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Dennis Chaves Handbook

DCES Parent Handbook 2022-2023

Handbook Essentials

Attendance Policy

Please read the APS School Attendance Policies and Procedural Directives from the APS Student Behavior Handbook.

Regular attendance is a key to school success. Students can learn only if they are on time and present in class daily. School districts and schools are held accountable for ensuring that all students meet high academic standards. On time, daily attendance is a critical component of this educational process.

New Mexico law dictates that:

  • Students between the ages of 5 and 18 years of age are mandated to attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution.
  • Schools will provide intervention strategies that focus on keeping students in school.
  • Habitual truants are reported to appropriate authorities such as the APS Attendance Office, CYFD staff, Juvenile Probation & Parole, District Attorney, Truancy Court, and the State of New Mexico.
  • Consequences in New Mexico law include: license revocation, fines, and loss of New Mexico Works Program monetary assistance.
  • Students receiving financial assistance from the New Mexico Works program must comply with school attendance requirements, or the student’s financial assistance may be removed.

It is understood that sometimes families may need support to help their child be successful. School staff can assist with locating possible resources within the school community.

School Attendance Procedures

  • A parent/guardian must notify the school that the student will be absent in accordance with the notification procedure established by the school. Call 821-1810, ext2 for the DCES Attendance Line OR the parent may enter absence on ParentVue account.
  • A parent/guardian must notify the school each day that a student is signing out before the end of the instructional day in accordance with the notification procedure established by the school officials.
  • Teachers will take attendance daily.
  • Absences may be excused for the following reasons with appropriate documentation:
    • Illness (including chronic illness documented on a health plan, IEP or 504 plan)
    • Limited family emergencies; family deaths
    • Medical, health or legal appointments
    • Suspensions
    • Religious commitment
    • College visit
    • Deployment of a military parent as defined in the “Military Children” procedural directive
    • Limited extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the school principal

Excessive Excused Absences

  • The following are general steps we take for excessive excused absences. Please refer to the APS Attendance Policy for information on what is considered an excused absence.
  • Eight (8) Excused Absences -­‐ Parents/guardians will be notified of the absences and the attendance policy.
  • Ten (10) Excused Absences -­‐ Dennis Chavez will no longer excuse future absences without 3rd party documentation such as a doctor’s note or if our school nurse has determined your child is not well enough to attend school for the day.
  • Beyond ten (10) Excused Absences -­‐ Without the required documentation absences will be considered unexcused and Dennis Chavez will follow the unexcused absence policy.

Unexcused Absences

The following are general steps we take for unexcused absences. Please refer to the APS Attendance Policy for information on what is considered an unexcused absence.

  • Three (3) unexcused absences -­‐ Parents/guardians will receive notification of the absences and the attendance policy.
  • Five (5) unexcused absences -­‐ Parents/guardians will be invited to the school to discuss barriers to on time regular attendance and explore solutions.
  • Ten (10) unexcused absences – Dennis Chavez will notify parents/guardians. The district attendance office will be contacted to assist the school and family.


  • Students who miss more than ½ of their school day are considered absent a full day.
  • Students who are tardy for class receive consequences according to district guidelines adopted by each school.

Consequences for being tardy will be determined by the school administration. Examples of consequences include time in an alternative academic or community service setting (i.e. lunch, recess, after school, Saturday school).

Excessive Tardies/Early Outs

Excessive tardies/early outs also interfere with learning. Students are considered tardy after the 7:53AM bell. If your child arrives after 7:53AM, you must sign your child in at the office. Early outs occur any time a student leaves school prior to 2:00PM. We consider excessive tardies and early outs as more than ten (10) combined. The following are the general steps regarding tardies/early outs:

  • Ten (10) Total Combined Tardies/Early Outs (Excused and Unexcused) – Parents/guardians will be notified of the tardies/early outs and the attendance policy.
  • Twelve (12) Combined Tardies/Early Outs – 3rd Party documentation will be required to excuse any further tardies/early out.
  • Fifteen (15) Combined Tardies/Early Outs – Dennis Chavez will offer parents/guardians interventions to assist in improving attendance.
  • Twenty (20) Combined Tardies/Early Outs – Dennis Chavez will notify parents and the district attendance office will be contacted.

Please note that all absences and tardies/early outs are looked at on a case-­‐by-­‐case basis. If you have extenuating circumstances or your student has a medical condition, please contact the school. We always appreciate communication with parents/guardians.

All absences for other reasons are unexcused including:

  • Non-­‐school sponsored activities or trips
  • Family vacations outside of the normally scheduled school breaks
  • In APS, a student is considered “a student in need of early intervention” (truant) at five (5) unexcused absences and a habitual truant at ten (10) unexcused absences in a year.
  • School staff will make an attempt to contact the parent/guardian if the school has not received notification of absences by a parent for three (3) consecutive days.
  • Principals may request additional documentation for excessive excused absences

Make-­Up Work

  • Students may complete work for all excused and for up to 10 unexcused absences.
  • Once a student is identified as a habitual truant (10 unexcused full day absences) make-­‐up work may be provided for the student unless the principal and teacher determine otherwise based on the data provided.
  • On the first day back to a class, parents are responsible for requesting make-­‐up assignments.
  • Students will have the opportunity to complete the work in a period of time equal to the number of days absent unless other arrangements have been mutually agreed upon by the parent and the teacher.

Teachers may need 24 hours from the time of the request to compile assignments

Before and After School Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

Thank you for adhering to the following expectations regarding Drop/Off and Pick/Up. We have put these procedures in place due to student safety. We need to ensure all students remain safe until the student and traffic flow subsides. Failure to follow the below expectations will result in APS/APD Police becoming involved to assist us in ensuring our students safety.

Before and After School: Playground Closed

The campus, including the playground, will be closed from 7:00 am-3:30 pm. Visitors are not allowed on the playground. We have duty staff on the playground before school beginning at 7:30 am, during recesses, and after school due to safety precautions.

Beginning this year, before school playground time is now considered a recess. Family members may walk their child to the gates near the playground before school to drop them off for the day. Visitors may not come on the playground to wait for the bell to ring.

Do not drop your child off before 7:30 AM. If it is an abbreviated school day, please do not drop your child off before 9:30 AM.

Visitors are not allowed on the playground after school. When the bell rings, students will be dismissed to the parent pick up lane, the buses, after school programs, or may meet family members or walk home from the front of the school.

Please remember to let your child’s teacher know if you are going to pick him/her up early. This will help speed up the signing out procedures. Understand, picking your child up during recess or lunch may take a little longer.

Parent Drop Off and Pick Up Lane Information

Morning (AM)

The gates will open at 7:25AM each morning. If you arrive after 7:46 am, you must park and escort your child to the main office to be checked in for the day.

Our staff will be on duty beginning at 7:30AM. Students may not arrive before this time as there is no adult on the playground for supervision. The front parking lot is not a drop of zone. Do not use this area to drop off your student. You can enter the designated area on the north side of our campus off Barstow.

Before the gates open at 7:25am, please wait on Barstow right at the entrance to the car lane. There is usually a line and it is not respectful to cut in front of the line of cars waiting. Please do not pull into the car drop-off lane prior to 7:25 am, which blocks the staff parking lot.

Students may only be let out of their cars when a duty teacher is present at the drop off area.

Afternoon (PM)

The gates will open at 1:40PM and close at 2:10PM. Any students left in the Parent Pick-­‐Up lane after 2:10PM will be taken to the office.

Parent Drop Off and Pick Up Lane Procedures:

  1. Driver must remain in vehicle at all times
  2. Pull ALL THE WAY FORWARD as directed by the duty staff (3 cars can unload in the unloading zone at a time)
  3. Students must exit/enter from the passenger side of the vehicle ONLY
  4. Exit and turn West on San Francisco
  5. If these procedures are not convenient for you, please park your vehicle and use the crosswalk to come on campus

Parking Lots

Front Lot (Facing Barstow) – Staff and Guest Parking

This is NOT a drop-­‐off /pick-­‐up lane. This lot is for visitors, late arrivals/early dismissals, and designated preschool, SCS, IGS parking permit vehicles. Preschool, SCS, and IGS eligible students will receive a parking permit. The exit gate is closed at 7:30AM. It will reopen by 7:50AM. Visitor parking is available beginning at 7:46AM, after the first bell.

South Lot (facing San Francisco) – Staff Parking

AM-­‐ Our back lot is reserved for Staff Members. Due to safety and traffic flow, the ENTRANCE closes at 7:30AM and opens up at 7:55AM. This is NOT a drop-­‐off/pick-­‐up lane. Families can use this parking lane for RGEC before school drop off PRIOR to 7:20AM.

North Parking Lot (north of the basketball courts)- Staff Parking

This is designated as overflow parking for our staff and is open to visitors after 8:00 am.

Bus Lane

The Bus Lane is reserved for BUSSES ONLY. Busses come and go throughout the day, therefore, cars are not allowed to drop off, pick up, or park in this area at any time.

Walking to School

Please use the crosswalks to cross safely. These are the only safe areas in which to cross. If you cross in any other area, you are putting your child and yourself at risk for a serious accident. Crosswalks are located at the corner of San Francisco and Barstow as well as the corner of Tina and Barstow. Please do not allow your child to cross through parking lots, instead, use the sidewalks.