Arcadia This Week 2/1/2023

Hello, Arcadia families, students, and friends,

Today’s newsletter will include:

  • Attendance Updates
  • Reminders (Lunch, Attendance)
  • Japan Trip 2023
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Upcoming Events

Attendance Updates

One of the challenges that all schools face is keeping up with attendance. Our “consistent attendance” number is reported on the MDE Report Card, and we are expected to do everything we can to encourage students to be in school. Here is a report from Attendance Works about school attendance: 10 Facts about School Attendance

Last year, we changed our policy to match the state statute. Here is the revised policy:

School Attendance Policy, Procedures, and Truancy Information

Attendance at school is an important part of ensuring a child’s access to education and a shared responsibility between the individual student, their parents or guardians, and the school. State law stipulates that it is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure that their child attends school. The expectation is for parents/guardians to provide an honest reason for absence or tardiness, and the school makes the final determination whether a student’s absence/tardiness is excused or unexcused.

Absence Procedure

If a student must be absent from class or arrive late to school, the student’s parent/guardian must fill out the absence form (available under the “Current Families” tab on Arcadia’s website) the day of the absence or earlier. Absences must be excused within 24 hours or the absence may remain unexcused. Additional attendance information may be emailed to Kim Hansen,

All students who become ill during the school day are required to check out with the health office prior to leaving the building. Check out must include contact between a school representative and parents/guardians prior to leaving the building. Failure to properly check out with the health office will cause the student to be unexcused and consequences may be assigned.

Any student who leaves the building for any reason without checking out is considered unexcused. Checking out means contact between the parent/guardian and a school representative before the student leaves the building.

Excused Absences:

To be considered an excused absence, the student’s parent or legal guardian may be asked to verify, in writing, the reason for the student’s absence from school. A note from a physician or a licensed mental health professional stating that the student cannot attend school is a valid excuse.

The following reasons shall be sufficient to constitute excused absences:

(1) Illness (a doctor’s note may be requested after three consecutive days or more than seven days within a quarter).

(2) Serious illness in the student’s immediate family.

(3) A death or funeral in the student’s immediate family or of a close friend or relative.

(4) Medical, dental, or orthodontic treatment, or a counseling appointment.

(5) Court appearances occasioned by family or personal action.

(6) Religious release.

(7) Physical emergency conditions such as fire, flood, storm, etc.

(8) Official school field trip or other school-sponsored outing, or a Director-approved absence.

(9) Removal of a student pursuant to a suspension. Suspensions are to be handled as excused absences and students will be permitted to complete make-up work.

(10) Family emergencies.

(11) Active duty in any military branch of the United States.

(12) A student’s condition that requires ongoing treatment for a mental health diagnosis.

Unexcused Absences:

An unexcused absence is any absence that does not meet the definition of an excused absence.

The following are examples of absences which will not be excused:

(1) Truancy. An absence by a student which was not approved by the parent and/or the school.

(2) Any absence in which the student failed to comply with any reporting requirements of the school’s attendance procedures.

(3) Work at home, including child care.

(4) Work at a business that is not a part of the student’s academic plan or project.

(5) Missed bus.

(6) Overslept.

(7) Non-prearranged family vacation.

(8) Absences resulting from accumulated unexcused tardies (three tardies equal one unexcused absence).

(9) Any other absence not included under the attendance procedures set out in this policy.

Truancy Information:

A child is considered “continuing truant” if he/she/they is 16 years of age or younger and is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for 3 or more class periods on 3 school days. A student who misses 20 minutes or more of a class period will be considered absent for that class period. Three unexcused tardies shall constitute an unexcused absence. Children age 17 will be considered continuing truant according to these definitions if they have not lawfully withdrawn from school with their parents’ permission (see MN Statutes 120A.22, Sub. 8). 

"Habitual truant" means a child under the age of 17 years who is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for seven school days per school year, or for one or more class periods on seven school days per school year, if the child is in middle school, junior high school, or high school; or a child who is 17 years of age who is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for one or more class periods on seven school days per school year and who has not lawfully withdrawn from school under section 120A.22, Sub. 8 (see MN Statutes 260C.007, Sub. 19).

Truancy intervention steps will be determined on a case by case basis. However, a letter will be sent to parents after 3 unexcused absences, and a referral to the child’s county of residence may be made after 7 unexcused absences.

While researching the impact of attendance on student outcomes, we learned that 10% is an important number–it tends to be a breaking point in students’ ability to succeed academically and to graduate on time if they are missing more than 10% of the time. 

This has changed the way that we determine when to send attendance letters. There are letters that are required by statute–like after three unexcused absences. There is also the letter noted in the policy, like the request for a doctor’s note after seven absences. However, based on the research about attendance, we are now sending a letter whenever a student is missing for at least 10% of the time to let families know that their child has hit this threshold. This is the note requesting a doctor’s note.

We are working on revising that letter to better reflect its nature–that it is sent to notify families of 



Today is the last day to order hot lunch for December! Here is a link: Lunch Order Form

Please send silverware with your child if they are bringing their own lunch! We previously had plastic dinnerware available, but are no longer providing it due to cost and waste concerns.  

Students ordering hot lunch receive dinnerware with their meal from the caterer.

Attendance: If your child will be absent, please fill out the absence form. This is available on Arcadia’s website under “Current Families,” then “Report an Absence.” If you’d like to bookmark the form directly, here is a link: Report an Absence Form

Thanks-GIVE–December 2, 2022, 7:00pm at Arcadia (in the Great Room)

Thanks-GIVE was one of the school’s first fundraising initiatives. It was an annual tradition that is making a return after a two year hiatus. In addition to a variety of smaller acts by Arcadia students and staff, the four advisories compete for the Coveted Coconut Monkey trophy, which they win by getting the most fundraising dollars for their contribution to the show. Bring cash, write checks, send money through PayPal…we’ll take donations of any size and form! But you’ll probably want to have some cash on hand during the evening to contribute to the fun!

Japan Trip 2023

Japan is open for tourism! We were originally scheduled for a trip in June 2020, and after three cancellations, we think this will be the year! If you are interested in traveling with us, you can learn more about the trip here:

COVID-19 Update

Rice County’s COVID-19 Community level is currently HIGH, and our case rate is 71.67/100,000 in the one-week period ending Nov. 23rd. We do still have a COVID-19 plan posted on our website. Here is a link

Rice County Public Health is offering vaccination clinics on Thursday afternoons. Here is a link for more information:

In the event your child is ill, please consider testing them if they present with two or more symptoms of COVID-19. (Fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, nausea/vomiting, etc.) We have test kits available for at-home use if you need them.

If your child tests positive for COVID, please let Gail Setterstrom, our school nurse, know. You can email her at

Upcoming Events

Nov. 28: Gertens Fundraiser Plant Pickup (3:00pm-5:00pm)

Dec. 2, 7:00pm: Thanks-GIVE at Arcadia

Dec. 6: All MS field trip to the Guthrie for “A Christmas Carol”

Dec. 20, 6:30pm: Arcadia School Board Meeting (in person at Arcadia, but also available to view online:

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 401-526-8402‬ PIN: ‪608 679 486‬#)

Dec. 22-Jan 2: Winter Break