SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 76 of the General Laws, as amended by chapter 222 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting at the end of the third paragraph the following sentence:- Notwithstanding the expectations that school districts set for student attendance and the manner in which districts hold students accountable for their attendance, each district shall ensure students have the opportunity within the same academic term to make up assignments and earn credits for assignments missed due to unexcused and excused absences.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 76 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 21, as added by section 9 of chapter 222 of the acts of 2012, the following section:-
Section 22. (a) Every school district with an annual dropout rate greater than 2% shall develop a district-wide action plan designed to reduce the dropout rate and to assist students who have dropped out of school and want to return to complete their high school education. Action plans shall be submitted to the department of elementary and secondary education and shall include, but not be limited to, the following content:
(1) the percentage by which the school district anticipates reducing the student dropout rate and the timeline for achieving the reductions;
(2) the percentage by which the school district anticipates increasing the graduation rate and student attendance rates in grades 8 to12, inclusive, and the timeline for achieving the increases;
(3) other objectives that the school district identifies that are designed to result in improved dropout prevention, improved student attendance, and improved student engagement and re-engagement within the school district;
(4) how the school district will measure success in achieving the goals and objectives of the district-wide action plan;
(5) what steps school staff and parents will take to address the factors that indicate a student is at risk of dropping out of school;
(6) a description of the outreach and referral strategies the school district will use for students at risk of dropping out of school;
(7) a description of the strategies and actions the school district will undertake to re-engage and re-enroll students who have dropped out of school;
(8) a description of the strategies and actions the school district will undertake to increase parental involvement and support parents or guardians in more fully participating in the activities of the school and the education of their child; and
(9) a comprehensive listing of alternative education options and other opportunities to earn a diploma offered by the school district.
(b) Districts shall work with teams of community stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach for reducing the number of students who drop out of school and increasing the number of students who graduate from high school. The comprehensive approach shall include the district offering alternative options that enable students who have dropped out to return and receive a full high school diploma. These options may be delivered directly by the school district or by non-profits approved by the school district. The department of elementary and secondary education shall publish guidance for school districts to consider when creating their plans and provide technical assistance to enhance a district’s ability to meet the diverse needs of its student population.
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