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    Attendance is a parent and student responsibility. Please contact the school office by telephone, email, or written notice when your child will be late or absent.

    If your child is not in class when daily attendance is recorded, and you have not provided notification about the absence, you will be notified and your student will be marked with an unexcused absence. 

    After 10 late arrivals (tardies), a letter will go home alerting the family and offering support to assist with on-time arrival at school. After seven unexcused absences in a month's time or ten unexcused absences during the school year, your child will be eligible for a petition with Seattle Public Schools Truancy Office.

    Release of Students During the School Day

    Please provide advance notification to the school if your student must be dismissed before the end of the school day. In general, students will be released only to the persons designated by the parent/guardian on the student’s emergency contact forms. 

    If your child is being released to someone who is not listed on their emergency contact form, please send a signed note to the main office. Children being picked up before 2:25pm (or 1:10pm on Wednesdays) will be dismissed ONLY from the front office (not from the classroom) after being signed out by a responsible adult.


    What absences can be excused?

    Unplanned Absences:
    An unplanned absence can be excused when your child's personal illness or injury, or the illness, injury or death of a family member prevents your child from attending school and you notify the school within 48 hours of the absence. The school may require a note from your child's doctor if their absence exceeds 10 days.

    Planned Absences:
    A planned absence may be excused when you submit a written request or email to the attendance office at least three school days before the start of the planned absence, usually for a medical appointment, religious holiday, an educational activity (such as a visit to another school), or other special one-time event of a day or two. The school may require your child to complete missed assignments and/or make other academic arrangements in lieu of missed work. Family vacations of any duration may not be considered excused absences. The school principal or designee has the final say on whether your planned absence will be excused.

    Absences due to disciplinary actions such as suspensions of your child are excused on District attendance records.

    Absences due to disciplinary actions such as suspensions are excused.

    What absences/tardies are unexcused?

    All other absences/tardies are considered unexcused, including absences caused by the student or parent oversleeping, student missing the bus, transportation problems, student needed for babysitting, not attending while on a wait list for another school assignment, student or parent conflicts with school staff, student job requirements, religious instruction, etc.

    Any absence, whether planned or unplanned, will remain unexcused when the parent does not provide either a telephoned, emailed, or written excuse within a reasonable time (approximately two weeks) after the date of the absence. A parent's request to "excuse my child's absence" without a stated reason or with a reason that does not meet the criteria for excused absences will result in the child's absence remaining unexcused.

    Family vacations or family trips during regular school days are not excused.

    Make-Up work for Missed Days

    If students are gone for more than 2 days for an unexcused absence, parents are encouraged to have their child continue to meet their reading minutes each day, do some kind of writing during the absence, and engage in math thinking. During the absence, the teacher will collect assignments. Upon return to school, the parent/ child will pick-up missed work and the student will have two weeks to complete and submit this work to the teacher. All missed work is to be completed outside of school hours.

    Our duties upon a student’s absences: 

    • We will work with you and your family to provide missed work and determine reasonable accommodations to keep them up to date with their classmates. 
    • If your child has three unexcused absences in one month, state law (RCW 28A.225.020) requires we schedule a conference with you and your child. 

    Common Attendance F.A.Q.

    Are my child's absences excused if my family has a vacation planned or goes out of town for a short time?

    Vacations and trips are not excused when school is in session. Families should plan vacations and family travel for times when schools are not in session. Extra days before or after school holidays are not excused, including trips out of state or out of the country.

    What if there is a family emergency and I cannot get my child to school?

    Student absences for the convenience of the parent are not excused. If the family emergency does not involve your child specifically, you should make arrangements with a friend, relative, or daycare for your child to attend school. If your employment requires that you make business trips out of town for one or more days you need to find a daycare, relative, or friend where your child can stay and still get to school.

    If the emergency is illness or injury of the parent or a sibling, such that the healthy or uninjured student cannot get to school, the student's absence is excused.

    Up to five days of a trip to attend a funeral for a family member may be excused, even if the funeral is held in another state or outside of the U.S. Longer trips for this purpose will need to obtain permission of the school principal to be excused.

    What happens if my child is tardy to class or is late arriving at school?

    Tardiness is considered an academic concern. Elementary students who are late to school repeatedly usually miss core academic instruction in reading, math, social studies, and/or science. The Truancy Office and Juvenile Court believe that late arrivals interfere with core academic instruction.

    Whittier students who arrive late to school must sign in with the office. If your child has an excused tardy be sure to notify the office so it can be marked appropriately. A parent conference will be held for students with repeated tardies.

    More than 10 late arrivals causing the student to miss more than 15 minutes of core instruction or more than 20 excused absences without a note from a doctor are reasons to file a truancy petition for an elementary student regardless how many unexcused absences are on the student's attendance record.

    Want to learn more about the Seattle Public Schools policy about attendance? 
    You can find out more by visiting the SPS Attendance page.