September 2, 2015
Dear EPISD Parents,
The El Paso Independent School District believes that all students should have the opportunity to obtain a well-rounded educational experience that includes outstanding academic opportunities and the many extracurricular experiences available. This will continue to be the District’s goal for our students.
The District has been advised by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that the state law requiring at least 90 percent attendance by students to receive credit for a class applies to any student absence from the classroom during regular class activities. We have adjusted our procedures according to this requirement and have put into place a series of procedures to safeguard students, teachers, and the school regarding attendance and course credit.
This letter serves as a guide for clarifying questions you may have regarding policies FEC (Local) and FEC (Regulation) requirements regarding the 90 percent attendance rule and ensuring that students make up any work missed due to absences caused by participation in extracurricular activities. We realize that this is a departure from previous practice, particularly in recording attendance for students participating in school-related activities (i.e. athletics, fine arts, student government, JROTC, etc.). We wish to reassure parents and students that participation in school-related activities will not place any additional burden on students other than doing any required class work as has been the normal practice in the past.
The following is our plan to encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities while staying in compliance with the law:
- If a student misses a class for any reason, including participation in school events, the student must make up any work missed at that time. Students who participate in school-sponsored activities have almost always made up missed work, even before this new rule, because make up work helps students maintain their grades by not falling behind in classes and this, in turn, keep students eligible to participate. This has rarely been a problem in the past since most sponsors and coaches understand their academic responsibilities and monitor students to ensure compliance and eligibility.
- If a class is participating in an outside activity together (i.e. field trips), there is no absence recorded for that class and no additional work other than what the teacher assigns based on the group activity. However, if the field trip causes an absence in another class/subject with a different teacher, that does count as an absence for the other class as per the 90 percent rule and any work missed must be made up and documented.
- Once make up work has been completed, the primary burden is on the teachers to submit documentation to the principal and intervention teams to provide proof that the student made up the work. This information will then be submitted to the appropriate school committee for review.
- Under normal circumstances, school activities with work already completed will fall under the "Extenuating Circumstances" category and will receive approval by the campus for credit, thus relieving the student of any further responsibility for that absence.
- The absence will, however, still be recorded for the student for classes missed for activities where the whole class is not involved. This is required by TEA.
- The result of this process is that the student can safely participate in the activity, submit required work, receive credit for the period, and ensure that their grade and attendance status in the school are in compliance. The student will be in no danger of losing credit, failing, or suffering any other consequence.
- Absences due to participation in school-sponsored activities, while subject to the 90 percent rule for attendance and make up work purposes, will not be counted against a student for the calculation of campus Perfect Attendance Awards. Students who miss class for these activities will still be eligible to receive these campus awards.
EPISD will continue to strongly encourage our students to participate in school-sponsored activities, athletics, and events. We apologize for any inconvenience cause by these requirements, but the District is obligated to abide by all state attendance laws. We ask your cooperation in encouraging your children to continue participation, to make up any work due to absences (as they have always done), and to join the El Paso ISD in guaranteeing them a full and rewarding experience in our schools.