All students must be fully enrolled and should attend school regularly. Pinnacle Classical Academy does not accept partial enrollment. Regular attendance is the best way to ensure that students master the curriculum. PCA will make every effort to protect instructional time from interruption and we ask that, whenever possible, parents/guardians schedule appointments (doctor, dentist, etc.) after school hours. For record keeping purposes, a child is marked absent when he or she misses half of the school day which is 11:30 (either coming in after or leaving before that time) or half of the class period in middle and high school.
Students must attend the first day of school or risk losing their right to admission. If the Headmaster has not been notified of an excused absence, the Headmaster has discretion to reassign the admission spot. If a student misses the first 5 days of the school year (excused or unexcused), or is absent 10 days within the first 20 days of school, his/her admission spot may be reassigned. Openings created by student withdrawal within the first 20 days of school, will be filled with the next student on the waiting list. Openings that occur after the 20th day may be filled at the discretion of the Board of Directors from students on the waiting list.
North Carolina Compulsory Attendance law requires that every person from seven (7) to sixteen (16) years of age attend school every day unless otherwise excused by statute or other legitimate authority. Attendance plays a vital role in education. Students who attend school on a regular basis are better able to not experience gaps with the class discussions and complete assignments in a timely manner.
Absence from school for one day, or even from one class period, without acceptable cause, is considered truancy. Acceptable cause may include, with appropriate documentation, but is not limited to: in-school or out of school suspension, required religious observations, hospitalization, doctor’s written order for homestay, or death in the immediate family. Other situations may constitute acceptable cause and will be reviewed for approval on a case-by-case basis by the headmaster.
Evidence of habitual truancy includes, but is not necessarily limited to:
- Failure of parent/guardian to ensure that his/her child attends school or classes as required by law.
- In grades K-8, ten (10) or more absences from classes during a school year or
- In grades 9-12, five (5) or more absences from semester classes or ten (10) or more absences from yearlong classes.
When children are not in the classroom, consistent and sustainable learning is impeded. PCA staff and administration will communicate with parents/guardians regarding attendance in the following manner:
- The teacher shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of his or her child’s excessive absences after the child has accumulated three unexcused absences in a school year.
- After not more than six unexcused absences, the headmaster or designee shall notify the shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian by certified mail that he/she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the State and local boards of education. Once the parents are notified, the school attendance counselor (Dean of Academics & Student Affairs) shall work with the child and the child’s family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine steps, including adjustment of the school program or obtaining supplemental services, to eliminate the problem.
- After 10 accumulated unexcused absences in a school year, the headmaster or the headmaster’s designee shall review any report or investigation prepared under G.S. 115C-381 and shall confer with the student and the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian, if possible, to determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has received notification pursuant to this section and made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the headmaster/designee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the headmaster shall notify the district attorney and the director of social services of the county where the child resides. If the headmaster/designee determine that the parent, guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the headmaster may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor (https://www.ncdps.gov/sbc/sbc.cfm?cty=cleveland-27) pursuant to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes that the child is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse. Upon receiving notification by the headmaster/designee, the director of social services shall determine whether to undertake an investigation under G.S. 7B-302.
Parents/guardians should notify the school as soon as they know their child/children will be absent. When a child returns to school, a note signed by the parent/guardian must be sent with the child stating the reason and dates for the absence to ensure the absences are recorded appropriately. The note is to be turned in to the child’s homeroom teacher. Students with a combined total of 10 unexcused absences must bring in a doctor’s note for any subsequent absences.
The headmaster and/or other school personnel will follow-up and investigate all unexcused absences including late arrivals and early dismissals. If a student is habitually late or absent, a conference with the parent/guardian will be scheduled with the headmaster or designee to resolve the attendance problem.
An excused absence is one for which no negative consequence is assessed against the student per North Carolina law. Students who are absent from school for a valid reason (medical or other emergency) are required to provide documentation from the doctor’s office. Supporting documents may be required by the school and requested from the parent/guardian. Students must bring to the school a written excuse on the day that he/she returns to school. The note must include the date or time and a legitimate reason for the absence. Approval of excused absences (including approved Educational Opportunity absences) is made by the administration, but the student’s record is marked to reflect an absence per North Carolina law. Students are required to make up excused absences pursuant to “Attendance and Academics”, “Make-up Work”, and “Make-up Time” below.
Tardies and Early Release
Students are expected to be in school on time each day and remain in school for the entire school day. Early release from school is approved in the event of a child’s illness, a medical appointment, or a death of immediate family member. Parents/guardians must send documentation with their child when they return to school. Parents/guardians will come into the office to sign the student out for the day. Early dismissal and tardiness to school do count against the student’s attendance record and could result in disciplinary action (see Rule Violation 1, a. Tardiness/Early Release). Four unexcused tardies or four instances of unexcused early release will result in an unexcused absence.
Attendance and Academics
School attendance is one of the strongest indicators of student performance and academic achievement. When a student is absent more than 10 days, attendance will be one of the factors used in determining promotion/retention decision for K-8 grades. Middle School and High School students shall earn a grade of “F” if they exceed 5 absences for the grading period without making the time and work up. (See Make-up Time and Make-up Work below.) Middle School and High School students shall lose credit for the class with a permanent grade of “F” if they exceed 10 absences for the year. Elementary students shall lose credit with a permanent grade of “F” if they exceed 20 absences for the year. (See Make-up Time and Make-up Work below.) Additional factors and extenuating circumstances may be considered by the school administration in making a decision on whether to award an “F” as a result of absences that have not been made-up.
Students are expected to complete all work before leaving or immediately upon their return from an absence. In the case of illness or other unexpected absence, students or their families should contact their teachers as soon as they return to school to obtain their missed assignments. Make-up work is the responsibility of the student and will be due in accordance to number of days absent (e.g. 1 day absent = 1 day for make-up work; 2 days absent = 2 days for make-up work, etc.). Under extenuating circumstances, teachers may extend the deadline for make-up work. Work that is not completed by the deadline shall be assigned a grade of “0”.
Students are required to make up any absence beyond 10, whether excused or not. Students will be able to make up class time during the school’s normal remediation schedule. In grades K-5 students will be able to make up one absence by staying for remediation two times (e.g. Staying for remediation twice makes up one absence). In grades 6 and above, students will make up absences in their core academic courses and foreign language only. Students can make up one absence in a course by staying for remediation one day (e.g. 1 day is made up in Social Studies by staying for Social Studies remediation one afternoon). Foreign language may be made up at home via the Rosetta Stone program.