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Old 06-20-2013, 05:54 PM
 
1,339 posts, read 2,967,285 times
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Hi:

My son is a rising second-grader in FCPS and his interests fit right into my avid passion for traveling. Thus, every Christmas and Spring break, we go visit foreign countries. I always take permission from his teacher if he's missing school and so far both his KG and First Grade teachers have allowed him to miss school. He missed 5 days in KG and 7 days in First Grade. Both the teachers shared the belief that at his age, he was learning way more things travelling the world rather than being in the class room. Plus, he writes his own daily travelogue so the teachers were thrilled that he practiced his writing everyday even when he wasn't in school!


I am sure that at some grade this will have to stop. My questions are:
  1. What is the grade at which it becomes difficult for kids to keep up with school work if they miss school?
  2. Is missing school for a vacation (international travel only; I would not pull him out for a trip to Disneyland World) dependent purely on the teacher and student?
  3. At how many days does a FCPS school/principal step in and say, "Whoa! That's way too many days missed! You are going to have to repeat the grade!"
  4. Is there anything that I should be aware of that might have negative repercussions on his school record?
Please advise.

Thanks,
K11
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:01 PM
 
406 posts, read 507,692 times
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Can't speak for Fairfax County, but out in Loudoun no one ever stands up to the parents an ounce. You're obviously far more considerate. My wife's $$$$ Ashburn students routinely miss for some exotic trip or another and then they expect the teachers to bend over backwards helping them make stuff up.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:53 PM
 
1,287 posts, read 1,734,969 times
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My mom was a teacher and it does put a burden on the teacher. It not their job to reteach kids that go on extended vacations. I think you will find that as your child gets older the more resistance you'll find. Having your kid make up the work, or even get the work prior to leaving, IS putting an additional burden on the teacher that already has 25+ kids in her class. Of course it always about timing. What if starting a new section in science or math and your child misses the entire week? In PW, the rule is 10 days or more, the principal can make the "call" if a kid needs to repeat a grade. I think this rarely or never actually done.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,576,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
  1. What is the grade at which it becomes difficult for kids to keep up with school work if they miss school?
  2. Is missing school for a vacation (international travel only; I would not pull him out for a trip to Disneyland World) dependent purely on the teacher and student?
  3. At how many days does a FCPS school/principal step in and say, "Whoa! That's way too many days missed! You are going to have to repeat the grade!"
  4. Is there anything that I should be aware of that might have negative repercussions on his school record?
1. I don't know how difficult it is in upper elementary, but I know it's a nightmare in middle school. I teach 8th grade algebra, and have had numerous students miss school for various reasons. I can almost guarantee that a child who misses more than a day of school (for any reason--sick, family obligation, vacation) will be behind in my class when they come back.

I try my hardest to make it a smooth absence for the child. Given enough notice, I will make a packet of missing work (or it is ALWAYS posted to blackboard the day we cover it in class), and provide the student with links to youtube videos covering the material, websites of practice problems, and helpful hints. Even still, unless the parent is able to help the child complete the assignment (hopefully correctly!), almost 100% of the time the child comes back confused, not able to complete the work.

2. It is not up to the teacher at my school. The parent tells the office they are taking their child out. It is an unexcused absence if it is just a vacation, but the school won't tell the parents they can't. I had a student leave in May this year to go to Africa for 6 weeks. I was responsible for tutoring the child after school every day up until our standardized test to teach her the material we weren't going to get to before she left. Had I had a say in it, I'd have asked the parents if it wasn't possible to move the trip back a month so she didn't have to miss school, but I had no say.

3. In my attendance book it showed the aforementioned student as "withdrawn" (presumably because missing that many days of school would have broken county truancy policies). As long as she had passing grades when she withdrew though, she's good to go for 9th grade.

4. Not that I can think of. I'm jealous--I wish I had gotten to travel as a kid!
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:54 PM
 
57 posts, read 108,149 times
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Take all the vacation you can while they are still in elementary school! Try not to burden the teacher too much. When my son was in middle school I learned one needs to get an "excused absence". If they do not deem your trip as "excused" then if you child misses a test or important in class activity, they are not required to schedule a make up. My kids were offered a Pentagon tour, and I called ahead to let the teachers know. They told me I had to get an excused absence. Since it was clearly educational, it was granted. FCPS are a little easier about this than they used to be, but it also varies from school to school. There is very little one cannot make up in elementary. I wish I had pulled my kids more when it was easier. Good luck.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:07 PM
 
504 posts, read 1,026,835 times
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I use to take my son out of school for an out-of-town endurance auto racing event in the Fall. Can't do it anymore now that he is in HS - too much to catch up. Don't think it would be much of an issue in ES unless you are talking about long extended vacation.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:59 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,724 posts, read 10,616,557 times
Reputation: 19896
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
  1. What is the grade at which it becomes difficult for kids to keep up with school work if they miss school?
  2. Is missing school for a vacation (international travel only; I would not pull him out for a trip to Disneyland World) dependent purely on the teacher and student?
  3. At how many days does a FCPS school/principal step in and say, "Whoa! That's way too many days missed! You are going to have to repeat the grade!"
  4. Is there anything that I should be aware of that might have negative repercussions on his school record?
1. Every year it will get more and more difficult. Once they are in high school, it is not a good idea. Right now if your child is bright, it really isn't a big deal because he's probably ahead of the other kids anyway. Once they start getting "tracked" making up work and lost instruction is going to get difficult.

2. It is up to the principal. However, while I'm not sure how it works in FCPS, in my last school system it was up to the teacher whether missed work was given prior to the trip or after.

3. Virginia, unlike the state I just left, does not have a statewide minimum attendance policy, they leave it up to the individual school boards. Fairfax County does not appear to have any hard and fast rules but you might want to note:
Quote:
When are absences unexcused?
Absences that occur because of childcare, work, or other family issues typically are not excused. Extended family trips during the school year typically are not excused. Families should plan their vacations for times when school is not in session. It is essential that patterns of absence, and the reasons for them, be addressed as early as possible.
4. You might want to read the following:
http://www.boarddocs.com/vsba/fairfa...file/R2234.pdf
http://www.boarddocs.com/vsba/fairfa...file/P2232.pdf

You might want to note:
Quote:
In order to comply with state recordkeeping requirements, students shall be withdrawn from FCPS student membership rolls after 15 consecutive days of absence regardless of whether their absences are excused or unexcused. Withdrawn students are not excused from mandatory school attendance requirements and are expected to reenroll as soon as possible.
Your child probably does learn more from your trips than they would in school but once they get to middle school and beyond it will cause problems.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
989 posts, read 2,473,063 times
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I would suggest taking your vacations to coincide with the last week or two of school. There was nothing but parties and field days the last week and a half of school this year. Really no point to the kids being present.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:59 AM
 
531 posts, read 1,207,976 times
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If the absence is unexcused, what's the consequence besides missing school work? Is there something bad attached to the student's record similar to a bad job performance record for adults?
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:24 AM
 
1,826 posts, read 2,595,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdcrim View Post
I would suggest taking your vacations to coincide with the last week or two of school. There was nothing but parties and field days the last week and a half of school this year. Really no point to the kids being present.
Yes and no. You are right, from an academic point they aren't missing much those last weeks and if they need to be out it is better than other times in the year, BUT, they also miss the memories, the closures, and basically the fun that is what everyone remembers from school. What kid is going to remember missing math but will remember missing their Medieval Festival, or their clas party, or signing the yearbooks, or their "graduation"? Those goodbyes are important.

As for absences for trips, it's been well covered here. FCPS cannot penalize by grades for absences and trips are considered unexcused. It is up to the teacher and school regarding what they need to make up. The law is after five unexcused absences there is to be a referral to the attendance officer. I don't see that happening at the elementary level that quickly, especially when it is known why they are out. Also, if that is the only absences for the year, it isn't too bad.

Look at Fairfax County Public Schools: Special Services: Special Services: Attendance Information. There is a lot on information there regarding attendance and school engagement.
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