Amherst-Pelham Regional High School

Main Office: 413-362-1700

Attendance Line413-362-1718

Weather Cancellation: 413-362-1898


21 Mattoon Street,
Amherst MA 01002



Important Information

  • Field trips, exchange programs, and college visits (up to 3 days per school year) will not count towards the absence limit. Also, quarantine or a physician required absence from school of more than 3 days will not count towards the absence limit.
  • Mandatory attendance hearings will be held once a student goes over the attendance limit.

In short, there are 3 categories of absences.

Category I. Excused absences that DO NOT count towards loss of credit:

  • School-sponsored field trips and exchange trips.
  • Disciplinary suspensions.
  • In-school college visits (limited to 3 per school year).

This category includes absences that DO NOT count towards loss of credit but require proper documentation:

  • Observation of religious holidays. Please call the absence line or send in a note and clearly state that it is a religious holiday.
  • Outside college visits (limited to 3 days per school year).
  • Quarantine or long-term illness; accompanied by a doctor’s note for verification.
  • Death in the immediate family, family illness, or serious emergency.
  • Mandated court appearance; accompanied by a note from the court with the date and time of appointment.

Category II. Excused absences that DO count towards loss of credit:

  • Short-term illness.
  • Early dismissals.
  • Medical appointments.
  • Family vacation.
  • College visits beyond the 3 school day limit.
  • Driver’s test.

Category III. Unexcused absences, all of which DO count towards loss of credit:

  • Absence that is not explained by same day phone call to the attendance line or a written note from the parent or guardian.
  • Missed school bus/ride.
  • Traffic or car trouble.
  • Oversleeping/broken alarm clock.
  • If a student is driven to school by a parent, sibling or friend and that driver is late or did not show up.

What’s considered a long-term illness?

  • An illness of 3 or more consecutive days. In order for these absences to be exempt from the attendance limit, a doctor’s note stating that the student is required to be out of school for that length of time must be submitted to the Main Office. These absences may be subject to verification or administrative approval.

What is the difference between excused and unexcused absences?

  • Excused absences will not result in detention or suspension.
  • Unexcused absences will result in detention or suspension. All unexcused absences will count towards the absence limit.

What is the absence limit?

  • Students are allowed 8 absences to each class period. Every tardiness is considered 1/3 of an absence, so tardiness can result in, or contribute to, a student exceeding the absence limit.
  • For a 2 trimester class (e.g. Biology), the student is allowed 8 absences for each trimester.

What happens if I go over 8 absences in a course?

  • A letter will be mailed home informing you that you have exceeded the absence limit. The letter will include instructions regarding how to schedule an attendance hearing. The larger purpose of the attendance hearing is to resolve whatever issues have prevented the student from attending school.
  • Students must attend the attendance hearing.
  • If a hearing is not scheduled or the student does not show up for the meeting, credit will be denied for any course in which the student has exceeded the limit.
  • At the hearing, students and parents/guardian must present documentation and describe the circumstances that led to the absences.
  • After the hearing is completed, the principal or his designee, will make a decision.

What is the potential outcome of the hearing?

  • Permanent loss of credit
  • Restoration of credit.
  • Loss of credit, with conditions to meet before credit will be restored.
  • IN ADDITION: If the principal decides that credit will not be awarded, the student is NOT guaranteed the opportunity to re-take the class in the next trimester.

What if I disagree with the outcome of the hearing?

  • An appeal may be filed with the Superintendent of Schools. All appeals must be in writing and received within 10 days of the principal’s decision.

Why did I get an email/phone call saying my child is absent?

  • Our attendance system automatically informs parents when their student is marked absent to the first period class. A student is considered absent to a class period if he/she has missed 20 or more minutes (for first period, arriving after 8:05am).

I sent my child in with a late note, but I still received an absence notification. Why is that?

  • Please be mindful that there is a delay in the processing between when the student arrives at school and when tardy notes are approved and the attendance is changed.

What do I do if my child is absent all day?

  • A phone message from a parent/guardian that is received on the same day as the absence will excuse it. Students can not call in their own absence. The attendance line phone number is 362-1718.

    • This line can only excuse all day absences. If your student is coming in after 7:45 am, you must follow the tardy policy.
    • Next-day phone calls can not be accepted. If you forgot to call on the day of the absence, send in a written note to excuse it.
  • A note from a parent/guardian can be turned in to the Main Office within 48 hours after the absence.
  • Phone calls and emails to teachers/guidance counselors do not excuse a child’s absence.

Can I call the absence line if my child is going to be late to school?

  • The absence line is for full day absences only. Any student who comes into school after 7:45 am is considered tardy to school, even if he/she has missed a full class period in the morning.

How can I excuse my child’s early dismissal from school?

  • A note from a parent/guardian must be turned in to the Main Office before your student exits the building. Any student who leaves without a valid note will be considered cutting class. Notes for dismissals cannot be brought after the fact.
  • If your child is dismissed through the health office, they must turn in the purple pass from the nurse’s office to the Main Office before they leave school.

What if a student is late to school after 8:05?

  • If a student is late to school after 8:05, she/he should go to the Main Office to check-in before going to class. Excuse notes will only be accepted in the following cases:

    • Bring a parent note a day ahead—this must be for a critical appointment that cannot be scheduled after school.
    • An emergency medical appointment—the student must bring a note from a parent and a note from the doctor identifying the time and date the student was seen.
    • A court appearance—the student must bring a note from the court identifying the time and date of the appearance.
    • Any other request for a late arrival to school to be excused must be approved by the student’s Dean. These will only be considered for true emergency
      circumstances. In the case of extenuating circumstances at home, a student can bring a note from a parent/guardian to be approved by one of the deans (Ms Custard or M. Fleming). Because of the number of this kind of notes, the deans will only sign them in the cafeteria during a lunch period. There is at least one dean on duty in the cafeteria during all lunches.

What happens when the school bus is late?

  • When the school is responsible for students being late, they will not be marked tardy. Those students should check-in with the Main Office to receive a pass to class.

Why does my student have a detention today?

  • All disciplinary detentions that are a result of Code of Conduct infractions are assigned through the dean’s office. You will receive a copy of the discipline referral in the mail if a detention or suspension is assigned for that reason.

When and where is detention held?

  • Detention is in the Cafeteria from 2:30 to 3:00 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. There are no administrative detentions on Wednesday or Friday.

Can a student who has detention participate in athletics?

  • Practices start at 3:15. Students can participate in practices or games after serving detention.

What if a student can’t attend detention on the day it has been assigned?

  • Students can arrange a one-time courtesy re-scheduling of an assigned detention with their Dean (Ms. Custard for grades 10 & 12, Ms. Fleming for grades 9 & 11).

What attendance will show on a report card?

  • Report cards will show the total number of tardies and absences for each period.

Is attendance taken for students who have ALPs or community service projects?

  • Yes. Teachers must submit period attendance for every student with a class A through E periods in the building. Students who have work study, internships or college classes have attendance taken at those sites.

What happens to unexcused absences that are not cleared by a parent?

  • Depending on the frequency and number of unexcused absences, detention or suspension may be assigned.

What does “20 Min. Missed” (code: Q) mean? What does “20 Min. Excused” (code: W) mean? Do these count in the attendance limit of 8 absences?

  • A student who misses 20 minutes of a class is counted as absent in our attendance policy. Q&W are codes that ARHS uses internally to monitor a student’s attendance. Both codes count towards the absence limit.

Can 18 year old students excuse their own absences?

  • Students who are 18 years old may write absence notes for themselves only if they are emancipated, and live on their own, and have received prior approval from their guidance counselor.


  • Teachers take attendance on the computer for each class period. If the student is marked absent to just one class period and you believe it may have been recorded in error, the student should double check with the teacher regarding that day’s attendance.
  • All notes must be turned in to the Main Office.