• Subject:  How does the district attendance policy affect your child?


    September 6, 2023


    Dear Parents and Students,

    We hope your child is having a great first day back at school.  We wish them a successful school year.

    There are obviously many factors that affect your child’s success, but perhaps the most important one is attendance.  Obviously, we can’t successfully educate your child if they don’t come to school.

    Nationwide, school districts have seen a large increase in student absenteeism since COVID.  Physical health and mental health issues have kept students out of school at significant rates, and the NPCSD is no different.  Last year we had many students who had excessive absence rates. In fact, out of the 1,809 students registered in the district last year, 430 of them missed at least 18 days or 10 % of the school year.  I am sure you will agree that this is a lot of students missing a lot of time.

    In an effort to address this problem, the school board updated the district attendance policy.  The updated attendance policy can be found at:  Attendance Policy

    A significant change in the policy is the inclusion of the following statement:



    The district will continue to keep close track of student attendance in school.  For elementary students, attendance will be considered on a daily basis.  For middle school  and high school students, attendance will be considered on a class-by-class basis.  Therefore, it may be possible for a MS or HS student to be considered chronically absent in some classes and not others.


    Here are a few points to keep in mind:


    • Excused and unexcused absences will both count toward the 20-day limit

    • In most cases, if students miss more than 10 minutes of a 40-minute class, they will be considered absent from that class for the day.

    • If a HS student misses an 80 minute class that will count as two absences.

    • Students who go on vacation when school is in session will accrue days toward their 20-day limit.

    • As students near the designation  of “chronically absent,” school employees will reach out to parents to schedule an attendance conference.

    • At the attendance conference, administrators will look to understand the reasons for the chronic absenteeism. Together, the students, parents, teachers, and administrators will develop a plan to support families and students which would include how a student can make up missed work and time.


    At a school board retreat on August 16th, the board further affirmed their interest in addressing the chronic absenteeism problems in our district by designating decreased absenteeism as a district goal for the 2023-2024 school year.


    We hope you share our belief that chronic absenteeism is an important problem to solve.  We would greatly appreciate it if you would have a conversation with your child on this topic.  Please stress to them the importance of attending school whenever they are well enough to do so.  Please explain to your children why it is best not to schedule vacations when school is in session.  Talk to them about the importance of showing up for their commitments.  We want to support your efforts in instilling in our students the commitment and work ethic that they will need to find success after they graduate from New Paltz High school.

    Thank you in advance for your help with this very important initiative.  Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.


    Stephen Gratto - Superintendent