The number of days missed matters!
Whether excused or unexcused, the number of days your student misses can greatly impact their academic success. Families should strive for regular attendance. Regular attendance means having, on average, less than two absences per month. An absence is defined as missing 50% or more of their scheduled day.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
- Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.
- Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
- By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
- Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with schoolwork, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
- Unexcused absences are an early warning sign for unaddressed problems with school and future dropout.
All About Attendance
Each school has an attendance team that regularly meets to review students who are struggling with attendance or may be having a hard time connecting. The purpose of these teams is to work with students and families to help address concerns and work together to resolve challenges that are impacting a student's learning. If your student needs support from your school's attendance team, please reach out to your student's counselor or attendance coordinator.
Sometimes when a student is really struggling, they may be invited to attend a Community Engagement Board meeting. The Community Engagement Board seeks to address the problem of truancy through the collaboration of school, court and community resource providers. The Engagement Board makes recommendations to students, parents and the school district with the goal of improving a student’s attendance record. Students who are on a Becca petition may be referred to a Community Engagement Board.
Automated Attendance Calls
If your student has missed their teacher-led instruction, you may receive an automated call from your student’s school indicating that they have missed scheduled learning time. These calls go out to ensure that parents are aware of absences during live instruction and can serve as a reminder that parents need to report absences to the school.
Making Sense of the Attendance Auto Dialer
Parents receive the auto dialer when:
- Student is not present in a LIVE class conference (including advisory) AND/OR
- Student did not log in to Canvas that day. This will also trigger the automatic phone call because the student was not actually "in class."
- If you have called and left a message on the attendance line, please understand the office is extremely busy and will mark your student as soon as the message can be heard. Also, if your child was simply tardy to class, they will have to speak to their teacher to remove that absence.
Absences due to the following reasons must be excused:
- Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including, but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible;
- Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
- Court, judicial proceeding, court-ordered activity, or jury service;
- Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
- State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
- Absence directly related to the student's homeless or foster care/dependency status;
- Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
- Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to chapter 392-400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying "course of study" activities as defined in WAC 392-121-107;
- Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying;
- Absences due to a student's migrant status; and
- An approved activity that is consistent with district policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian, or emancipated youth.
Emergency Rules for COVID-19 Related Absences
The emergency rule specifies additional reasons that a students’ absence must be excused:
- Absences related to the student’s illness, health condition, or medical appointments due to COVID-19;
- Absences related to caring for a family member who has an illness, health condition, or medical appointment due to COVID-19;
- Absences related to the student’s employment or other family obligations* during regularly scheduled school hours that are temporarily necessary due to COVID-19 until other arrangements can be made, including placement in a more flexible education program;
- Absences due to the student’s parent’s work schedule or other obligations during regularly scheduled school hours, until other arrangements can be made;
- Absences due to the student’s lack of necessary instructional tools, including internet broadband access or connectivity, stability, reliability, outages, etc.
- Other COVID-19 related circumstances as determined between school and parent or emancipated youth.
Please Note: Other family obligations include when a student must care for younger siblings.
See emergency rule Chapter 392-401A WAC for the complete list of excused reasons.
A school principal or designee has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence. Districts may define additional categories or criteria for excused absences.
State Law and Attendance Policies
NSD attendance policies are developed based upon Washington State’s Compulsory Attendance Law RCW 28A.225.
The law states the following:
- After 1 unexcused absence the school will Inform the student’s parent/guardian by a notice in writing or by telephone, in a language the parent is fluent, whenever the student has failed to attend school after one unexcused absence.
- After 3 unexcused absences in a 30-day period a conference will be scheduled with you and your student for the purpose of identifying barriers to the student’s regular attendance and the supports and resources that may be made available to the family and the steps to be taken to support the student to attend.
- Between 2 and 7 unexcused cumulative absences in a school year the District will take data-informed steps to eliminate or reduce student’s absences, consistent with the WARNS or other assessment results.
- No later than 7 unexcused absences in a 30-day period the District shall do one of the following:
- • Enter into an agreement with the student and parent establishing attendance requirements, OR
- • Refer student to a Community Engagement Board (CEB), OR
- • File petition under subsection (1) of RCW 28A.225.030
- After 7 unexcused absences in a month and not later than 15 cumulative unexcused absences in a school year RCW 28A.225.035 the District is required to file a truancy petition with Juvenile Court. Court must ‘stay’ the petition. The District will refer the parent and child to a community engagement board (CEB) or other coordinated means of intervention if referral did not take place before the petition. The CEB meeting must take place within twenty days of the referral. The community engagement board must meet with the child, a parent, and school district representative and enter into an agreement.
- If the above actions are not successful, the district will file a truancy petition with the juvenile court alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010 by the parent, student or parent and student. The parent and student will be required to appear in the Pend Oreille County District Court.
State law requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Children who are 6 or 7 years old are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if parents enroll their 6 or 7 year old, the student must attend full-time. Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements.