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Old 09-25-2012, 09:38 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
You think?

The principal probably is allowing this as an excused absence just because he was impressed by your audacity! (This is not a criticism).
Yep! Or you gave him his best laugh in a good while. Maybe he's putting together one of those, "Best notes from parent's books."

The school will never take you seriously again!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:43 PM   #62
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Good for you! Whoever says a visit to WDW can't be educational is kidding themselves. Going through the Land (ready for this?) about 25 years ago is what inspired my 8th science project on hydroponics. I was fascinated by it! I was the only one with such a project and got great feedback. Guess what all the kids did for their science project the next year? Hydroponics! The trip is what you make it. I personally also plan to see what we might do to make the trip educational for my DD when she misses school in 1st grade next year, like a photo book with story to narrate her visit (reading and writing), a tally of her spending (math) and some historical notes of things she sees, both Disney history and regular. So glad you got such a favorable reaction!
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:03 PM   #63
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So if you called into school 15 times to say your kid won't be there because they don't want to go to school, its an excused absence each and every time?
My school also doesn't question excused absences, as long as the parent calls in. However, after a certain amount of absences (10, I think), you automatically fail the course. This is for the high schools in my district, not quite sure about elementary/middle.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:04 PM   #64
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I think you guys are getting excused and unexcused absences confused? An excused absence is when a parent calls into the school and let's them know their child won't be in attendance that day. An unexcused absence is when there is no call made to the school and they don't have a reason for the child not being there. Too many unexcused and yes they can get you for truancy as such, but as long as they have a reason for not attending you won't fall into that category. I can see schools getting on parents for taking their kids out for vacation, but its only because the school gets money for your child being there. The more absences the less money the school will get. That really is the only reason they do that. They can't call truancy on you for a family vacation!
Actually this is inaccurate in my state. In my state, 10 absences per year can be excused just on the parent's word that the child was ill or there was a death in the family. Pretty much all other reasons would require principal approval. After those 10, proof of illness is required or truancy is filed. I've known of good parents who ended up in court because they didn't take the policy seriously.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:21 PM   #65
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:37 AM   #66
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I have to be honest - I would be horribly embarrassed to send a letter like that. I find it a huge insult to any educator's intelligence. Most teachers would see right through that.

I mean really? Is your daughter really going to learn about dinosaurs by playing in the sand at AK? At least you didn't say she was going to earn about sociology by studying the crowds and crowd control.

If people want to take their kids out of school for a vacation, fine. Heck, I'm taking mine out for a cruise in December. But own up to it and face the consequences if you make that choice. Don't pass it off as something it isn't.
I absolutely agree. Call it what it is, a vacation to an amusement park. I am sure that gem has been passed around the teacher's lounge several times.

"I am taking Suzy on an educational trip to the racetrack, she will learn about budgeting and probability."

"I am taking Billy on an educational trip to Raymour and Flanagan. He will learn about textiles."

"I am taking Sally to see Finding Nemo 3D. She will learn about film production."

"I am taking Bobby to the KISS concert. He will learn about audio engineering."

Anything can be couched as an "educational experience." Really? Where does it end?

In our school district we have "allowable," "excused," and "unexcused" absences.
An allowable absence is one where a parent calls and provides a note. The student is allowed 10 of these a year. After 10 the family is referred to truancy court.
An excused absence is one with a doctor's note, or a death in the family, court date, or college visit. (with documentation) These are unlimited.
An unexcused absence has no documentation. After 5 the family is referred to truancy court.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:50 AM   #67
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My daughter will miss all week next week to go to Disney. She goes to a private school and is only in kindergarten, so it wasn't an issue. I wouldn't write a letter about it being an educational opportunity just because I feel like you go to Disney for a fun, family vacation.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:34 AM   #68
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I find it shocking that there are public schools that have rules like these about absences! Our public school (in Missouri) has never given me any trouble and I take my kids out for many reasons (they are hardly ever sick, but we usually miss 3-4 days per year for fun activities/day trips, and another week or so for vacation). Anytime a parent calls the absence is automatically excused, no questions asked, no Drs. note needed. The office clerk always says something like "have fun, can I come with you?", or "it's a beautiful day for it, enjoy". Even when we went to Disney for 2 1/2 weeks and the kids missed 12 days of school, the clerk said "oh, you are going to have such a great time" and then told me all about her families trip to Disney. I can't imagine having to explain myself to the school, or the school trying to tell me the absence was unexcused when I am calling to excuse it!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:44 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by luvmy3 View Post
Um no, that isn't an excused absence. That is nothing more than a parent calling the school and informing them their kid won't be there. The "excused" or "unexcused" part comes from why they won't be there. Some reasons are acceptable, i.e. excused (illness, death in family, doc appts) some are not, i.e. unexcused (vacations, shopping with mom day, just not wanting to go). Our kids are allowed 10 unexcused absenses a year before there are truancy issues. So, if I want to take my kid to Chuck E Cheese for the day, I can call them and tell them that, but its not going to be an excused absence.
Just had to say in my district that is exactly what it means. I can call and say I'm keeping my kid home for any reason I want and as long as I call it's excused. In my district unexcused means no phone call was made, excused means the parent called and said the kid wasn't going to be there. They don't ask or care about reasons at all. Any child missing school can make up the work that was done in school that day or those days for full credit. I grew up in the same district and it's only been here on the dis that I've heard about other districts that are militant about absences, it seems crazy to me!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:57 AM   #70
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We are going to WDW in a few weeks and I too submitted a form (provided from the school) outlining what my kids would be doing while there. Our trip was also approved as an Educational Experience Excused Absence. Just because you write a letter or submit a form doesn't mean it is going to be approved. Thank goodness our Principal along with the OP's saw the value in the trip. I highly doubt they were sitting around laughing, otherwise it would have been denied!! I personally didn't feel silly at all detailing everything the kids would be doing and learning! OP, have a great trip!!
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:09 PM   #71
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In my district unexcused means no phone call was made, excused means the parent called and said the kid wasn't going to be there. They don't ask or care about reasons at all. Any child missing school can make up the work that was done in school that day or those days for full credit. I grew up in the same district and it's only been here on the dis that I've heard about other districts that are militant about absences, it seems crazy to me!
Here, if you don't call the police will show up for a wellness check on the children. You HAVE to call by a certain time if your child is not going to be in school. There is no option of "no phone call made" because then the school will call you, and if you don't answer or if the answer is sketchy they can send authorities to check on the child.

It's for the safety of the child, not just to be militant about absences. I would worry about a school that would let a child miss as many days as a family wants. There is a precedent set for children in later years - I completely understand taking time now and then for family time (we are doing it next week - yay) because it shows you are putting family first. However some families are also demonstrating how highly (or poorly depending on how you look at it) they value school if they frequently (meaning more than two weeks total in addition to the scheduled school breaks over the school year) take their child out of school.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:17 PM   #72
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Here, if you don't call the police will show up for a wellness check on the children. You HAVE to call by a certain time if your child is not going to be in school. There is no option of "no phone call made" because then the school will call you, and if you don't answer or if the answer is sketchy they can send authorities to check on the child.

It's for the safety of the child, not just to be militant about absences. I would worry about a school that would let a child miss as many days as a family wants. There is a precedent set for children in later years - I completely understand taking time now and then for family time (we are doing it next week - yay) because it shows you are putting family first. However some families are also demonstrating how highly (or poorly depending on how you look at it) they value school if they frequently (meaning more than two weeks total in addition to the scheduled school breaks over the school year) take their child out of school.
Actually I highly value education, I don't highly value daily attendance. There is so much wasted time at school. I've actually taken my 3rd grader out and am homeschooling him. Getting a good education is extremely important to me. My DD loves school and has a great group of friends so she is still in school, but I do supplement at home. The public school system does not teach well enough IMO. I come up with interesting, educational, fun field trips and I am very grateful for a school that simply says "have a great time" when I call to say DD will be going somewhere else with me that day besides school
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:54 PM   #73
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Actually I highly value education, I don't highly value daily attendance. There is so much wasted time at school. I've actually taken my 3rd grader out and am homeschooling him. Getting a good education is extremely important to me. My DD loves school and has a great group of friends so she is still in school, but I do supplement at home. The public school system does not teach well enough IMO. I come up with interesting, educational, fun field trips and I am very grateful for a school that simply says "have a great time" when I call to say DD will be going somewhere else with me that day besides school
I didn't intend my response as a "you don't value education" thing. Honestly. I actually changed it from "you" which was meant as a theoretical "you" or "one" to "they" in the last sentence because I am referring to people who remove their children a lot. I admire homeschooling and I believe that is a HUGE commitment to education. I wish I could have done that with my children, and I have supplemented with my child so far and will as necessary when my little guy gets older.

I meant a longer term lesson of demonstrating commitment to children. You have demonstrated that, I'm not referencing you personally. But there are families (I hope you'll concede) that choose to keep their kids home rather than send them to school and teach those children that it's okay to stay home if you stayed up too late last night watching tv, or if you didn't get your homework done, or you can't find the right thing to wear, etc. Unfortunately it is for this (hopefully) small percentage that some districts have to enforce rules across the board for making parents bring their children to school if they are attending public school.

Those are the families / parents / guardians that are showing children that it's okay to skip school for random reasons - how are they going to motivate themselves when they're in college, or working a 9 - 5 job on a day that they just don't feel like it? It's a work ethic thing.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:21 PM   #74
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I think the thing we are missing here is that school districts are vastly different.

***Honestly, I would be embarrassed to send a letter like that in. Because of all the people that talk about sending it in, I've never seen a parent 'instructing' their child while they are walking about Disney (other than instructing them which line to get in, or which path to take, etc.). ***

I have taken my kids out for both family vacations (ie. Disney) and international travel and all have been approved in advance. On the Disney ones, I just write, "Family vacation to Florida". On the international ones, I usually go more in depth about where specifically we are going - of course, those are typically for longer - maybe they've missed 3 or 4 days total (on either end of a spring break), where the Disney trip was usually 2 max.

I also look for half days - because I know the schedule is already disrupted. Or I look for partial weeks, because again, the schedule is usually a mess already.

Of course, what has been cool was when my kid's class was talking about Viking explorers and he mentioned seeing Viking ships. The teacher said, "In Epcot?" and he responded, "No, in Norway."

If you really want to 'prove' it to teachers, have you kid do a paper or presentation on something you will see or do - and share it with the teacher(s). If you aren't prepared to do that, then just call it a 'family vacation' and be done with it.

---------------------
*** adding: I know our principal fairly well and she knows we have good students who are responsible (as much as they can be for kids their age). I think part of the decision is knowing the personalities of the decision-makers involved.

Last edited by surfgirl; 09-26-2012 at 05:40 PM. Reason: add details
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:42 PM   #75
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Good for you! Whoever says a visit to WDW can't be educational is kidding themselves. Going through the Land (ready for this?) about 25 years ago is what inspired my 8th science project on hydroponics. I was fascinated by it! I was the only one with such a project and got great feedback. Guess what all the kids did for their science project the next year? Hydroponics! The trip is what you make it. I personally also plan to see what we might do to make the trip educational for my DD when she misses school in 1st grade next year, like a photo book with story to narrate her visit (reading and writing), a tally of her spending (math) and some historical notes of things she sees, both Disney history and regular. So glad you got such a favorable reaction!
For my older daughter on one trip (not even missing school for it) she kept a journal of where the CMs she interacted with were from and when we got home she looked up where those places were. It was very educational and she learned a lot about the different countries and states the CMs were from.
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