Quick Reference to Student Handbook


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Student Attendance
Written Parent Excuse
Doctor’s Student Absence Report
Questionable  Absences
No  Credit  Attendance  –  HIGH  SCHOOL ONLY
Excused Absences
Make Up Work
Dress Code
Prohibited  Attire
Graduation Requirements

The attendance policy is adopted in recognition of the relationship between attendance and learning. Real • learning and development are less likely to occur when
there are inadequate opportunities for interaction between students and teachers.

When a pupil has three days or equivalent of a verified
unlawful absence (unexcused), a notice of unlawful •
absence will be sent to the parents/guardians by certified

If any additional unlawful absences occur, a second • offense notice will be turned over to the magistrate for
each additional absence. The district will develop a
truancy elimination plan. The legal and procedural policies for dealing with truant behavior are presented in detail beginning on page 41.

The school office will keep an accurate record of absences as required by the compulsory attendance laws of Pennsylvania. In order to do so, the parent/guardian MUST SUBMIT A WRITTEN EXCUSE FOR EVERY FULL DAY OR PARTIAL DAY OF STUDENT ABSENCE. This includes being tardy to school and early dismissals from school.



  1. The Written Parent Excuse

Parents/guardians shall furnish a written explanationfor the absence of a child. An unexcused absence for any pupil under the age of seventeen (17) is, by definition, an unlawful absence. A legal excuse is the parent’s/guardian’s only protection from arrest. In case of arrest, the burden of proof is upon the parent/guardian to show that the absence of the child was properly excused by an administrator or the Board of School Directors. In case of chronic absence, school authorities may request a physician’s statement showing such absence to be justifiable. Any student not following the procedures listed below may be subject to disciplinary actions.

  • The Written Parent Excuse must state the reason for the absence, must list dates of the absence, and must be completed and signed by a parent/guardian.
  • The Written Parent Excuse for an absence must be submitted to the attendance office within three (3) days after returning to school. Excuses must be completed by a parent or guardian regardless of the childʼs age. If a child/parent fails to comply with the 3 day timeframe absences will be documented as unexcused.
  • Students are not permitted to write their own excuses regardless of their age.
  • Teachers will take attendance in all classes, with the official attendance for the school day taken during the first period. Teachers must keep accurate attendance by day and date for each of their assigned students.
  • The school will keep an accurate record of absences as required by the compulsory attendance laws of Pennsylvania.
  • If a student is classified as absent when he/she is present, he/she must notify the main office. The office will check the records and make the correction. Teachers are required to report this information to the main office.
  • A student who expects to represent the school or a school organization in a function at night, or after school hours, must be present the entire day of the scheduled activity. This policy applies to sports, plays, assemblies and other such activities. If the scheduled activity is on a Saturday, the student must be present in school all day on Friday. Students are not permitted to attend school functions if they are not in school the day of the activity.



A Doctor/Physician’s statement will verify an illness- related absence as being excused. Illness-related absences not explained by a doctor’s excuse can be called questionable.

  1. Absences that exceed 4 days must be excused by a doctor’s note.
  2. IN ALL CASES, THE WRITTEN PARENT EXCUSE MUST BE SUBMITTED WITHIN THREE (3) SCHOOL DAYS AFTER RETURNING TO SCHOOL. Any Written Parent Excuse submitted after three (3) school days must be approved by the building principal or his/her designee.
  3. Any students with 10 or more absences must provide a doctor’s note for any additional absences.

The fact that a parent/guardian has submitted a written explanation does not automatically mean the absence is EXCUSED. Cases of erratic or patterned absences will be called QUESTIONABLE. The parent/guardian may have to supply additional documentation to the building principal for review. If this is not done, the absence or absences will be called UNEXCUSED/UNLAWFUL

  1. No Credit Attendance – HIGH SCHOOL ONLY

    This policy sets forth the consequences of failing to meet acceptable attendance standards:

    The Steel Valley School District has an adopted attendance policy of a maximum unexcused absences of ten (10) days per semester course or twenty (20) days per year long course.

Students will receive grades for all classes, but a student may not be awarded credit for grade advancement (and graduation for high school students) if the student exceeds ten (10) days of absence for semester courses or twenty (20) days absence for a year-long course.

  • A mandatory warning letter will be sent to parents/guardians prior to loss of credit. A five (5) day notice must be sent for semester courses and a ten (10) day notice for a year-long course.

Not Included in 10 day Absence Policy

  1. Doctor’s excuse
  2. Excused for school activity
  3. Death in immediate family
  4. Religious holiday
  5. Verified long term illness
  6. Verified extenuating circumstances

Included in 10 day Absence Policy

  1. Excused – (Written Parent Excuse)
  2. Unexcused/illegal/unlawful absence including absences with no written parent excuse.

Unexcused  absences  cannot  be  appealed; credit   will   be   lost.


It is your responsibility to see that you get to school and to class on time. It is the responsibility of the school to encourage your punctuality and minimize inconvenience and possible disruption to other people in the school. To encourage responsible behavior, the following rules apply:

  1. If a student is tardy to school, he/she must sign in properly at the lobby security desk. He/She will receive an admit slip and will be required to report directly to the late room. Students may NOT go to their lockers at this time. “Tardy” is defined as not being in your first period class by 7:48 a.m. (high school) or 8:25 am (middle school)
  2. Students coming into school after 11:30 a.m. will not be admitted, since this constitutes more than one-


  1. When a student has accumulated a total of three (3) TARDIES TO SCHOOL in a semester, the student will be warned and given a detention. On the fifth (5) tardy during the semester the student’s parent will be contacted and the student will revceive a day of ISS. If the disciplinary action fails to change the student’s behavior the student may face school and legal consequences. After ten (10) days tardy, the student will be referred to the magistrate for truancy proceedings.
  2. Students reporting to school during first period class must sign in and report immediately to their scheduled class. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action. Students reporting to school after first period must sign in with security and report to the main office.

Upon your return to school from an excused absence, it is your responsibility to contact your teachers regarding assignments and tests that you have missed. Since success in current work depends upon knowledge of previous lessons, YOU SHOULD COMPLETE YOUR MAKE-UP WORK WITHIN ONE WEEK AFTER AN EXCUSED MEDICAL ABSENCE. If you are present or tardy (Excused) to school and a test is announced, you will be expected to take the test the day you return to class.

All make-up work must be completed before the close of the given grading period. If the make-up work is not completed in the allotted time, a student may receive a reduced or failing grade for the given grading period. STUDENTS WHO ARE UNEXCUSED FROM OR ABSENT WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM CLASS/SCHOOL ARE NOT PERMITTED TO MAKE UP MISSED CLASS WORK. Students excused for college tours, visitations or vacations are to have all of their assignments completed and submitted to their respective teacher on the day they return to school.



Shirts – A collared polo or button down shirt with long or short sleeves and finished seams must be worn. All tops must reach at least the waist and must not go below the mid-thigh area in length. All shirts must be a solid color of maroon, gold, black, white, yellow, or gray only. A small (approximately one square inch) logo is permitted. We recommend that shirts be “tucked in”. No more than 2 buttons may be unbuttoned. Solid color sweatshirts and sweaters including crew neck, V- neck, full-length zipper, half-zipper pullover, boat neck, vest/sweater vest, and cardigan can be worn as part of a layered outfit worn with a collared shirt (which must be visible at all times).

Pants and Shorts – Pants and shorts are permitted in solid colors of tan, navy blue or black only. We recommend that students wear a belt. The length of the pants should not extend beyond the bottom of the shoe, and the width should not be wider than the shoe size. The hemline of shorts must be no more than two (2) inches above the knee.

Shoes – Dress shoes, boots, and sneakers (without wheels) are the only shoes permitted, and they must have nonskid soles. If the shoes have laces, they must be tied.

Socks – Any color sock is permitted.

Sizing – Clothing must be sized properly and not exceed more than 1 regular size larger or smaller than the student’s actual size.

Steel   Valley   Female   Student   Appropriate Dress

Jumpers, Skirts, Shorts, Capris, and Skorts – Tan, navy blue and black jumpers, skirts, shorts, capris, and skirts are permitted to be worn. The hemline should be no more than 2 inches above the knee, and the length of a long skirt should not extend beyond the bottom of the shoe.


* Sheer shirts or any shirt that exposes cleavage, undergarments, and/or waist/belly/stomach

* Hooded shirts or sweatshirts

* Oversized shirts touching or below the knee


* Pants below student’s waistline, oversized, draping baggy style (“sagging”)

* Cargo, denim, or look alike denim shorts or pants
* Leggings, jeggings, pajama bottoms, yoga pants, athletic style pants/shorts, fish nets, ripped up stockings
* Pants/Bottoms that expose the skin or undergarments


* Sandals, flip-flops, open toe/back shoes

Additional Clothing and Accessories

* Clothing that is torn or tight

Clothing that promotes drugs, alcohol, weapons, or is offensive to any race and/or sex


Draping articles of clothing, towels, or other objects from parts of a student’s body or clothing


Head coverings, which include but are not limited to caps, hats, hoods, bandanas, wave caps, sweatbands, skullcaps, sunglasses, headsets, or any other head covering


Jewelry and accessories that could be used as weapons

(b)The decision as to whether a student’s clothing is unacceptable is made by the applicable building administrator, upon the administrator’s own initiative or the request of a classroom teacher. If a student’s clothing is determined to be unacceptable, the student will be required to change the clothing. If the student is unable or unwilling to change the clothing, further disciplinary measures will occur.




To participate in Commencement, the following requirements must have been satisfactorily completed:

  1. All state and local requirements for graduation have been successfully completed, including all required courses and electives. Only courses taken in grades 9 through 12 apply, and the distribution of credits must be as follows:


A total of 28 credits distributed as:
No credit given for any course repeated for enrichment

English (& Graduation project)
Social Studies
Mathematics 4.0
Science 3.5
Specific Tech & Info Science 1.0
Physical Education/Health 2.5
Other Electives 8.75
Community Service 0.25
Total Credits needed 28.0
A minimum of 30 hours of community service on record for each senior.
  • Students will NOT be penalized for any programming/credit assignment changes affecting computers, physical education, and health.
  • Seniors who are attending Steel Center AVTS may secure a waiver for the Technology & Information Science and/or one social studies elective if class time is needed for another graduation requirement.
  • College bound student athletes who wish to participate in athletics in college must complete a core curriculum that includes 14 academic courses to meet NCAA Clearinghouse Eligibility. The requirements differ slightly for Divisions I, II, and III. There is a grade point average requirement and an SAT or ACT test minimum score requirement-check with your counselor.
  1. All students graduating from Steel Valley High School must complete a graduation project that fulfills the requirement of the Steel Valley School District, Steel Valley High School, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations
  1. Students must meet the minimum attendance requirements and fulfill all obligations. (return all textbooks, athletic equipment, library books, detentions, suspensions, moneys owed, etc.) All obligations must be paid by cash after the first school day in May, but not later than two school days before commencement.
  1. If student is under a suspension, he/she will not be eligible to participate in the ceremony.
  1. A student will be denied participation in commencement by administrative action when personal conduct so warrants or the student has failed to meet all of the graduation requirements.

    Each school district (including charter schools)
    shall specify requirements for graduation in the strategic plan under section 4.13 (relating to strategic planning). Requirements shall include course completion and grades, completion of a culminating project, and results of local
    assessments aligned with the academic standards. Students will demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics on either the State assessments administered in grade 11 or 12 or
    local assessment aligned with academic standards and State assessments under section 4.52 (relating to local assessment system) at the proficient level
    or better in order to graduate. The purpose of the culminating graduation project is to assure that students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding (PDE, Chapter 4, Annex A, 1999, p. 13).

  1. Students are to dress appropriately for the commencement ceremony. More detailed information regarding procedures will be provided prior to the commencement ceremony.
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