Chronic Absenteeism and Attendance Information

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This year, Brewer School Department is making a special effort to ensure that all students fully benefit from their education by attending school regularly.  Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By being present at school, your child learns valuable social skills and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other students and school staff.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contributions to our school. We would like you to help ensure that your student attends regularly and is successful in school. 

Brewer High School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 989-4140 before 9 AM to report the absence. In addition, the student must also bring a signed note no later than the second day of their return to school; late notes will not be accepted.  Unless the school is notified by note, the absence will be treated as an unexcused absence.

Brewer Community School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 404-5702 before their child’s official start to the school day (7:50 for students in grades 5-8 and 8:30 for students in grades PK-4) to report the absence. If the school is not notified, the absence will be considered unexcused.  A written note may also be sent in to the office when the student returns to school to excuse the absence no later than 2 days after the date of the absence.

OUR PROMISE TO YOU

We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time.  Our guidance counselors, school nurse, and administrative team are here to listen and help with issues that may impact the challenges you face in getting to school regularly.  We promise to track attendance daily, to notice when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why they were absent, and to identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.

SCHOOL POLICIES AND STATE LAWS

It is important that you understand our school policies and procedures, as well as Maine State Law, to ensure your child is successful in school. State law for compulsory attendance requires children from age 7 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Youth who are 15 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements. 

There have been some changes that have been implemented in Maine State law regarding chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism occurs when your child misses 10% of the days they are enrolled in school for any reason including excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences.  In Brewer, for a student attending the entire school year, chronic absenteeism would be 17 days or an average of approximately two days a month! Students are also considered absent if they are not present for more than 50% of the day.

Please know your child(ren) will be identified as chronically absent at the state level, as the Brewer School Department is required to report all chronically absent students to the Maine Department of Education. If a child is also considered truant, then reports must be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services as well as to law enforcement. Parents are responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Prepare for school the night before, finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations.
  • Don’t let your student stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Keep track of your student’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days could put your student at risk of falling behind. 
  • Talk to your student about the importance of attendance.
  • Talk to your students’ teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Encourage meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs.

Sincerely,

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Libra Foundation Supports PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers

April 24, 2018 8:44 am

BREWER — Penobscot Community Health Care is pleased to announce that the Libra Foundation Fund recently awarded a $10,000 grant in support of PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers. With clinics at the Brewer Community School and Brewer High School, PCHC provides more than 1700 students access to medical, dental, and mental health services.

Lori Dwyer, Esq., President and CEO states, “Much like the Libra Foundation, PCHC strives to empower our patients and the communities we serve by improving their health and well-being and enhancing their quality of life. The funding awarded by the Libra Foundation to PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers will support the provision of medical, dental, and mental health services to children in the Brewer schools who otherwise might be without access to these crucial services. Our future certainly lies with our children and we are thankful the Libra Foundation recognizes our important work.”

Not only are the services convenient and affordable, data from the National Assembly on School Based Health Care demonstrates that “School Health Centers provide an optimal setting to foster learning readiness and academic achievement while giving children the resources they need to improve their health.” Students who use school-based health center services have better attendance and are less likely to drop out of school compared to students who do not use them.

The Brewer School-Based Health Center was established in 2006 as a partnership between the Brewer School Department and Penobscot Community Health Care to provide accessible medical, dental and mental health services to Brewer students in grades K-12. The Student Health Center staff consists of an experienced certified physician assistant, dental hygienist, licensed therapists, and a medical assistant. Although the school nurse and guidance counselors are not members of PCHC’s School Based Health Center staff, they work closely with the team to coordinate student referrals to the clinic and assist with follow-up as needed.

A link to the original Bangor Daily News article can be found here.

Storm Day Information

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is that time of year again where we have to worry about the inevitable white stuff falling from the skies here in Maine. Because of this, I wanted to make sure you were all aware of our snow cancellation processes and procedures here in Brewer. Below is information that will assist you in understanding what to expect on bad weather days that might impact our schools:

*  Cancellations and delays are generally based on overall road conditions in Brewer and our sending towns and our ability to safely run buses. We also base decisions on our maintenance and public works crew’s ability to plow and clean sidewalks. In some circumstances, cancellations and delays may also be based on forecasted conditions.

*  The Brewer School Department utilizes full day cancellations, 1-hour delays, and 2-hour delays as well as early dismissals depending upon the forecasted conditions and timing of storms. If school is delayed for 1 hour, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 1 hour. Similarly, for a 2-hour delay, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 2 hours.  Early release dismissal times will generally be as follows: 

School Hours for Early Release Due to Storms:

BHS                       11:00 am

BCS (5-8)              11:00 am 

BCS (K-4)              12:00 pm

Pre-K                     Does not meet on these days

Note:  Your child will be dropped off at the address indicated on your child’s emergency card for early release days unless a note is given to the school stating otherwise.

*  If school is canceled or delayed, communication regarding these decisions will be relayed to you via: One Call (our automated phone, text, and email system). This notification would typically occur at approximately 5:30 AM. 

*  In very rare circumstances, a decision to dismiss early may be made during the day.  It is important that we have an accurate phone number for all students so that children are dropped off to homes with adults at home. These decisions will be made by 10:00 AM. We also notify the following:

    • TV Stations: Channel 2, Channel 5 and Channel 7
    • Radio Stations: W QCB (Q106.5), WBZN (Z107.3), WEZQ (92.9), WWMJ (95.7), WDEA-AM (1370), Kiss 94.5, The Bear 104.7, and WAVI AM (910)
    • Bangor Daily News

*  If school is canceled for the day, all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events are automatically canceled unless the district specifically communicates otherwise.

*  There may be times when school is in session, but the weather is expected to worsen throughout the day and into the evening, causing the district to cancel all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events. Communication on these occasions will be via announcements in schools, our automated messaging system, and our website.

Please understand that attempting to forecast the weather conditions here in Maine is difficult even for our professional meteorologists. The Brewer School Department will always attempt to make the best decisions possible with the safety of our students at the forefront of each decision. On a day that is forecasted to have poor weather conditions, I typically will start my morning at 4:30 a.m. getting up to watch the weather, calling our public works crew who are on the road, and other area Superintendents to see what conditions are likely to be in their area. I will then log onto several weather sites, check radar and satellite images and timing of the storm, all before making my final decision. Then once the decision is made, all I can do is sit back and hope that all of that data is correct and that mother nature cooperates!

None of this, as you might imagine is an exact science. The Brewer School Department will always do its best to make the right call, however, please know we understand that it is always the parent/guardian who makes the final decisions regarding the safety of your student(s). If there is ever a circumstance where school has not been canceled or delayed, yet you feel as though it is best to keep your child home because of road conditions please do not hesitate to do so.  This would also be considered an excused absence.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at ctowle@breweredu.org.

Thank you!

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.
Brewer Superintendent