Stay In School Program
Parents & Guardians of the Florence Unified School District:
Beginning July 21st, we are starting a new program called the “Stay in School
Program”, which is designed to increase student attendance. Research has shown us that
students do much better in school if they attend school on a daily basis.
This program is in conjunction with the Pinal County Court systems. A.R.S. 15-
802.B.1 states that children are truant when they reach (5) five unexcused absences. The
Stay in School Program has a six-step process:
Step 1 - An intervention letter will be mailed home when a
child has three (3) or more unexcused absences.
Step 2 - Home visit
Step 3 - Phone call
Step 4 - Attendance contract (Parents need not be present)
Step 5 - Citation to court
Step 6 - If no response, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
What is the Stay in School Program?
A cooperative effort between agencies of the Florence Schools & Pinal County
An alternative truancy solution for schools.
Accountability for students and parents.
Tracking system for data.
There are two types of cases:
This includes a meeting with the parents, student, probation officer and school
officials. This may result in an agreement under which the student can stay in
2. Fast Track
In the event that Diversion is unsuccessful, the student is not eligible for
Diversion again. Or, when the nature and circumstances of the incident require a
prompt resolution of the problem.
The right and privilege of attending public schools carries with it certain responsibilities
on the part of both the parents and students. Parents and students must recognize the
direct relationship which exists between academic success and regular school attendance.
Excessive absences by our definition are: 5 days in one quarter; 10 days in one semester,
and 15 days in ¾ of the school year. Students with excessive absences will be referred to
the Pinal County Court. Failure to meet this standard will lead to a loss of credit unless
extenuating circumstances exist. Compliance is ultimately the responsibility of the
student and his/her parent or guardian.
Students, ideally, should remain in school. Only when absolutely necessary should they
be absent, as much of the classroom activity cannot be duplicated or repeated. Regular
attendance is the key to much of the success a student may gain from his or her school
Definition of Absence
A student is considered absent if he/she is not present in his or her assigned classroom
during the time he/she is assigned. A student not in his/her assigned class ten minutes
after the tardy bell is considered absent. According to A.R.S. 15-803, absences may be
considered excessive when the number of absent days exceed ten percent of the number
of required attendance days as prescribed in A.R.S. 15-802B1. After ten consecutive
absences the student will be withdrawn unless a serious medical condition documented
by a medical doctor is filed with the school.
Absences shall be considered excused when they result from:
Personal illness, verified by a note signed by the parent/guardian or telephone
message from the parent/guardian.
Doctor or dental appointment verified with an appointment slip or note.
Serious family illness or bereavement, verified by parent contact or note.
A student is absent due to a pre-arranged event whereby the parent/guardian
notifies the school office of the date/time of the absence and school administration
approves the absence.
Definition of an Unexcused Absence
An unexcused absence is an absence where the parent/guardian has not notified the
school attendance line or sent written notice excusing a student absence(s). Absences due
to truancy/ditching will be considered unexcused.
Procedure for Reporting Absences
Documentation must be provided within 24 hours of a student’s return to class.
Failure to verify an absence within one school day will result in the absence
remaining unexcused. An administrator may accept a documented absence
(excused) for the unforeseen circumstance if presented within 72 hours.
Parents/guardians are required to call the school or provide notes to explain
Make-up Work for Absences
Students returning from an unexcused absence will have an amount of time
equivalent to the number of days absent to make up the work assigned during the
It will be the student’s responsibility to see his/her teachers about arrangements to
make up missed work and assignments immediately upon returning to school.
Each ditch/truant represents an unexcused absence.
Our Stay In School program will be implemented and enforced by Nick McVicker our
truancy officer for the Florence Unified School District. If you have questions in
reference to this program, please feel free to call him at 520.866.6421.