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Attendance

Winters Joint Unified School District Celebrates the Importance of Attending School

Winters Joint Unified School District recognizes that school attendance is essential and necessary for students to receive the high caliber education in our schools. When students show up to school, they develop the fundamental reading, writing, mathematical, and social skills that will prepare students for college and careers.

Students who are absent frequently may be endangering their future. Research shows children who are chronically absent in early years are far less likely to read proficiently at the end of 3rd grade. In later school grades, chronic absences is highly associated with being more likely to drop out of school. Regular attendance is vital for school success.

What is an Absence from School and What is Truancy?

A school absence means that  a student is missing from school or class with or without the prior knowledge and consent of either parents, guardians, or school personnel. A student not in class but on a school-approved activity is not truant.

According to California Education Code (48260), a truant is a student who missed “30 minutes of instruction with an excuse three times or more.” A student is a chronic truant is a student who is absent from school without valid excuse for ten percent or more of the school days in one school year.” (California Education Code 48263) Per law, students are required to be at school.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about ATTENDANCE

To assist you in better understanding Winters Joint Unified School District’s attendance policies, below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding attendance:

1. What do I have to do if my child is going to be absent from school?

Please call your child’s school and inform the school of your child’s name, the reason for the absence, the date of the absence and your name to verify that it was a parent/guardian that is verifying the absence. Or, you may send a note upon your child’s return to school.

2. What does it mean to “verify” my child’s absence?

When a student is absent, parents/guardians are required to call/send a note to the school office in order to validate the reason for your child’s absence. This is to prevent students from being deemed as truant.

3. What happens after I have called in my child’s absence?

The attendance clerk or secretary will then proceed to mark your child’s attendance record with an “Excused” or “Unexcused” absence according to California Ed. Code and District policies.

4. What happens if I forget to call my child’s absence on the day of his/her absence?

You may call to verify your child’s absence up to 72 hours after your child has been absent. Absences that are not verified within the time allowed will be considered unexcused absences.

5. What is considered an Excused Absence?

By law [EC 48205], excused absences are: illness, medical/dental appointments (doctor’s note required for verification), death in the family, specific religious reasons, required appearance in court, and contagious disease.

6. What can I do if my child has a chronic illness that prevents him/her from being at school regularly?

Winters Joint Unified School District offers alternative educational options for students with special circumstances that have been verified by a physician. You may inquire further with your child’s school for more information.

7. What if my child’s absences do not fall under any of the Excused Absences categories?

California State Law [EC § 48260-48273] is very specific about these types of absences. A student who is absent from school without a valid excuse will be marked “unexcused” which is also called a “Truancy.”

8. I thought “truancy” indicated that a child skipped/ditched school. Why would my child be considered “Truant” if I have called to verify the absence?

In accordance with California Education Code [EC § 48260-48273], any pupil who is absent from school for 3 days or more without a valid excuse, or tardy in excess of 30 minutes or more (Tardies are only excused with a parent note for illness, doctor/dental note for appointments),is “truant”.

9. What about coming in late (tardy) or leaving early for an appointment?

According to State Law [EC § 48260-48273] a student that is absent from school in excess of 30 minutes during a school day is also considered “truant.” Compulsory Education Law therefore, requires a student to attend a full day every day!

10. What is the process for a child with more than 3 unexcused absences/Tardies?

You will receive a letter from the school upon the 3rd (third) unexcused absence/truancy. If unexcused absences/truancies continue followed up by interventions, you may be asked to attend a School Attendance Review Board (SARB) meeting which is a meeting with school, district, and community officials, as well as the District Attorney.

11. What can I do if my child needs to be out of school for a length of time?

If your child must go out of town for five or more days, please contact the school regarding an agreement. Please note that the school and teachers need at least one week’s notice in order to prepare materials without interrupting their instructional time.

12. What is Winters Joint Unified School District doing to promote school attendance?

Winters Joint Unified School District recognizes that school attendance is essential and necessary for students to receive the high caliber education in our schools. When students show up to school, they develop the fundamental reading, writing, mathematical, and social skills that will prepare students for college and careers. Winters Joint Unified School District provides inspiring and cultivating pathways to success through engaging and relevant instruction everyday to support our students attendance. Our schools’ supportive school culture and climate, engaging and high- caliber instruction, safe and healthful school environments, and partnerships work to ensure that everyday is worthwhile for our students to attend and succeed.

School Attendance Facts

 

Facts About Attendance According to Attendance Works:

  1. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.

  2. Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.

  3. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.

  4. Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.

  5. When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.

Winters Joint Unified School District’s Policies to Promote Attendance

  • A supportive school culture and climate that provides all students with academic challenge and success for college and career readiness

  • Board policies

  • Schools’ norms and expectations

  • Safe and healthful school environment

  • Community partnerships

Winters Joint Unified School District’s Interventions To Support Student Attendance and Success

  • Educational options to provide the best learning environment for students who are at risk of becoming truant and to support students who are at risk

  • Student study teams

  • School Attendance Review Board (SARB) and district attorney mediation