to be rules, but come on!! Get real!! 4 1/2 days is not worth court!!

Whew. I just had to get that off of my chest!!
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
taitai
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Well, you need to do what you feel is best for your family. Just plan for and be ready to accept push-back from the school. School's funding is tied to days in the classroom so each day missed means a decrease in funding. As the economy continues to suffer and school districts get less and less money from the state, every dollar is precious and the school will work to keep your daughter in the classroom.

That being said, just check the school's handbook in terms of who you have to notify when. It is great to notify the teacher but they don't make the policy in this one and don't have the authorization to do much. Check to see if teachers in your district are allowed to give work ahead of time or accept work turned in late. In most districts, they do not give or accept school work done for unexcused absences resulting in zeros for the student during those missed days. Not every district is this strict and your daughter is only in first so it isn't going to keep her from the Ivy League or anything.

Have a fun trip.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:14 PM   #9
Mommy2Julia&Brynn
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Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I was a teacher (in GA). Maybe our policy is more lax, but referral to the "authorities" was only after 13 unexcused, but were told to watch after five unexcused! A parent's note even counted as an excuse! We had to stay on parents about this because of AYP, but it was up to teacher discretion about making up work, assigning journals, etc.
About promotion to the next grade--teachers always have a say. Even if all state-wide tests are failed (and yours won't be!), the teachers can still promote a child, and are actually encouraged to do so (don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but that's an entirely different OT post...).
Basically, do what's right for your family. Encourage your hubby. Have fun with your child. I'd say feel out the teacher, then give her a heads up as soon as possible...unless she's horrible, then fake an illness!
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:23 PM   #10
JUJU814
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At this age, I would do it without blinking an eyelash.

These policies are absurd. One of the many reasons we personally have nothing to do with the public school system. No one is going to tell me I can't take me 7 year old out of school for a week to go to Disney. They didn't have such policies when I was a kid. We missed a week here and there throughout our childhood and still did just fine.

I wouldn't think twice about it. It's your child..NOT theirs (unfortunately, many systems seem to think they deserve a role in raising our children!)

Off my soapbox.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:00 PM   #11
Mommy2Julia&Brynn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JUJU814 View Post
At this age, I would do it without blinking an eyelash.

These policies are absurd. One of the many reasons we personally have nothing to do with the public school system. No one is going to tell me I can't take me 7 year old out of school for a week to go to Disney. They didn't have such policies when I was a kid. We missed a week here and there throughout our childhood and still did just fine.

I wouldn't think twice about it. It's your child..NOT theirs (unfortunately, many systems seem to think they deserve a role in raising our children!)

Off my soapbox.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:25 PM   #12
brekin67
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We take our kids out of school for one week every other year. It has never been a problem for the schools. DS is 12 and DD is 9.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:42 PM   #13
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We take our kids DD12 (and going into 8th grade) and DS 8(going into 3rd grade) out every year for 1 week. Both of my children do very well in school and are not a disciplinary problem so I see no reason why we shouldn't take them out. However, we are hoping to go in Jan. or February and this will be the last year That I will pull my DD out because next year she will be in High School. I have realized that life is too short and it is better to make the memories with your kids when you can because you just never know what tomorrow holds.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:47 PM   #14
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I would (and am) taking my kids out for a family trip. Family time is VERY important and vacation is the only time I, as a single parent, can totally dedicate to family time. When we are at home there is ALWAYS something that I need to attend to. Be it housework or my job, whatever, there is something!

My kids and I are already looking up things about the animals we will see in Animal Kingdom and the countries in Epcot. So that at least we are learning already. Our trip is going to be right before Christmas break and I will be informing the school/ teachers as soon as we meet them. Asking if there is anything special to prepare or assignments.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:37 PM   #15
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 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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