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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


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)



A student with one or more unexcused absences


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