School Attendance

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by jcb, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. MaryKatesMom

    MaryKatesMom DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2003
    There is another factor to consider. There are those that can not just pick a week of vacation. Some people can only vacation when the weeks are available or open.
    Anitsirk24 likes this.
  2. Grumpy_Dad

    Grumpy_Dad Earning My Ears

    May 1, 2017
    DD is in High School now and we haven't taken her out for vacation since 4th grade but I don't have a problem with parents that do as long as the kids are up to it. I think the real determining factor should be the students ability to handle the time off without damaging their studies. However, the schools don't want to say this because it would, understandably, create some awkward situations. As a result you get these one size fits all rules that don't really fit well. I also believe this isn't why the rules are strictly enforced in many cases, but the schools have them to fall back on if someone complains about grades or workloads after taking time off for vacation.
    MaryKatesMom likes this.
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  4. Queen2PrincessG

    Queen2PrincessG DIS Veteran

    Sep 19, 2010
    You know, like teachers themselves. LOL

    To me, it's two-fold, respect for the school/teacher and understanding your impact on your school District. When teachers say "have fun"< do they mean it? Sure, but really what are they going to say? No, don't go. Then what will the parent do, take their kid out anyway or complain to the Principal or Superintendent? Nope, not worth a headache. There are too many reports, books to read, curriculums to adapt, Professional Developmets to be wrapped up in.

    Would you want to go to the Doctor who had poor attendance in med school? People seem to miss that teaching work ethic starts early. Attendance is important.
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  5. melanielll

    melanielll DIS Veteran

    Nov 9, 2016
    Actually - most med schools are not attendance based anymore. Most have moved to streaming and some require no in class time. My daughter just finished last year at a top 20 med school - and there was no attendance required for class time. Rotations in hospitals and clinics have requirements. We took her out of school every year for her first 9 years of school. She was valedictorian and became a doctor. Attendance is part of who the student is. School is an important part of life - but it is only a part of life.
    rlp, THEDISNEYTHREE, quandrea and 2 others like this.
  6. MamaBelle4

    MamaBelle4 DIS Veteran

    Feb 29, 2016
    My children are young, I take them out for vacations. They are both currently testing reading and math above grade level (my 2nd grader currently reads at the 4th grade level and is in the highest math group in her grade). If either of them were struggling, I would reconsider when we vacation.

    However, I did get nasty grams from the school regarding their attendance. Not for the vacation we took in January (the letter was very clear that that and the days we returned with doctor's notes didn't count against them). No, it was the other days. Why did they miss? Well, they each caught a particularly nasty strain of streph throat (actually mutated and my 6 year old caught it 2x) and the flu. I had doctor's notes for these. But they only applied to the day I took them, not the extent of their absence. They missed several days leading up to the diagnosis and afterwards. If my girls have a fever, I don't send them to the petri dish that is school.

    I know this is about voluntary absences for vacations, but, please, if you are sick, stay home! If more parents kept their kids home when they were showing symptoms, I wouldn't have had to keep my girls home so many days. Plus we all know how fast the flu goes through an elementary school!
  7. MaryKatesMom

    MaryKatesMom DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2003
    We took our DD's out of school the first full week of December for years. It was the only time the DH could travel down there because there was a conference he could attend that week. He rarely takes an actual vacation. I am so grateful for that time together. Even though he was gone during the day, he would meet us in the park when he was done and spend time focused on his family. When my oldest got to high school and we started to go over Easter the quality of the vacation dropped considerably and the vacation was much less relaxed.
  8. Derry Wade

    Derry Wade Earning My Ears

    Nov 22, 2016
    We took our kids out of school (U.S. public school) for a week in 2015 for Disney and plan to do so again in 2018. But as you can see, this is rare for us. Our kids are still in elementary and we made sure to work with their teachers far in advance to offer to make up any work they'd miss. I was surprised to hear, "Don't worry about it!" Several family members have diagnoses which make crowds and lines especially difficult, so this flexibility from the school makes a family trip to Disney an option for us. I know we're among the very fortunate!
  9. pjweaver

    pjweaver just happy to be here

    Oct 23, 2015
    Is there a time crowds and lines are not an issue in WDW any more?
  10. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

    Jun 24, 2010
    Love this point. My daughter has been homeschooled since grade three. Prior to that she was in school and we would pull her out approximately two to three weeks per year. She always did well and it was not an issue. Now we travel upwards of four weeks per academic year. She is in grade seven but pursuing high school credits online. Her work ethic is amazing. I'd argue that so much time is wasted in a school day that pulling one's child out is not impossible.

    It's fascinating to me that even with our time off during the year, dd is still on track to finish all her coursework by the beginning of June. What matters is time on task, not hours in the classroom. I'd like to see schools increase time on task and decrease school days. I'm a teacher and I've seen just how little gets done in a day. I used to be the head of the special ed dept. I'd go into classrooms to assist those students with individual education plans. The off task time was unbelievable. Inexcusable really. I say, do what suits your family. A week or two off is not a problem.
  11. sweetpeama

    sweetpeama DIS Veteran

    Nov 30, 2013
    My kids are homeschooled and have been since birth but I do live in the same districts I was raised in ( one is through grade 8 the other for high school) so I know what is going on with the schedule. A number of families have an adult working in farming or construction work in a state that shares a boarder with Canada so weather factor here on when work can be done.

    When I was in school

    Start last week of August
    break 2-3 days in October for Teacher Convention-this depended on where it was in the state with the extra day only if it was going to more than 3-4 hours drive for the teachers from the area to get there.
    Thanksgiving started on Wed with some districts usually the elementary one having an early out on Tuesday
    Christmas ( now called winter break) was from the Friday of the weekend before until the Monday after New Years at the latest depending on when New Years fell ( for the upcoming 2017-18 school year this would be 12/15 last day of class return to class on 1/2 because of New Years falling on a Monday ( Wednesday for New Years tended to be hit and miss if you went back on Thurs or Monday)).
    Spring Break usually in March for 1 week plus the weekends on either side (depending on how Easter Fell this sometimes was called Pre Spring Break as it should have truthfully been called Boys Basket Ball Tournament Break because it always fell the same week and students were encourage to go cheer on the team).
    Easter Break ( known as Spring Break if there was a prespring break) was a half day on Wednesday before Easter ( for the Elementary District) Thursday for the High School one returning the Tuesday Following
    End of School Year the First Friday in June
    Various PRI days and 1 day breaks off for various reasons throughout the year usually to make a 3 or even 4 day weekend.

    Start last week of August
    break 2-3 days in October for Teacher Convention
    Thanksgiving half day on Wed if your lucky
    Christmas if your lucky you get a full day off the Friday before ( For 2017-18 this is last day of class is either 12/21 or 12/22 return on 1/2)
    All Class Wrestling Tournament and we had difficulties finding enough substitutes to cover everyone from all the districts in the county who work the tournament as coaches, score keepers, officials, trainers, ect so decided a break was necessary 2nd Friday with usually a PRI day that Monday for a 4 day weekend
    Spring Break/ Easter Break can be either a full or half day the Thursday before return to class on Tuesday
    School get out the Friday after Memorial Day weekend
    Spread throughout the year the various 1-2 day PRI days usually on a Wednesday along with what most months averages out to every other week early release usually the middle of the week in some but not all months. For the district that children from my area attend for high school this is for the elementary only. ( The idea is that we will give these half days instead of a Spring Break but they are never on a Friday or a Thursday before a Friday break)

    For Families that their livelihood is restricted on the weather taking a vacation in the summer means mom and the kids go or the kids go on vacation with the grandparents or mom and grandma take the kids but never getting to have dad because he needs to be in the fields, getting roofs done, building houses, or doing road construction ( which tends to be layoff for 90% of the workers when the snow hits until March or April so you work 60-80 hours a week when you can work to get the jobs done). This means that taking a vacation in the summer is extremely challenging just on the aspect of the adults and kids are off at the same time.

    My brother and his wife have taken their children out a couple of times in the past 9 years to go to Disney World ( they had a 1st grader at the time) and to Hawaii ( 3rd and 6th grade) for a week each time. School was fine with it was long as work sent with was returned when they came back to class and that it was not done during testing. Incidentally the teacher of the one in 1st grade when they went to Disney World took a trip to Disneyland a few years later with part of it over school days and took the teacher's own children out of school-I know this because the teacher is actually a distant relative and a good friend and borrowed a book from me. ( This teacher has oldest child graduating from high school, husband is a farmer, and this was the only vacation they ever took with the entire family so it needed to be done in February due to finances and workload on the Farm-both district they live in and the one worked in said have a wonderful time, wish it was us, and even about time-this is a teacher with at the time over 20 years of experience who never took a vacation day and rarely even a sick day).

    There is a possibility that my oldest may be involved in a Co-Op next year ( depending on what classes are offered) which in the past has started the Thursday after Labor Day has the entire week including Thanksgiving Day off and has the last class on the Monday of the full week before Christmas ( for 2017 this would be on 12/11. Spring Term starts the 2nd week in January has a week break the end of February first part of March for a program that many participate in called Teen Pact ( mine don't because I disagree with the stance of the organization that females can only be professionally dressed in a skirt and having gotten 2nd degree frost bite from wearing skirts in the winter as a youth even find it dangerous that they will not relent when the actual temps can range from 20 above to 25 below not counting the wind chill) a full week at Easter, with the last day of class being the week before Mother's Day. This year they are considering having classes be either Tuesday/Thursday of Monday/Wednesday as many of the students ( Co-op is for grades 7-12 with some years there being a class for 6th graders) also take classes at the local university especially for the ones in high school and those classes are either Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday for 90% of them. Some of the classes are a 2 term course but they also have one term courses. While financially short of a miracle we will not be taking a vacation anytime soon, but with this schedule it would be easy to take a vacation in mid May or early September along with just before Christmas or even over the Teen Pact Week. I don't know what their policy is about missing class though I do believe that because parents pay for the classes they have the attitude of as long as the work is done it's your money and decision though your encouraged not to sign your kid up that term if you know you will be taking a vacation when classes are in session.
  12. wishspirit

    wishspirit When you wish upon a star!

    Jun 8, 2005
    I was a primary school teacher in England until fairly recently (finally followed my special ed calling so now teaching in a state funded special needs school). I used to be a regular poster on the boards, but teaching meant I had no life outside school, but still an avid listener!

    I wanted to weigh in on what's already been said as I think a couple of key points haven't been made clear.

    As a teacher, I would love my kids to experience proper family time on holiday and that not be a big deal. However, within the last few years we have had a huge curriculum change which means we are asking children to do more and more at younger ages. We are asking 7 year olds to be able to use plural apostrophes correctly- I know a lot of adults who can't do that! So yes, we don't have as much time to back-fill when children take time out.

    Also all teachers are now on performance related pay. If children don't make progress for any reason, we can be denied pay increases. This has a LOT of flaws, but it does add extra levels of pressure on teachers.

    I have also seen (elsewhere) a lot of blaming of headteachers for not not granting leave. It is not their choice. They are told what to do by the government and they will be taken to a task by school inspectors (Ofsted) if they aren't seen to be tough on attendance issues.

    Just to add that opinion to the mix, I would LOVE this not to be an issue, but in the education climate at the moment, choices are limited.
  13. rlk

    rlk DIS Veteran

    Dec 3, 2007
    We stopped taking our kids out of school for vacation when my oldest started 4th grade because where we live, unexplained absences can and do have an impact on middle school and high school placement. It is part of the criteria, along with grades, state tests scores and lateness,that public schools look at when matching students. Even if a child has a 98-99 GPA and excellent state test scores(4's), if their attendance and tardiness can keep them from getting into their top choice school.
  14. cindyland

    cindyland Mouseketeer

    Jul 3, 2010
    As the high school attendance secretary, and a parent who previously took kids out of school for Disney trips, I am very interested in your input. Frequently parents think it's about the loss of funding for kids missing school, but it can be more than that. By the time a parent contacts the school about removing a student for a week the plans have already been made, and nothing can be done to change them. Sometimes the student is capable of staying on track with the work that is provided, and sometimes it can result in disaster when a student falls behind. It really is a discussion that needs to be held way in advance between the parents and the student (because many kids are honest and don't care for the idea of possibly falling behind), and when in doubt, hopefully parents have a trusted teacher or administrator they can talk to before non-refundable deposits are made. As for us, because I now can't miss a school day, our next trip will be in August...
  15. Aerin75

    Aerin75 DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2015
    You are right; sometimes the contact isn't made until it's too late. The only time this has come up for me, I contacted the school a full year and a half in advance for a cruise because I needed to book it that early for best pricing. I verified several times that when Fall Break would be (best guess) so that I was not taking my kid out for any school days, and if they decided to change when Fall Break was, someone was going to be out of luck. But school also assured me that in this case, if we missed a day of school for a travel day, no one was going to take me out to the woodshed.

    It's funny (not ha ha); only once in all of the time my child has been in school did a teacher send work home for her when she was sick; I'm not sure with these schools if I could even get work ahead of time for vacation. I don't know if this is normal or not. But when she's sick or in that "recovering but still can't go to school because of X" mode, I can't get them to send any assignments so she can keep up. They just tell me it's an excused absence and not to worry about it.
  16. ToffPrincess

    ToffPrincess Mouseketeer

    Sep 10, 2017
    I think it all depends on the child. You know if your child is struggling and needs those extra days class or if they are someone who can cope with the days off.

    I spend many days sick one year and aced all my exams and I literally did nothing but sleep. I could have been in disney. Its an individual thing.

    I must say though, its hard for anyone outside the uk to comprahend the course structure and exam times. Some holidays dates are more important to stick to than others and at certain ages. For example there are some years you have very important exams just before summer.

    My son is 3 and in a private nursery. In Europe its not unusual for kids to stay home till actual school starts at 5-7 depending on the country. If someone tells me I cant take my son out of nursery school a week early at this young age i'd be shocked.

    I also must also note that in UK private schools are more flexible on this issue than 'state' schools.
  17. Alicenwonderment

    Alicenwonderment DIS Veteran

    Mar 21, 2011
    Wow! I thought I wrote a big response earlier this summer. When the subject first was mentioned the school attendance issue was personal because I was an aide in a classroom and I think the whole year we may have had all our student's present for maybe 4 weeks (not together) of the school year. It was a huge issue in the school I was in. I won't get into that now but I did want to mention that our Gov. mentioned that school should not open until after Labor Day and he wanted to look at making it into law. Growing up 80's 90s I remember school always starting after Labor Day. I do think that sometime after my student teaching year schools started a bit early. It usually is the week before Labor Day. Teachers start the Monday before, kids go Tues, Wed, and Thurs and have the Friday and Monday off for the long weekend. I actually like it that way because those days you concentrate on rules and getting to know the kids some. It gets a few days in so that when you have to make up snow days you'll be glad you went to school those days. The Gov does have a point though. He has young children and wants the time for his family. I can also see that our area has many tourism destinations. Stores, Amusement Parks, beaches, etc rely on the summer help. (not as much anymore. I heard the water park is having international students come and work. ) In high school and college I worked at a Water Park and it was so hard to staff when the college kids went back 2nd week in August and high schoolers were going back at end of August. I do believe when I taught in VA there was something in place that we didn't start until after Labor Day there. I do think it made more sense there because many families worked in Govt and might not be back until congress was back in session.

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