We are dedicated to the academic success of all students and regular school attendance is a critical part of that success. Research shows that attendance rates result in students' improved academic skills as well as social and emotional growth. In addition, our school district, unlike others in Marin County, is funded by the state based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). When your student is absent from school, the school does not receive funding for your student for that day.
California has a compulsory attendance law that requires that all children between the ages of 6 and 18 attend school for the length of the school day. Schools are required to enforce this law and follow the guidelines that are set aside in Education Code 48205 and Board policy 5113. Not only do these policies clarify the compulsory attendance law, but they also define “excused absence.” A student can only be excused from school for the following reasons:
All other reasons for school absence are considered unexcused. Please be aware that going “out of town” with your child while school is in session is an unexcused absence. If you are planning a family trip that cannot be scheduled during regular school vacations and your student will be absent from school 5 or more school days, please ask your principal about Independent Study. This will allow your student to keep up on his/her school work and prevent the absence from being considered unexcused.
Once a student misses 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year, California Education Code 48260 requires that the student be classified as a “truant” and reported to the proper school authority. This classification and referral helps emphasize the importance of school attendance and is intended to help minimize interference with instruction. In addition to the reporting requirement, the law states that the school district must notify the parent or guardian of the absences, and that the notification must include specific information related to the student's unexcused absences.
Once a student has been absent from school three or more times without a valid excuse and has been notified of the absences, any additional absence from school requires that the student be reported as a “chronic truant” and the parent be notified again. At this time, the school administrator needs to make a conscientious effort to hold a conference with the parent or guardian and the student to explain the compulsory attendance law and the importance of being in school for school success.
If your student continues to have unexcused absences after the conference with the school, the school must again notify you that your student has been absent and must be declared a “habitual truant.” The school must make every effort to have your student attend school and if your student continues to be absent from school without a valid excuse, a referral will be made to the Student Attendance Review Board (S.A.R.B.) which is operated by the Marin County Office of Education.
Absences Due to Illness
When a student is absent from school due to illness and those absences total more than 14 school days, the school must require a physician’s note to verify any further absences (Board policy 5113). If this illness is long term, requiring your student to be absent from school for 3 weeks or more, please talk to your school principal. Your student may be eligible for home and hospital instruction.
Late to School (Tardy)
When the educational process is interrupted by students arriving late to class, all students suffer. Every effort should be made to assure that your child arrives to school on time every day. Arriving late to school in excess may result in your child being declared truant.
If there are particular reasons or circumstances that are preventing you from getting your child to school on time, please request a conference with your principal to discuss possible solutions. Communication with your child’s school is important and can be very beneficial.