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Attendance

The San Mateo-Foster City School District urges parents to make sure their children attend school regularly and to schedule medical and other appointments after school or during school holidays. The district also asks that travel or other absences be avoided during the time school is in session. The higher the district’s daily attendance rate, the more a student will learn and the greater the amount of funding the district will receive from the state for classroom instruction and academic programs.

Doctor and dental appointments are considered excused absences when a written note is received from the doctor and/or dental office. For further information on attendance, please refer to Board Policy 5113.  

WHY ATTENDANCE MATTERS

Being present at school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in
TK/Kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and become
more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day
and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.
Research shows:

  • Poor attendance in preschool can predict absenteeism in later grades.
  • Children chronically absent in Kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade
    level by the end of 3rd grade.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is a proven early warning sign for students at risk of dropping out
    of school.
  • By 9th grade, good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test
    scores.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL ATTENDANCE

  •  Make sure your child keeps a regular bedtime and establishes a morning routine. Younger
    children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep, older children 8.5 to 9.5 hours.
  • Lay out clothes and have child’s backpack ready to go the night before.
  • Ensure that your child goes to school every day unless he/she is truly sick (a temperature over
    99.9 degrees).
  • Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
  • Talk to teachers, counselors and school administrators for advice if your child feels anxious
    about going to school.
  • Develop back up plans for getting your child to school if something arises. Call a family
    member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.

EXCESSIVE EXCUSED ABSENCES

  1. At the 3rd consecutive excused absence, families will need to provide medical documentation of illness. After the 7th excused absence, families will receive the first Excessive Excused Absence Notification letter.
  2. At the 10th excused absence, families will receive a second letter. A parent meeting will be held
    with the Principal, Assistant Principal, and/or District Nurse, to discuss attendance strategies.
    Authorization for the release of medical records will be requested. Continued excused absences without medical documentation will be marked unexcused.

UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

  1. After the 3rd unexcused absence, the first Notification of Truancy letter is sent. California Ed
    Code 48260(a) states: A pupil who is absent from school or absent for more than a 30 minute
    period without a valid excuse on 3 occasions shall be classified as Truant.
  2. After the 6th unexcused absence, the second Notification of Truancy letter will be sent. At this
    step, a meeting will be held with the school administration or attendance team to discuss
    attendance strategies.
  3. After the 9th unexcused absence, a child is considered a Habitual Truant by the state of California [EC 60901(c)(1)], and continued unexcused absences will result in a Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) meeting.

CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM

When a student has been out of school 10% of the school year for unexcused and excused
absences (i.e. 18 days out of 180 total days), the student is considered chronically absent. Parents
receive chronic absenteeism letters when 9 days AND 10% of the school year has been missed.