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Attendance Terms to Know

This glossary provides an explanation of basic terms relating to CPS attendance and truancy policy and practices.

Absence note: A paper note providing a valid reason for the student's absence must be submitted to the school for the absence to be considered excused

Attendance rate: Percentage of days present out of total days enrolled; attendance rate includes both excused and unexcused absences

Truant: A student with one or more unexcused absences

Chronic absentee: A student with 18 or more excused or unexcused absences (10 percent or more of days enrolled)

Chronic truant: A student with 9 or more unexcused absences for the school year (5 percent or more of days enrolled)

Excused absence: Students’ absences are considered as excused absences when they take place for one of the following reasons:

  • Student illness
  • Observance of a religious holiday (absence note required)
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Family emergency
  • Circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent for their child's safety or health (must be approved by the principal)
  • Other situations beyond the control of the student (as determined by principal)

Unexcused absence: A student absence that is not for one of the six valid reasons is deemed an unexcused absence: 

  • An unexcused absence for all or part of a school day by a student in grades K through 12 is deemed a truant absence and the student is designated a truant student
  • A truant absence by a grade 9 through 12 student is referred to as a "cut"
  • A chronic truant is a K through 12 student who has 9 or more full-day unexcused absences for the school year