USP Parents - Student Handbook


3.10 Attendance Policy at USP


Your child’s attendance at school is very important. Our educational program is based on the assumption that students will attend school regularly, in accordance with the School calendar and the daily schedule. The purpose of the attendance policy is to encourage regular and consistent attendance and punctuality in school by all students. There is a high correlation between good attendance, academic achievement and successful every day work experience. To foster positive work and study habits, the United School of Panama administration and faculty believe that students must be in class in order to fully maximize their educational opportunities.

Students are expected to be on time and attend classes daily. Daily teaching strategies, such as, interactions between students and teacher, discussions, lectures, audio-visuals, and reports cannot be duplicated outside of the classroom and constitute a valid and crucial part of course work. Furthermore, each student is expected to contribute to the daily academic activities in their classes. When a student is absent the educational experience of all students will be diminished. Regular and constant school attendance helps develop responsibility, self-discipline and fosters the skills necessary for successful every day work experiences.

The Attendance Policy has been designed to ensure:

  • That all members of the school community are clearly aware of their responsibilities.
  • Consistency and coherence of class teaching, thus enabling all students to achieve outstanding levels of achievement, progress and personal growth.

Students should, therefore, be absent only for necessary and important reasons, such as illness or family/personal emergency. Parents may excuse their children from school for legitime reasons. However, because of the inevitable effect absences have on academic progress in particular, the school seeks willing cooperation from parents in exercising the utmost restraint in excusing their children from school.

Authorized/Excused Absences

A student may be excused from school due to personal illness, death in the family, emergency dental or medical treatment, religious holiday, procurement of essential documents, renewal of passports, or other vital reasons. At all possible, medical/dental appointments during school hours must be avoided.

Unauthorized/Unexcused Absences

Unexcused absences include cutting/skipping a class, absences that have not been followed up with a note from parents, or other reasons not approved by the Academic Coordinator. Work missed for such absences must be completed. Unexcused absences inevitably affect academic progress and this may be reflected on the student’s grades.

Consequences of Absences

If poor attendance becomes an issue, it may be necessary to have the student repeat all or part of the school year or to request that the parents withdraw the student from the school.

Compensation (make-up) for extended absences for medical reasons should be arranged through the academic coordinator. Students are responsible for making up all missed work, whether or not an absence was excused.

The Faculty will make reasonable efforts to assist students in making up school work for excused absences, but will also be mindful, as stated previously, that in doing so their attention may be diverted from the needs of the majority of students in the class. Students absent on the day of an assessment are expected to make up the assessment on return to school.

Extended absences (excused or unexcused) will be reviewed by the Academic Department, following Meduca regulations, to determine whether or not class requirements have been fulfilled.


The Academic Coordinator is responsible for setting and overseeing attendance procedures, and for ensuring that:

  • Attendance is checked and reported daily.
  • A daily record of attendance is maintained and logged.
  • Written explanations are submitted by parents for all absences.
Late Arrivals

Following neuroscience principles, the school day at USP starts with a lot of movement and activities. It is essential for ALL students to be on time and ready to participate in AM Dose. This provides the energy and right mindset the brain needs to learn.

Students are expected to be in the sports area on time 7:50 am every morning. If students arrive after this time, they will be recorded as “Tardy”.

Follow-Up Procedures

When students arrive late (after 7:50AM), this procedure must be followed:

  1. Parents must park and take the student to the administrative office.
  2. Parents must sign the tardy log.
  3. Pre-school students will be taken to their area or sports area by a school representative.
  4. Elementary students must leave their belongings in the designated area (water baskets and 1st period class) and go to the sports area (if AM Dose has not finished).
  5. Parents will be contacted by the Academic Coordinator (via telephone) when a student has reached 5 unexcused late arrivals in a quarter.
  6. Parents will receive a written notification from the Academic Coordinator urging them to take the necessary actions to correct the matter when a student has reached 8 unexcused late arrivals in a quarter.
  7. Parents will be called for a meeting when a student has more than 10 late arrivals in a quarter.

In the event of illness or other unforeseen absence, parents are requested to contact the USP administrative office and report the student’s absence. They should then follow-up with an explanatory note on the student’s return to class. Parents should notify the administrative office each day of the absence unless the Academic coordinator has been notified of a prolonged absence in advance. If school have not been notified of a reason for a student to be absent 2 days in a row, the advisory teacher will contact the family.
When a prolonged absence can be foreseen, parents must inform the duration of the planned absence to the academic coordinator and advisory teacher who will inform other teachers.

Absences will be classified as unexcused until an adequate explanation is received.

Follow-Up Procedures

The following applies from the start of each quarter:

  1. Parents will be contacted by the USP Academic Coordinator when the student has reached three days of unexcused absences.
  2. Parents will be contacted in writing by the USP Academic Coordinator when the student has reached 5 days of unexcused absences.
  3. Parents will be called for a meeting when the student has more than 10 days of unexcused absences and a plan of action must be put in place.