Reducing cuts is important. However, contacting parents or student for excuses after a student's return makes less sense now than in the past.
Before a PLC (Professional Learning Community) emphasis, teachers would issue zeros for missing work if students cut. The reward for bad behavior was no work, followed by more poor behavior because students quickly realize that zero's force them to fail in a standard 0-100 point system, which creates more hassle and costs for the school system as a whole and dropouts. Now, students must complete their work: attendance is irrelevant for grading, but vital for learning. More subtlely, the joy of being sick goes away to the student. This approach has been used successfully in summer school for years: excuses are irrelevant. The metric that matters is attendance, not the reason. The three-days-to-change-a-cut rule remains somewhat useful for awards, but no reminders to students and parents to clear a cut need or should be made. Getting students to school is the issue, not asking them or parents for an excuse when they arrive or afterwards.
Furthermore, sadly, there is a correlation between poor attendance and disruptive behavior. Since students can be transferred at no, or little charge, to a County ACCESS High School after four full days of cuts, it actually behooves schools and the majority of students within them to have absences marked as cuts. It gives schools more flexibility in dealing with, frankly, dangerous students. Reminding returned students or requiring excuses before students return to school is self-defeating and wasteful of everyone's time. It's merely going through the motions of improving attendance.
In short, attendance is the only issue. Excuses are irrelevant. Higher attendance does not result by administratively pressuring ourselves to reduce the number of marked cuts. The enemy to learning isn't cuts, but excused absences! Working this number down would have positive effects.
a. ID the number of First Period Absences in last semester as a baseline.
b. ID the number of Full Day Absences in last semester as a baseline.
c. Record the number of First Period Absences and Full Day Absences this semester.
d. An increase in First Period, but a decrease in Full Day means a real system improvement has occurred.
e. Decrease/Increase in all absences is the obvious main statistic.
f. Trend the two numbers above and single period skips.