When a child is absent because of illness, for a doctor or dental appointment, or any other reason, call or email the school office (650-856?1622) before 8:30 a.m. on the day of the absence and indicate the reason. If you prefer, you could email Lee-Ann Taylor in our school office. The law requires that the exact nature of an illness be stated. An absence for reasons of illness is an excused absence.
A child may be dismissed early from school only when a telephone call or note to the teacher and school office has indicated the specific reason. The school is not permitted to excuse children for music lessons, Scouting, sports, or other extracurricular activities. A parent picking up a child leaving school at a time other than the usual dismissal time should come to the school office and sign the student out. The parent may not ask that the child meet in the parking lot or the bus circle.
Our school district has become much stricter about unexcused absences than in the past. Three unexcused absences (or tardiness of more than 30 minutes) means that a student is truant according to California Ed Code (48260). This will be communicated in a letter to the family and a copy will be kept in the child’s cumulative file. It is, therefore, very important that you communicate with your child’s teacher and our office staff about all student absences.
If your family is planning a trip of any length, please notify your child’s teacher in advance and also notify Becky Brewer or Lee-Ann Taylor in the school office. Independent study may be arranged for absences of duration between 5 and 20 days. For an absence longer than 20 days, special arrangements must be made with the principal in order to avoid having the student dis-enrolled from school. For planned absences less than 5 days, it may be possible to arrange for these days to be excused absences and therefore not result in the child being designated truant. In order for the absences to be excused, the student must have a good attendance record (95% to date of the request) and the appropriate request form needs to be submitted to the office.
A student who is absent for any reason other than Independent Study for 10% or more of the days enrolled in a school year is considered chronically absent according to California Ed Code (48263.6). All absences for illness, excused absences for trips, family emergencies, and unexcused absences count towards the designation of chronic absenteeism. In other words, even if an absence is excused, it still counts towards the designation of chronic absenteeism. If a child is enrolled for the full school year, absences of any kind except Independent Study totaling 18 or more days will result in the designation of chronic absenteeism. This will be communicated in a letter to the family and a copy will be kept in the child’s cumulative file.
We would like to work with you to ensure that your child develops good habits related to attendance. Sporadic absences of the kind where a child misses one day out of every 5-10 school days are disruptive to their learning. The student is repeatedly missing important instruction and practice. When we see that problems are developing, we will contact you and ask that you help to improve your child’s attendance pattern. If this is unsuccessful over a reasonable period of time, the situation can be referred to the PAUSD Student Attendance Review Board.
PAUSD Board Policies:
- Excused absences https://www.pausd.org/policies#/search/result/1158
- Chronic Absence and Truancy https://www.pausd.org/policies#/search/result/1159
Children should be at school by 8:00 a.m. Arriving after 8:00 into the classroom will be considered tardy. Teachers submit attendance online and if the teacher has already completed the daily attendance report while a child is not present, the student will need to go to the office upon arrival at school so the attendance report can be amended to “tardy” rather than “absent.”
Persistent tardiness is a problem for some students. Students are often embarrassed to be arriving after the school day has started. This isn’t a good frame of mind in which to start learning. The student may miss the teacher’s opening message which sets the tone for the morning. The teacher may have to repeat directions which is inefficient and frustrating. Perhaps most important for children of elementary age, they are learning patterns for life. Being on time and ready to begin the day is an important habit for life. Since parents are largely responsible for getting children to school on time in elementary school, we ask you to plan a morning routine which ensures that your child arrives at school between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m.
We will send a letter to families of students who are repeatedly tardy asking that the family address the problem. If the pattern of tardiness persists, the principal will ask to meet with the parents to see how we can work together to solve the problem. If none of this is successful over a reasonable period of time, the situation can be referred to the PAUSD Student Attendance Review Board.