Student Success

  • Department of Student Success
    Judith M. Ross, Director

    For information, or call 205-231-9853

    Divisions within the Department of Student Success:
    Attendance Officers
    Hearing Officers
    Family Court High
    Department of Dropout Prevention and Recovery



    Regular attendance is essential for a student’s successful academic progress. The right to attend school and arrive on time is the responsibility of both the student and the parent (in the case of children under seventeen years of age).

    Alabama State Law 16-28-3, Code of Alabama, 1975 requires all children between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) to attend school regularly. Alabama State law states that each child who enrolls in a public school, whether or not the child is required by law to enroll, is subject to the school attendance and truancy laws of the state. Parents or guardians having control over school age children are responsible for their children’s regular attendance and proper conduct. Failure to comply with the Compulsory School Attendance Law requires the Attendance Officer to file a complaint in the Jefferson County Family Court.

    Excused Absences

    Absences may be excused for the following reasons:

    • personal illness;
    • death in the immediate family;
    • inclement weather (as determined by the principal) which would be dangerous to the life and health of the child;
    • legal quarantine;
    • emergency conditions as determined by the principal; and
    • prior permission of the principal upon request of the parent or legal guardian of.

    Written Excuses

    A written excuse from the parent/guardian explaining the absence or a doctor’s note stating the reason for the absence must be provided to the school within three (3) days of the student’s return to school to be counted as an excused absence. The written statement must include:

    • The date(s) of absence
    • The reason for absence
    • The parent’s signature 

    A written excuse from parents or guardians, as described above, will excuse absences for up to but not exceeding ten (10) absences during the school year. Further absences will require a written excuse from a medical doctor or court official.

    Unexcused Absences

    Any absence that does not fall under the category of Excused Absence is recorded as an Unexcused Absence. Any student with seven (7) unexcused absences during the school year may be referred to Early Warning Court.

    What to Expect for Excessive Unexcused Absences

    • 3rd unexcused absence: warning letter from school
    • 5th unexcused absence: parent conference with school officials
    • 6th unexcused absence: parent meeting with district attendance staff
    • 7th unexcused absence: parent and/or student may be referred to Early Warning Truancy Program
    • 10th unexcused absence: petition may be filed in Jefferson County Family Court against parent or student for truancy or educational neglect

    Thrives When You Keep It Under Five

    Consequences of Missing School

    • Drop-out—Students who are chronically absent typically fall behind in grade level and drop out of school.
    • Negative Behaviors—Students who are chronically absent are at-risk for other behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and violence.
    • Low Academic Performance—Students who are chronically absent usually receive  lower  grades  and perform poorly on standardized tests.

    Chronic Absenteeism

    As defined by the Alabama State Department of Education, chronically absent students are those students who miss 15 or more days of school for any reason- including excused or unexcused absences. According to the OCR (Office of Civil Rights), an absent student is one who misses 50 percent of the instructional day for any reason and regardless of whether the absence is excused or unexcused. In other words, students who are absent for any reason - including suspension, illness, and death in the family - AND miss 15 or more days of the school year will be considered chronically absent.


    For information pertaining to discipline procedures within the Birmingham City Schools, please review the Code of Student Conduct.  You may receive a hard copy from your child’s school or you may go to review an online version.

    Dropout Prevention and Recovery:

    Birmingham City Schools offers a variety of nontraditional programs to meet the needs of all students. The following programs provide students with choices in their educational program to be prepared for life in the 21st century.

    • Credit Recovery/Repeat of Course
      • Students may re-take part (credit recovery) or all (repeat of course) of a failed course.
      • Program is offered at each high school.
      • For more information, contact your child’s counselor 
    • Temporary/Emergency School Placement
      • Students may be placed in this program for safety reasons, enrolling late in the semester, or being 2 or more years behind. 
      • Program takes place at the Dropout Recovery side of Dupuy.
      • For more information, call 205-231-9610/205-231-9605
    • Fast Track
      • Offered to students in the current graduating cohort who are 4-6 credits behind.
      • Goal is to graduate with  cohort in either the Spring or Summer.
      • For more information, contact your child’s counselor 
    • Dropout Recovery
      • This program is designed for students who are 17 or older and have been out of school for a year or more. 
      • The number of credits needed and the academic proficiency of the student determines how fast they complete the program.
      • For more information, call 205-231-9610/205-231-9605

Student Success - Information Library

  • School Support Program/Dropout Prevention & Recovery
  • UAB Trio Educational Center