AttendanceRegular attendance is important to school success and to establishing patterns of work ethic and responsibility. Many times it is impossible to make up the missed instruction caused by an absence, at least in its entirety, because of unique involvement in class participation.
Procedures: If the student must be absent, the parent / guardian can either call the attendance office or the student can bring a note upon return to school. In order for the absence to be excused, the absence must be cleared by the attendance office within 48 hours of the absence by calling 360-709-7815.
WAC 392-400-235 and RCW 28A.600.030 establish responsibility for attendance at school as resting primarily with students. However, parents / guardians and the school also share responsibility for prompting and encouraging positive attendance habits in students. The successful completion of classes depends greatly on a student’s punctuality and regularity of attendance. While a small number of absences might, on the average, do little harm, there is a point where attendance directly affects learning and thereby affects the grade a student receives. Further, if an absence is prolonged, either by a collection of sporadic absences or one continuous absence period, there comes a time when it cannot be said that the student has taken the whole class. The student who has only taken part of a class cannot receive credit for the whole class. The following policies and procedures are designed to help students develop and practice responsible attendance habits and increase their potential for academic and employment success.
Excused Absences: An excused absence shall be verified by the parent / guardian or school authority responsible for the absence. Students 13 and older have the right to keep information about drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment confidential.
The following are valid excuses for absences and tardiness:
Illness or a health condition;
A religious observance, when requested by a student’s parent(s);
Family emergencies; and Required court proceedings.
On the tenth (10) high school excused absence within a semester, the school may request medical documentation of illness. Without this documentation the absence may be considered unexcused.
Pre-Arranged Absences: Students who will miss school due to family trips may be excused from school by completing a pre-arranged absence form. The student must get a pre-arranged absence form from the Attendance Office and circulate the form among his / her teachers, who will sign it and indicate to what extent the student’s grade will be affected by the proposed absence. The parent shall sign the form and return it to the Attendance Office two school days prior to the absence. The Attendance Office will notify the parents/student if the absence will be excused according to the policy criteria. In addition, major extenuating circumstances may allow the principal to excuse absences through this pre-arrangement process. Parents and students are responsible for evaluating the effect of the absence on the student’s grade and progress and his/her standing with the attendance policy. An absence shall not be approved if it causes a serious adverse effect on the student’s educational progress. Please note that although pre-arranged absences may be excused, they are counted in the total number of absences and the student may lose credit for excessive absences.
School-Sponsored Activities: Students who will miss class time due to a school-sponsored activity must submit a completed Field Trip Permission form with a parent / guardian signature. Athletes complete this form as part of the Sports Clearance packet for sports related absences ONLY. Teachers may reqest that students refrain from participating in a school-sponsored activity as a result of academic concerns.
Unexcused Absences: In order for an absence to be excused, the absence must be verified by the parent / guardian or school authority responsible for the absence within 48 hours. If the absence is not verified within 48 hours, an absence has not been properly pre-arranged or the absence does not meet the criteria to be excused, a student may receive an unexcused absence.
Early Finals: Students are not allowed to take finals early for any reason. They are expected to be in class during final exams, or they will be required to return to school after the semester has been completed and take the final exam under the supervision of a teacher or administrator. Students who believe they have extenuating circumstances that would allow them to take their semester finals early must submit a prearranged absence request and meet individually with the principal prior to final exam week.
Early Dismissal Procedures: When possible, parents need to notify the attendance office in the morning when a student needs to leave early for an appointment. With the exception of students participating in Running Start and NMSC, any student who leaves campus during the school day (even if it is before school starts) must check out through the attendance office. Students who do not properly check out will be marked truant from the classes missed and will be given the consequences noted on page 11, under “Closed Campus.”
Make-up work: If an absence is excused, the student shall be permitted to make up all missed assignments outside of class under reasonable conditions and time limits established by the appropriate teacher. An exception is that in participation-type classes, a student’s grade may be affected because of the student’s inability to make up the activities conducted during a class period. A student shall be allowed one make-up day for each day of absence. Students who need to collect assignments due to absences that exceed three school days may request assignments from the Attendance Office. Parents or designated students may pick up the assignments at a time agreed upon by the parent and the Attendance Office Secretary.
Students suffering from extended illness should contact the Counseling Center to assist them in making arrangements to complete the assignments. Students with chronic health conditions may qualify for placement in a limited attendance or participation program. The student and his/her parent should contact the student’s counselor for more information. Students may also apply for an Administrative Waiver through the building principal. Students can obtain an application from the main office.
Students who are removed from a class/classes as a disciplinary measure such as ISS or short-term suspension have the right to make up assignments or exams missed during the time they are denied entry to the classroom if the effect of the missed assignments shall be a substantial lowering of the course grade.
Attendance Policy: The Tumwater School District Policy #5241 Attendance Regulations – High School states, “When a student accumulates eleven (11) or more absences, excluding school related activities and religious observances, in any instructional period during a semester, he/she may lose credit in that class.”
Attendance Appeals: Teachers will keep a record of absences and tardiness. When a parent has not notified the school of an absence, a computerized message will contact households in the evening informing parents that their student(s) missed one or more periods that day. At the 5th absence in a single class, parents will be mailed a letter along with a copy of their student’s attendance record. At the 8th absence in a single class, parents will be mailed a letter encouraging them to schedule an appointment with a counselor to develop a plan for success if that is appropriate. At the 11th absence in a single class or any absence thereafter, the individual teacher will notify the student and parent in writing and inform them that the student has lost credit in that teacher’s class. The letter will also include information explaining the Attendance Appeals process if a student wishes to contest loss of credit(s).
A student will not be penalized with loss of credit for absences noted below:
Pre-approved school-related activities;
In-school and out-of-school suspensions; and Juvenile detention.
Once a teacher has notified the parent and student of a loss of credit, the student may appeal the loss of credit. The student must obtain an Appeals Packet from the main office and return it completed to the main office within three school days. Students appealing loss of credit will remain in class by demonstrating good attendance and class participation. When the Appeals Packet is returned, s/he will be scheduled for an Appeals Hearing. Hearings take place during the last 2 weeks of a semester. Students will have 10 minutes to appear before the Attendance Appeals Committee to discuss his/her case. Students will be notified within 3 school days of the Committee’s decision.
Tardies: Tardies to class are disruptive to the learning environment and may adversely affect students’ progress in the class. Students more than 10 minutes late to a class are considered absent, not tardy. The following consequences will be imposed for tardies:
1st & 2nd tardy – teacher will address the concern in the classroom
3rd & 4th tardy – teacher assigns detention and make parent contact
5th or more tardy - Office referral, resulting in Wednesday Workday assignment (on ACT days)
Truancies: Students who accumulate excessive truancies will have additional consequences as defined by RCW 28A.225, commonly called the “Becca” Bill. Truancies are unauthorized absences for which parents and/or school have not given permission. Truancies also include being 10 or more minutes absent from a class without authorization. Students are assigned school consequences for each truancy from each class period, based on an escalating discipline policy. Parents are informed in writing of the 2nd, 5th, and 7th truancies in a single period. In compliance with the Compulsory Attendance Law, the school is required to file a petition with the court at the 5th truancy in a month, and/or the 10th truancy in a school year. The following school consequences will be imposed for truancies:
Truancies equaling less than ½ of a student’s day:
1st Offense: 1 hour of detention per period marked truant
2nd Offense: 2 hours of detention per period marked truant
3rd Offense: Wednesday Workday assignment (on ACT days)
4th Offense: Office Referral, resulting in student contract
Truancies equaling ½ or more of a student’s day:
1st Offense: Wednesday Workday assignment (on ACT days)
2nd Offense: In-School Suspension with parent contact
3rd Offense: Administrator schedules parent conference to develop an attendance contract which may include shortening of school day