Why being in school matters

When it comes to learning, every single school day counts. Research shows that attendance plays an important role in academic success, which affects success in life. Simply put, students must attend school in order to benefit from it.

Just two missed days of school every month, for any reason, can cause a child to suffer academically and decrease the chances that he or she will graduate. Absences add up—and subtract from learning.

Excused absences and tardies are time spent out of school for:

  • Illness—a doctor’s note is required if a student is ill for five or more days in a month, unless the principal, for good cause, waives the requirement
  • Health care appointments
  • Emergencies, including but not limited to a death or illness in the family
  • Religious or cultural activities, including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction
  • Participation in a district- or school-approved activity or instructional program as approved by the principal
  • Deployment activities of an active duty military parent or guardian
  • Prearranged absences that the principal (or designee) and parent agree upon on. The school cannot excuse absences for trips taken by students unless these trips involve direct supervision by the school or the family.

Absences must be excused by a parent within three days. It is the responsibility of the student or parent to arrange for any makeup work.

Read the statewide definition of excused absences.

Unexcused absences do not meet the above criteria for an excused absence and carry the following consequences:

  • After two unexcused absences, the school will schedule a conference with the student and parent.
  • After five unexcused absences, school officials will enter into an attendance agreement and plan with the student and parent.
  • After seven unexcused absences in a month, or 10 in a year, the student will be referred to the district’s student welfare and attendance office, which is required to file a petition in juvenile court alleging a violation of Washington state’s mandatory attendance law.

If an absence/tardy is not called in, the student must check in with the attendance office upon arrival and bring a note by the following day or he/she will be considered truant. Truancy is missing class or school without permission.

Tardy policy
A student is tardy when he or she enters the classroom after the tardy bell and within the first 15 minutes of class time. It is considered an unexcused absence if the student is more than 15 minutes late to class. Teachers will address the first four tardies before referring the student to an administrator for progressive discipline.

Contact Action
No contact (attendance) in 5 consecutive school days. Inform parent and explain potential consequences of additional unexcused absences/lack of contact.
No contact (attendance) in 10 consecutive school days. Initiate a conference with parent/guardian and student to develop a strategy.
No contact (attendance) after the conference. Refer for truancy.
Student (13 years or older) or parent (student younger than 13) fails to attend the conference. Refer for truancy.
No contact (attendance) in 20 consecutive school days. Student is withdrawn from the program.
Home Connection students getting teacher instruction