Most civilian schools require children to attend 184 days a school year. DOD has changed their policy to reflect this, requiring military children to attend schools 180 days a year. As the changes filter down through branches and bases, parents can expect new notifications and requirements.
For years the DOD schools have been lenient with the military lifestyle. Families often face multiples moves and deployments during their service. Quite often, this affects the child’s attendance record. The DOD school system allowed parents to write notes or personally notify teachers if their child would be absent for a period of time. This is no longer the case.
If a student misses five or more days, a letter will be sent home along with a follow up. This follow up will come from a student support team who will intervene to see if any help is needed to ensure the child attends school regularly. Seven or more days of absences will result in a letter sent home along with a letter sent to the command. This may or may not result in the soldier meeting with his command for further action.
What about PCS moves? Some schools are still allowing an early release of a student, usually in May instead of June. This allows the family time to pack and move to their new duty station before the start of the new school year. Yet the child must show proficiency in all subjects and standard tests. Some schools require reviews from teachers stating that the child has mastered their grade level and can successfully move onto the next grade level. If your PCS move is mid-year, your child will be required to attend school up to the day your soldier signs out. The child must be immediately re-enrolled at the new base upon arrival.
Deployments are long months apart, quite often during homecoming families like to take a vacation to reunite. This is no longer an acceptable excuse for absences. If the soldier wishes to take a vacation during the school year, it is best he notifies his command that his child will be absent. The child will be responsible for all schoolwork during his absence and it may affect if he can move onto the next grade level. It is best with the new attendance policy to take a quick weekend trip or wait until summertime.