Student Welfare and Social Services
The Student Welfare and Social Services Department serves the parents, students and staff of Huntsville City Schools. The department includes student support in the areas of attendance, discipline, truancy and social services.
In addition, the department assists parents and school personnel in interpreting policies and procedures that pertain to the areas included.
The Huntsville City Board of Education believes good student attendance enhances learning. When a student is not in school, he/she misses valuable instructional time. For this reason, the Board equates attendance with academic achievement and establishes policies and procedures designed to encourage and require students to be in school.
- Excused Absences – Parent(s)/guardian(s) must provide a written explanation of the reason(s) for each absence within two school days after each absence (or consecutive absences). If the written explanation is not provided within the two day period, the absences will be coded unexcused. A student must be in attendance one-half day to be counted present. Absences will be excused for the following reason:
- Personal illness without doctor’s excuse, with parent/guardian excuse
- Personal illness with a doctor’s statement
- Death in the immediate family
- Weather preventing attendance (would endanger student’s health)
- Legal requirements, such as subpoena or other required court appearance
- Legal quarantine
A student may have a total of 7 excused absences for illness without a doctor’s statement. After an accumulation of 7 excused absences for illness without a doctor’s statement, the student will receive unexcused absences for illness unless absences are documented with a doctor’s statement. Any exception to this policy will require a doctor’s documentation of a chronic illness which causes absences which may not comply with the attendance policy. A student will still receive excused absences for reasons b, c, d, or e above.
- Unexcused Absences– Any absence(s) not classified as excused absence(s) will be coded unexcused. Days absent due to suspension will be classified as unexcused. All suspended students will be allowed to make up homework, tests, or activities, etc. missed due to suspension.
- Absences Due to School Related Activities – Students who participate in school sponsored, school related, or authorized activities and are thereby absent from school or class will not be counted absent from school. Students are expected to make up work missed while attending the activities, and should be given the same opportunities as those afforded students with excused absences. Students who attend but do not participate in school sponsored or school authorized activities will be counted ‘absent’ and the absence will be considered unexcused unless otherwise excused by the principal.
- Absences Due to Religious Purposes – Absences for religious purposes are excused only if the parent/guardian submits a written request. Such requests must clearly specify the denomination and the particular religious observance for which the excused absence is requested. Requests for excused religious absences exceeding three days per student, per year, must be approved in writing by the principal or the assistant principal.
The Huntsville City School System shall comply with Alabama law (Section 16-28-40) governing school attendance standards and the operation of motor vehicles. School attendance standards are met by enrollment in a school or General Educational Development (GED) program or job training program approved by the State Department of Education.
The Department of Safety will be notified when a student has more than 10 consecutive or 15 cumulative days of unexcused absence during a single semester.
The Early Warning Program is designed to reduce truancy, the number of student dropouts, and to provide an intervention program for student behavior at school.
Truancy & Conduct Intervention Program
The Early Warning Program is a joint effort between the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education and the District Attorney’s Office. It is designed to reduce truancy and the number of student dropouts, The format of the program consists of a group session held at a school. The purpose of the Early Warning is to share information concerningthe legal requirements and school board policies pertaining to attendance-thus, an Early Warning.
Students who have a referral filed against them for any of the following, when need to attend Early Warning along with their parents:
- Seven (7) or more unexcused absences;
- Seven (7) or more questionable excused absences which were not satisfactorily explained;
- Ten or more unexcused tardies.
All students (K-12) are subject to the regulations of the Early Warning Program and the provisions as follows:
“Every child between the ages of 6 and 17 years shall be required to attend a public school, private school, church schoo,l or be instructed by a competent private tutor for the entire length of the school term in every scholastic year---.”
Requires that any parent/guardian who enrolls a student in school be responsible for the students’ regular attendance and proper conduct. A parent/guardian conficted of failing to do so may be fined $100.00 and receive up to 90 days in jail.
Provides that a parent may be fined $500.00 and receive up to one year in jail if convicted of parental neglect; contributing to the delinquency of a minor; or if the child is found to be a child in Need of Supervision. They may also be required to pay restitution to the Board of Education.
An important part of the Early Warning Program is to offer help or assistance to parents and students with problems which may interfere with the Hearing Process
The Facts About Chronic Absence
- Nationwide an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students are chronically absent each year, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of the school year in excused and unexecused absences. That's about 18-19 days in a typical year.
- High levels of chronic absence are found in urban, suburban and rural communities. In some school districts, as many as one in four students are chronically absence.
- This is not just a high school problem. One in 10 kindergarten and 1st grade students is chronically absence.
- Low-income students are four times more likely to be chronically absent than their middle class peers.
- Chronic absence occurs even when the absences occur sporadically throughout the year.
Please see the list of links for more resources.
- Attendance Works is a national organization dedicated to improving the policy, practice and research around attendance. Its website offers materials, research and success stories about reducing chronic absence. Attendance Works also offers technical assistance to school districts and communities. www.attendanceworks.org
- Everyone Graduates Center combines analysis of the causes, location, and consequences of the nation's dropout crisis with the development of tools and models designed to keep all students on the path to graduation. That includes tracking of early warning indicators, including chronic absence. www.new.every1graduates.org
- Get Schooled was founded on the belief that students themselves have the power to improve their future if given the right information and motivation. The organization sponsors attendance contests, wake-up calls and leverages the key influences in teens' lives to directly engage them on their path through high school and into college. www.getschooled.com
Huntsville City Schools is under an agreement with the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) to establish a framework and collaboration that addresses the unique challenges faced by students of military families as they go through times of school moves and other related transitions, deployment, or reintegration of a military parent.
Through the agreement with MCEC, Huntsville City Schools has several employees who have been selected to serve as Military Student Transition Affiliate’s (MSTA) that are able to assume additional work responsibilities in support of military connected students. Affiliates are part of the school culture, on site and able to build relationships in order to problem solve at the local level.
For additional information and services provided through MCEC, please visit the MCEC website.
- 211 (211)
- Alabama Department of Human Resources (256-427-6000)
- Big Brothers & Big Sisters of North Alabama (256-880-2123)
- Boys & Girls Club (256-534-6060)
- Bradford Health Services (866-977-7158)
- Breaking Free Rescue Mission (855-398-9837)
- Bryant smith (Winning Foundation) (256-975-4321)
- Christmas Charities Year-Round (256-837-2373)
- Downtown Rescue Mission (256-536-2441)
- HEALS Clinic (256-428-7560)
- Hope Place (256-716-1000)
- Huntsville Housing Authority (256-539-0774)
- Manna House (256-503-4848)
Parents Impact Aid is a federal program that provides financial resources to schools impacted by federally-owned, tax-exempt properties in the military and other communities. These funds become part of our District’s operating budget and are critical to helping us with resources for our students and teachers.
Please be sure to return your completed form to your child’s school of origin. Online versions of the forms may be found on the Impact Aid page. If there are questions on how to complete the Impact Aid Program Survey Form, please contact Student Welfare and Social Services at (256) 428-6893
HCS encourages parents to make a reasonable attempt to discuss and resolve concerns directly with the appropriate teacher, counselor, and/or principal at the lowest possible level. If all steps have been followed and an agreed-upon resolution has not been reached, please complete the form below and submit it to the Student Welfare Department to best facilitate resolution of your concern in a timely manner. If this matter is related to bullying/harassment/intimidation, please refer to Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form, (GS-P1-F1) located on the website of your assigned school.