Advice on taking kids out of public school for trip

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by QueenGoblin, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. QueenGoblin

    QueenGoblin Mouseketeer

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    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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  3. cmaee

    cmaee DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  4. ms_missy66

    ms_missy66 Official WDW Addict

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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.
     
  5. QueenGoblin

    QueenGoblin Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  6. LIBLULA

    LIBLULA Mouseketeer

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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!
     
  7. princessmom29

    princessmom29 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  8. mom2faith

    mom2faith DIS Veteran

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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!!
     
  9. taitai

    taitai DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  10. Mommy2Julia&Brynn

    Mommy2Julia&Brynn Earning My Ears

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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!:rotfl:
     
  11. JUJU814

    JUJU814 DIS Veteran

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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. :)
     
  12. Mommy2Julia&Brynn

    Mommy2Julia&Brynn Earning My Ears

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    :thumbsup2:woohoo:
     
  13. brekin67

    brekin67 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  14. mousebymarriage

    mousebymarriage DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  15. Angibaby

    Angibaby I'm Going to Disney World!

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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.
     
  16. dwelty

    dwelty "God Bless 'em, let 'em pee"-Roy Disney

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    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)
     
  17. dwelty

    dwelty "God Bless 'em, let 'em pee"-Roy Disney

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    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.
     
  18. mamajojo

    mamajojo Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  19. abcboys

    abcboys DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  20. ms_missy66

    ms_missy66 Official WDW Addict

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    Thank you! In hindsight my hubby and I wondered what would have happened if we refused to sign the contract. I get it that school attendance is important. We're definitely not a set of paernts who take that lightly. Our daughter had doctor's notes for every other absence she had, plus she was an excellent student. We gave lots of notice about WDW vacation, so there was no trying to get by with anything.

    I jokingly said I sat in some stunned silence at the meeting, but if we were called into one from the district, I would walk in with a LOT to say. And honestly, that's still a possibility since our contract goes into January 2010. I can't say our daughter will have no unexcused absences or tadies before then. I mean heck, while it's not happened yet, sometimes alarm clocks malfunction. Or maybe one day she'll have a potty issue just before leaving and we'll be 2 minutes late. Off to an escalation in the process for me, I guess. It's such complete bull and makes me MAD! But with that all said, it's been stressful for me and I'm not sure we'll do it again. And after years and years of off-season trips to the World, that's painful! LOL

    And just for fun, our school's policy states that promotion is in jeopardy after 10 unexcused days. We only had 4 1/2 and those days were the week before Christmas break. One day was "Pajama Day" and another was the holiday party. We hardly missed lots of hardcore educational time. Plus...we're less than half-way to breaking the official rule. Yet, our hands were majorly smacked.

    Sorry to hijack this post to vent. OP, I would just recommend really really knowing the consequence of taking your child out of school. Call them and ask and then make a decision. Most folks I talk too (even a school within our own distrcit. Grrrr) don't have such big consequences. Had I know ours did, I wonder if I would have planned differently. In the end, though, our trip was a beautiful and memory-filled week with my parents. My children will always have that time with my dad, whom I miss more than words can express. :sad: So basically, our school system can suck it as far as I'm concerned. No regrets.
     
  21. shellshell1969

    shellshell1969 Earning My Ears

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    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. :rotfl: I was a very good student though. :goodvibes 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. :mad: (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) :lmao:

    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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