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Students in MPS ClassroomEvery day counts!

Milwaukee Public Schools wants every student to succeed! The first step toward a great year is to be in school all day, every day.

Children who are not in school are missing out on learning. Each time a child misses school, their classmates are still learning and moving forward. Children can quickly fall behind if they are not in school every day.

If you have a family situation that makes it difficult to get your child to school on time, talk to the teacher, parent coordinator, school social worker, or principal. They may have ideas or solutions to assist you.

Attendance Goal for Every Student: 95% or Higher!

Every student’s attendance goal for this year should be 95% or higher. Although this sounds impressive, 95% still means lost days of learning. See how close your child can get to 100% attendance!

What does 95% attendance mean?

95% attendance = 9 missed school days per year
95% attendance = 1 day missed every month
95% attendance = nearly 2 weeks missed over the course of a school year
95% attendance = half a school year missed over the course of 10 years

An attendance rate of 95% and above is vital to student success.
Help your child reach this goal!

Student in MPS ClassroomWhy Is Attendance Important?

Missing school during the first month can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half of the students who miss two to four days in September will miss nearly a month of school by the end of the year.

Poor attendance in kindergarten and first grade can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school year (about 18 days) negatively affects a student’s academic performance. This is equal to two days per month and is considered chronic absenteeism.

By sixth grade, chronic absenteeism is a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school. When students improve their attendance, they improve their grades, are more likely to graduate from high school, and are more connected to classmates.

In Wisconsin, Attendance in School Is Mandatory

Wisconsin state statute §118.15 requires children ages 6 to 18 to attend school unless a child is excused by a parent or guardian, has graduated, or is enrolled in an alternative or home-based private or other education program as permitted by law. By law, any person having under his/her control a child between the ages of 6 and 18 shall require the child to attend school regularly during the full period and hours that school is in session until the end of the school term, quarter, or semester of the school year in which the child becomes 18 years of age.

Parents must provide reasons for any absences by their child. The school attendance officer records whether the absence is excused or not excused (truant) according to guidelines set by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.

MPS Staff MPS Attendance Policy

Milwaukee Public Schools expects all students to be in their classrooms every day, ready to learn. Read the full attendance policy: Administrative Policy 8.13.

Tardy: If a student arrives to the school building 10 minutes after the start of the school day, they are marked tardy. The student will receive a late pass.

Notification: If a child must miss school for any reason, a parent or legal guardian must call the school office. Messages must include the reason for the absence.

Excused Absences: Absences are considered excused for medical and dental appointments, legal/court obligations, and specific family obligations or school-sponsored activities (see the complete list on this page).

Unexcused Absences: An absence is unexcused if it does not meet the criteria for excused absences or if timely documentation/notice is not provided to the school by a parent/guardian.

Pre-arranged Absences: When absences are known in advance, they may be prearranged as excused if they meet the following criteria: prolonged student medical issue; serious illness of a member of the student’s family; family emergency or bereavement; legal/court obligation; religious observation; school-sponsored, curricular, or academic-related activity.

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   Excused Absences

Some absences are valid and are considered excusable. A parent/guardian must notify the school for the absence to be excused. These absences are then marked excused in the student’s record.

* Personal illness
* Funerals
* Required legal appearances
* Designated religious holidays
* Medical/dental appointments
* Family emergencies in which the student is needed to ensure family well-being
* Driver examinations
* Educational or district-sponsored activities approved by the school principal
* All school suspensions, including any during the expulsion process, for up to 15 days
* Incarceration
* Verifiable cases of bus not stopping at a designated bus stop

In addition, parents/guardians have the right to excuse a student’s absence from school for any reason by submitting written notification prior to the student’s absence from school. A student may be excused for up to ten (10) days per year under this provision.

   Report an Excused Absence

An absence will be excused only when a parent/guardian notifies the school.

* Contact the office early in the school day or before school to report that your child will not be in school. Your child’s school will provide a phone number and specific steps that they want parents to take.
* You must also send a written note with your child when they return to class.
* If your child sees a health care provider, ask for a medical excuse that your child can give to the school.
* Work with your child’s teacher to make up any missed assignments or tests.


  Unexcused Absence

All other absences are unexcused. Five or more unexcused absences in a semester could result in disciplinary action.

Habitual Truancy

A child is considered habitually truant if he or she misses a total of five (5) full or partial days without a valid excuse during a school semester. The school has the authority to reject excuses that do not appear to be valid. The school will schedule a meeting with the parent/guardian to discuss ways to improve attendance. For more details, see Administrative Policy 8.14.

Your child is considered truant if:

* He/she is absent for all or part of the school day and you, as the parent/guardian, have not contacted the school with a legal excuse as noted under the list of excused absences.
* He/she attends school irregularly but often enough that he/she is not in violation of the state laws that require children to attend school.

  When to Keep a Sick Child Home from School

School is important, but sick children need to stay home. Please keep your child home if:

* They cannot sit up comfortably.
* They cannot pay attention.
* Their illness would disrupt others (such as coughing and sneezing).
* They are contagious and could spread sickness.
* They have symptoms listed below.

  If your child has any of the following symptoms, please keep your child home from school.

* Fever (temperature 100.4˚ or higher)
* Blistery rash
* Chills
* Fatigue
* Frequent cough
* Headache
* Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
* Muscle or body aches
* Nasal congestion or runny nose
* Recent loss of taste and smell
* Sore throat
* Vomiting or diarrhea
* COVID-19 symptoms

  Religious Observances

Milwaukee Public Schools welcomes families of all faiths. We recognize that important religious observances may fall on school days. Our schools take steps to support students who may have special requirements for dress, diet, fasting, or other religious expression.

You can help your school support your family’s religious observances.

* When your child starts school, talk to the teacher and school staff about your beliefs and needs.
* Consider carefully whether your child needs to miss school for a religious observance.
* Inform the school staff ahead of time when your child will miss school.
* Talk to your child’s teacher about making up any work your child may miss.

If you have any questions, please discuss them with school staff.

  Check Your Child’s Attendance and Grades

Children generally perform better in school when family members are involved in their education. MPS offers a valuable tool to help families track children’s progress. By logging into Infinite Campus Parent Portal, parents/guardians can see their children’s grades and attendance. This is a great way to track any issues and catch problems early.

By checking the Campus Parent Portal regularly, you can also contact the school to report and correct any errors.

Visit the MPS Campus Parent Portal webpage for more information and to learn how to log in.

  Tips to Improve Attendance

* Help your child develop daily routines such as going to bed and waking up on time, setting an alarm clock, and picking out clothes the night before.
* Try to schedule dental and medical appointments outside of the school day whenever possible. The student should attend class the remainder of the school day.
* Keep your child home ONLY if they are truly sick. Headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety. Talk with your child about stress or other concerns.
* Watch academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Children who are falling behind sometimes have anxiety and want to skip school.
* Make sure teachers know how to contact you to discuss any concerns.
* Ask for help from school staff, after-school programs, other parents, or community agencies if you are having trouble getting your child to school on time.

  What Can Parents and Guardians Do?

You can increase your child’s attendance and success in school. Try these tips!

* Talk to your child about school—every day, if you can. This will assure you that your child has been in school, and will help you find out if your child is having any problems. If you discover a problem, talk with the teacher or school staff so it can be addressed right away.
* Celebrate and praise your child’s successes. Children want you to be proud of them.
* Get to know your child’s teacher so you understand classroom procedures.
* Join the Parent-Teacher Association, support school events, or volunteer. When parents are involved, children feel a sense of belonging.
* Sign up for the Infinite Campus Parent Portal so you can check your child’s progress and get school updates.
* Ask to see your child’s homework each night. Offer help if needed. Be positive about what your child has done. If your child is struggling, encourage him/her to ask for help in class the next day.
* If you think your child might be skipping school, talk to the staff.
* Keep a calendar of important school dates: first day, last day, holidays, days off for teacher trainings, and so on. Find calendars on the MPS School Calendars webpage or ask for a copy at your child’s school.
* If you are having difficulty getting your child to school, speak to school staff. They may be able to help with tutoring, counseling, or other support to help your child feel comfortable in school.

  How Can MPS Help Parents and Guardians?

MPS has staff and resources to help families through many types of difficulties. You can ask for assistance to get the help you need.

* Talk to your child’s teacher, principal, or parent coordinator.
* Ask to meet with the school counselor, school nurse, school psychologist, or school social worker.
* Ask about transportation options in the district.
* Find out about requesting an assessment to see if your child has special needs.
* Check out options for before- and after-school care.
* Contact the MPS Homeless Education Program and learn what resources are available.

  Inclement Weather

School closure or delayed start decisions will be posted on the MPS website ( and carried on local media. We encourage and support families in making attendance decisions for child(ren) based on travel conditions at your location. Please do not assume that school is closed when weather is bad—be sure to check the district website or local media.

Types of Weather Closures

Closure of all district schools and facilities

* All daytime and evening activities/events are canceled.

2-hour delay in opening school

* All schools will open two hours later than the regular start time.

Early closure of schools due to weather

* Refer to our website and local media for more detailed information.
* All daytime and evening activities/events are canceled.

For information on inclement weather

* Check your emails, voicemails, and texts for notifications from MPS.
* Follow Milwaukee Public Schools on social media.

For more information, review the Parent/Student Handbook on Rights, Responsibilities, and Discipline

Available at or by logging into your  Campus Parent Portal account.

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2023
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