Thank you so much! I was able
to write an email with some knowledge using your resources, the "Missing School Advocacy Kit" and "Missing
School Closing the Gaps," Best Practices program! I wasn't harsh or accusatory
but I was confident and to the point. I received a call back later this
afternoon from the head of the special needs department. None of the missing
work will be held against my daughter's grade and they are offering her online
tutoring with a math teacher during the summer so she can actually complete the
work and isn't behind next year... Thank you again, I needed a quick action
plan because tomorrow is the close of the term and you really helped me out! -- Kathryn B, June 16, 2011
who are missing school because of health conditions need to know that
schools may be violating their civil rights under Section 504 and the
staff create or ignore
conditions that make healthy children sick or sick children sicker,
such as poor ventilation, moldy carpets, furry animals, renovation
activity, toxic chemicals or other sources of contamination that are
barriers to attendance or that handicap their performance or ability to
school policies deny
instructional support or limit instructional services to a certain
numbers of hours per week or to after school hours.
teachers penalize a student for missed class time due to health problems.
students do not receive the continuity and quality of instruction necessary to maintain academic progress.
PRINCIPLE: "The singular purpose for determining that a student has a
disability is to increase the educational opportunities available to
that student so that he/she progresses through school. The
responsibility of the evaluation team is to ensure that each student
receives the most appropriate educational program in the Least
Restrictive Environment..." Educating the Whole Student, MA Dept. of
Education, September, 1992
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
specialize in educational planning for students with chronic health
conditions. I know that supportive policies, good resources and good
planning can protect health, prevent crises, and reduce the toll of
prolonged or intermittent absences on a child's health, education and
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The information presented in this article is for educational purposes
and does not substitute for the professional advice of your lawyer or
Characteristics of a Good Teacher-Student Match for a Student at High Risk for Missing School
with an injury or a chronic or re-occurring health condition may have
frequent, repeated, intermittent, and extended periods of disrupted
attendance and impaired functioning. They are at high risk of being
left out and left behind.
This checklist lists the teacher
characteristics and practices that support and protect students at risk for missing school, who have a history of missing
school, and who are re-entering school after an injury or illness.
Schools and parents can use this list to design a resource, recovery and re-entry plan. Students may also need an IEP or S. 504 plan.
Sections: Prevalence Psychosocial and Educational Consequences Returning to School The Professional School counselor's Current Role Barriers to School Reentry Model School Reentry Programs A Role for Professional School Counselors Strategies for School Reentry Services Suggested Strategies for Working with the Family Sugggested Strategies for Working with the Student Suggested Strategies for Working with the Sibling Suggested Strategies for Working with the School Community Preparing for a Proactive Role Conclusion Appendix A: Resources
CONTINUITY OF LEARNING
Administrative And Educational Advantages of Good Distant Learning Systems, Virtual Classrooms, and other alternative learning options.
school can enhance education for all students by evaluating and
redesigning its student support systems.
For example, a school may
expand its student service program to engage high school and middle
school students in academic assistance projects within and across
grades with students in and out of school.
A school district may take
advantage of community technology and networks to include library
and online resources or to involve the extended community as mentors and
All Healthy Kids
materials are reviewed and revised in response to comments and
suggestions from the professionals and parents who use them. Your
feedback increases the usefulness of these items to others. I'd be
especially glad to hear about problems that you have solved or policies
or practices that Healthy Kids information has influenced. I look
forward to hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you or someone you know missing school?
Missing School Advocacy Kit v.2009 Part 1: Meeting The Challenge Of Disrupted Attendance
most students, missing a few days does not affect their school work or
estrange them from friends. However, for students with asthma,
allergies, migraines, chemical injury and other environmental
illnesses, cancer, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, severe
injuries, prolonged illnesses and other chronic health conditions,
keeping up with school work and keeping in touch with teachers and
peers can sometimes be a real challenge.
Managing the Chutes & Ladders of Educational Disruption for Students with Chronic Health Conditions Read more >> WHO IS MISSING SCHOOL?
with chronic health conditions, acute health problems or traumatic
injuries may be at home or in the hospital for frequent, prolonged or
reoccurring periods of time. Their medical evaluations, treatments or
rehabilitation can contribute to additional periods of disrupted
attendance as well as limited stamina or alertness. Pain or the side
effects of medication may impose unpredictable episodes of weakness or
limited functioning. Students may miss some or most of the school day,
or be hospitalized or in recovery for unpredictable lengths of time.
are also students whose special interests (performing arts, sports) or
professional commitments create schedule conflicts with school hours.
Other students miss school, or suffer stress, fatigue and distraction
because family circumstances involve them in the personal care of
family members with disabilities or require them to work for necessary
income. Students may miss school while grieving the loss of a family
member, during pregnancy or because child care is unreliable.
many areas of the country, students face geographic or transportation
barriers to regular attendance, especially during extreme weather
conditions. Some students miss school to accompany parents on business
travel. A large number of students miss instructional time in regular
classes because special education services and 'pull-out' therapies are
scheduled during regular class time with no planning for filling in the
gaps in regular instruction.
THE PROBLEM: EDUCATIONAL DEPRIVATION
Lost class time, at any age and for any reason, can impose an acute as well as a cumulative handicap on students.
OUT AND LEFT BEHIND. Students who miss school because of health
conditions can also suffer secondary educational losses unrelated to
their academic ability. The school may impose grading or promotion
penalties for missed time or missed "work." Students experience
education neglect when a school records missed school time as an
'excused' absence but provides no instructional services or support. An
additional hardship is imposed when teachers demand that students do
assigned 'work' or take tests in spite of missing instruction. School
officials may also misclassify or misinterpret absences as truancy,
criminalizing the problem.
Department of Education regulations implementing Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require schools to provide a free and
appropriate public education to students with disabilities regardless
of the nature or severity of their disability.
provision of an appropriate education is the provision of regular or
special education and related aids and services that are designed to
meet the individual educational needs of the person with a disability
as adequately as the needs of non-disabled persons are met.
1994, Department of Education - Office for Civil Rights, Region 1,
found Boston Public Schools in violation of Section 504 for the policy
and practice of arbitrarily limiting instructional services to a set
maximum number of hours per week, limiting home services to after
school hours, failing to provide continuity and coordination of
services, and failing to respond to complaints of insufficiency of
it violates the student's rights under educational and civil rights
laws, many school policies or customs arbitrarily limit instructional
services without first considering the extent of the individual
student's needs. Schools may inappropriately prohibit a student's
participation in extra curricular activities or school programs.
schools impose arbitrary waiting periods before recognizing a student's
'eligibility' for services and then it is usually too little, too late.
Students then suffer the double problem of trying to make up and keep
up with ongoing class demands.
TUTORING = INSUFFICIENT SERVICES
is the most commonly used assistance option. However, it is often
provided reluctantly, and it is costly and generally ineffective. When
teachers do not provide for continuity of instruction and for a reentry
plan that would facilitate the student's reintegration, it
significantly diminishes the value of attendance.
most common complaints about tutoring include the lack of tutor-teacher
communication, the lack of structured plans or learning objectives,
unqualified tutors, inadequate instructional time and no meaningful
evaluation. No wonder that many students feel left out and left behind. GOOD PRACTICES
can protect students' educational progress and save funds wasted on
inappropriate and ineffective 'tutoring' by developing supportive
proactive policies, identifying appropriate resources, and by enhancing
teachers' communication, planning and documentation systems.
Students who miss class time need:
1) explicit goals and learning objectives,
2) structured study guides that preview and review lessons, and
3) reliable communication about activities and events they have missed.
policies, good resources and good planning can reduce the toll of
prolonged or intermittent absences on a student's health, education and
a formal written plan to protect students against gaps in learning
makes good educational sense. It is the right thing to do and the
legally appropriate thing to do.
A written plan clarifies needs and provides guidelines for immediate and long-term support.
good plan enhances the staff's professional repertoire, supports
multidisciplinary teamwork, and fully exploits today's enriched menu of
multiple instructional delivery options and assessment tools including
multimedia, communications and computer technology and community
The 3Rs for students missing school. A Resource, Recovery and Re-entry Plan
It isn't about the 'work' that the child owes the school, it is the educational opportunity the school owes the child.
The lack of an educational continuity plan is a barrier to learning and diminishes the benefit and value of attendance.
When a child is missing time in the classroom, the child's needs a personalized plan of instruction designed to close and prevent gaps and to deliver educational benefit. For example, review credit recovery and accelerated learning programs, materials and methods designed for self-paced, independent and alternative learners using both synchronous, asynchronous and blended systems. See School Closed? You Can Continue Learning .
Students needs a 3R plan (as an IEP or 504 plan) if they are at risk for missing school or having problems with variable attention, memory, stamina, alertness, medication side effects and other potential barriers to learning. The school protects against educational gaps by employing instructional programs to preview, reinforce and review learning. It also enhances educational quality and performance for all learners.
The S. 504 Plan is a formal written agreement for a student that is developed by the school staff working in partnership with the student's parents and health care providers (and the student).
The goal of the plan is to identify barriers to education for a student at risk for disrupted attendance and to provide the instructional resources and services that enable the student to make meaningful educational progress.