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Attendance

 
 On Time, All Day, Every Day!

Make school attendance a habit rather than a choice!

One of the most important things your children can do to achieve academic success is also one of the most basic; going to to school every day.  In fact, research has shown that it usually takes students three days to catch up with school work for every day they have missed.  By making your child’s school attendance a priority, you will be taking an important step in supporting your child's success in school, and setting a good example! 

 

Washington Law

What does Washington State Law say?

Washington law requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or to receive home-based instruction (homeschooling). Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they have graduated or acquired a GED. Washington’s truancy law, often termed the “Becca Bill”, is intended to curb school truancy before it becomes habitual. The law requires many things of schools, but only requires one thing of students: attend school! If a student does not attend school the law requires the school district to take action.

On Time, All Day, Every Day!
   Benefits of Daily Attendance
  • Performance: By attending class regularly, your child is more likely to keep up with the daily lessons and assignments, and take quizzes and tests on time.
  • Achievement: students who attend school regularly are more likely to pass reading and math assessments than students who don’t attend school regularly.
  • Being part of the school community: Just by being present at school, your child is learning how to be a good citizen by participating in the school community, learning valuable social skills, and developing a broader world view.
  • The importance of education: Your commitment to school attendance will also send a message to your child that education is a priority for your family, going to school every day is a critical part of educational success, and that it’s important to take your responsibilities seriously including going to school.

Warning Signs
Some of the most common reasons for skipping school are oversleeping, wanting to hang out with friends, and being rebellious. However, a student’s refusal to attend school may also be the result of some of the following issues:

  • Behind in schoolwork
  • Leaving home and /or returning at irregular hours
  • Inappropriate school attire
  • Early morning personal phone calls
  • Refusing to go to school
 
  • Vague health complaints
  • Changes in behavior and routine
  • Unaware of school calendar, class schedule and assignments
  • Never receiving mail from school
 
  • Failing grades
  • Keeping close company with non‐school attending friends
  • Complaints of conflict with teacher and peers
  • Evidence of alcohol and/or drug use
 
How does the Kelso School District take action?
  Guided by State law the District follows a set of interventions
created to support students and families.


One (1) or Two (2) Unexcused Absences

After a single unexcused absence, the school will contact parents, which is generally done by phone or letter. After a second unexcused absence, the school is required to schedule a conference with the parent and student to discuss solutions to the truancy.

Five (5) Unexcused Absences

If a student accumulates five unexcused absences in a month, the school may take more intense absences to end the truancy. The school may file a petition with the Cowlitz Courty Court, enter into a written truancy agreement with the family, or reference the family to a Truancy Project,.

Seven (7) and Ten (10) Unexcused Absences

Court action is required when a student accumulates seven absences in a month or ten in a year. The truancy law requires that school districts file a petition in Superior Court against the student, parent, or both.

Court Action

The first hearing in any truancy action is the “preliminary hearing.” At the preliminary hearing, the court will hear the evidence from the school district, the parents and student to determine whether the truancy allegation is more likely than not true. If true, the court will enter a written order directing the student to go to school.

If the student successfully obeys the court order and goes to school without any unexcused absences, most likely they will not be called back to court for any additional hearings.

Students and parents who willfully violate the court order and continue to have unexcused absences will be summoned back to court for a “contempt hearing.” When a student or parent is held in contempt, the court may impose coercive sanctions to correct the student’s attendance issues. The court may order a student to write a report, do community service, or spend time in juvenile detention. The court may require a parent to do community service or even be issued fines for $25 for each day of their child’s truancy. Children are entitled to legal counsel once they face the threat of confinement.

What can you do?
  • Help your child get to school on time every day. Babysitting, problems with a car or late bus, and the weather are not permissible reasons to miss school. Coming to school late will also be noted on your child’s permanent record, and will make it difficult for your child to stay caught up with the first lessons of each morning.
  • Follow the school’s guidelines and attendance policy, and report excused absences immediately. At the beginning of the school year, review the school’s rules and make sure you understand whom you need to call if your child is going to be absent.
  • Take an active role. Stay involved with your child’s daily experiences at school by asking how the school day went, and then listening carefully to what your child shares with you both the successes and struggles. Make it a point to meet your child’s teacher and friends.
  • Locate potential sources of anxiety. If your child frequently appears upset or reluctant to go to school and cannot tell you why, schedule an appointment with his or her teacher or school counselor to talk about possible sources of the anxiety.
  • Try to limit the amount of time that your child misses school due to medical appointments or illness. If possible, avoid scheduling doctor’s appointments during the school day. Allow your child to stay home only in the case of contagious or severe illnesses.
  • Schedule family events with your child’s school schedule in mind. Plan holiday celebrations or family trips during weekends or school vacations. In the case of family emergencies or unexpected trips, talk to your child’s teacher as far in advance as possible and set up a way that your child can work ahead or bring important homework on the trip.
  • Plan ahead. Encourage your child to prepare for the next school day by laying out clothes the night before and helping to fix lunches.
  • Promote good health. Make sure that your child eats a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and has opportunities to exercise every day through a sports team or playtime outside.
  • Create a restful environment. Make sure that your child can relax before bedtime by doing something quiet like reading rather than do something stimulating, like watching television. Ensure that your child gets enough quality sleep ideal amounts range from 8 to 12 hours.
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Kelso School District • 601 Crawford Street • Kelso, WA 98626 • Phone: (360) 501-1900

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