Automated Calls Begin for Unexcused Absences

The Code of Virginia requires that "every teacher in every school in the Commonwealth shall keep an accurate daily record of attendance of all children.” At MLWGS, this daily record is generated when teachers take class attendance in PowerSchool. MLWGS considers the attendance records in PowerSchool as our official attendance record.

In September, Maggie Walker began using an automated system called Power Announcement to notify parents or guardians when an unexcused absence is recorded for the student in PowerSchool. Using the automated system, the school contacts the home twice on each day of a student's unexcused absence. One call is made at 11:00am for each student who is not present during the first block of the day, alerting the parent or guardian so that he/she may follow up before the end of the day as to why the student is not in class. The second call is made at 4:00pm alerting the parent or guardian that the student missed at least one period during the school day. The calls are made for only unexcused absences. 

Since a signed, written note must be received by the attendance office before an absence code can be changed to excused, even if a parent or guardian calls the MLWGS attendance office about a student’s absence before the school day begins, he/she will still receive two calls. An absence is considered unexcused until a written note is received. 

Recently, a few parents have contacted the school requesting that they receive these calls at only one email or phone number. By default, every phone number and email that is listed in PowerSchool for a student is contacted. However, each parent or guardian has the ability to change their preferences and decide which numbers or email addresses they want contacted in the case of absences. These preferences will apply to all other messages that might be sent from MLWGS through Power Announcement as well, such as notification of school closure due to inclement weather.

Instructions about how to set contact preferences for announcements were sent home at the beginning of the year and described in an article in the Sept. 18 Smoke and Scales newsletter. These instructions can be found under the Parent Resources section of the school web site or online at www.gsgis.k12.va.us/document/Welcome_to_Power_Announcement_for_Parents.pdf. Please contact Patti Chappell at 804-354-6800 x1140 for questions or concerns. For further information on absences, refer to the Student Handbook, pages 13 – 18.