Attendance & Tardy Policy
Student attendance plays a critical part in student success.
Toppenish High School faculty endeavors to provide the greatest possible learning opportunities for students. Students who are absent from school miss the guidance of teachers in learning new materials and skills, and they miss the interactions of peers in discussions, activities, and presentations. Consistent attendance is the first step to achieving excellence in education. Teachers will submit their classroom attendance records within the first ten minutes of class. Students who are not in class by the sound of the tardy bell will need to be “swept” or see the attendance clerk for an admit slip to class. REFERENCE: Toppenish School Board Policy 3122 Excused and Unexcused Absences
Assignments and/or activities not completed because of an excused absence or tardiness may be made up. The following are valid excuses for absences and tardiness:
- Participation in a school-approved activity or instructional program – To be excused, this absence must be authorized by a staff member. All of the student’s teachers must be notified prior to the absence.
- Absence due to illness, health condition or medical appointment (including but not limited to medical, counseling, dental or optometry) – If a student is confined to home or hospital for an extended period, then the school may arrange for the completion of assignments at the place of confinement (whenever practical). If the student is unable to do his/her schoolwork, or there are major requirements of a particular course, which cannot be accomplished outside of class, then the student may be required to take an Incomplete grade and will be afforded the opportunity to complete missed work before the next grading period. Failure to complete missed work will result in an “F” in the class. The parent/guardian is expected to notify the school office of the student’s absence by telephone, written note or e-mail within 48 hours. Without this note, the absence will be recorded as an UNEXCUSED ABSENCE.
- Family emergency, including but not limited to a death or illness in the family – The parent/guardian is expected to contact the office regarding the length of absence. The student will be granted an opportunity to complete the work missed. If the student is unable to do his/her schoolwork, or there are major requirements of a particular course, which cannot be accomplished outside of class, then the student may be required to take an Incomplete grade and will be afforded the opportunity to complete missed work before the next grading period. Failure to complete missed work will result in a failing grade for the course.
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction- The parent/guardian is expected to notify the school office of the student’s absence by telephone, written note, or e-mail within 48 hours.
- Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury – The parent/guardian is expected to notify the school office of the student’s absence by telephone, written note, or e-mail within 48 hours.
- Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview – The parent/guardian or student must provide proof of such scheduled visit within 48 hours of student’s return to school.
- State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055 – For more information regarding the definitions under such provision visit http://tinyurl.com/RCW-28A-225-055.
- Absence directly related to the student’s homeless status – Please refer to the Toppenish School District McKinney-Vento eligibility document.
- Absence resulting from disciplinary actions or short-term suspension – As required by law, students who are removed from a class as a disciplinary measure (students who have been placed on short-term suspension) shall have the right to make up assignments or exams missed. Work missed due to suspension may be picked-up in the office between 2:45 pm and 3:30 pm on the day following the suspension upon parent request. A twenty-four (24) hour advanced parent request is required in order to provide the homework in a timely manner.
- Excused absence for chronic health concern – Students with a chronic health condition that interrupts regular school attendance may qualify for placement in a limited attendance participation program. The student and his/her parents/guardians should consult with the principal or counselor, and a limited educational program may be deemed appropriate. The principal (or designee) shall approve the recommendation of a limited educational program. In such case, staff would be informed of the student’s needs.
REFERENCE: TSD School Board Policy 3122
Unexcused absences fall into the following categories:
- Submitting a signed excuse which does not meet the guidelines of an excused absence as previously defined (see pp. 10).
- Failing to submit any type of excuse statement approved by the parent/guardian. This type of absence on an ongoing basis is also defined as truancy.
*Any student who presents false evidence in order to wrongfully qualify for an excused absence will be subject to disciplinary action.
Students who fail to attend their scheduled class without prior approval are considered to be “skipping class”. Students who skip class will be subject to disciplinary action and may include a petition to the Yakima County Juvenile Courts.
All Washington State Schools are required by State statute to file a petition with the juvenile court when students accumulate five unexcused absences in a month or ten in a year (RCW 28A.225.015).
Procedures for full day unexcused absences
Step 1: 1 unexcused absence – Phone call to parent. Documented in Student File.
Step 2: 2 unexcused absences – Phone call and letter to parent. Documented in Student File.
Step 3: 3 unexcused absences – Administrative Conference. Toppenish High School Attendance Success Plan.
Student may be asked to participate in a Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students.
Step 4: 4 unexcused absences (within one month) – Administrative Conference or Community Truancy Hearing.
Step 5: 5 unexcused absences (within one month) - Referral to juvenile court. Possible penalties enforced include: $25 fine per day missed, 100 Community Service Hours for Parents and Child, and/or 1 week in Juvenile Detention.
The following will occur in effort to improve the student’s attendance:
Inform the child's custodial parent, parents, or guardian by a notice in writing or by telephone whenever the child has failed to attend school after three unexcused absences within any month during the current school year. School officials shall inform the parent of the potential consequences of additional unexcused absences. If the custodial parent, parents, or guardian is not fluent in English, the preferred practice is to provide this information in a language in which the custodial parent, parents, or guardian is fluent;
- A conference or conferences with the custodial parent, parents, or guardian and child at a time reasonably convenient for all persons included for the purpose of analyzing the cause of the child's absences after four unexcused absences within any month during the current school year. An attendance agreement will be signed by all three parties.
- Take steps to eliminate or reduce the child's absences. These steps shall include, where appropriate, adjusting the child's school program or school or course assignment, providing more individualized or remedial instruction, providing appropriate vocational courses or work experience, requiring the child to attend an alternative school or program, or assisting the parent or child to obtain supplementary services that might eliminate or ameliorate the cause or causes for the absence from school. If the child's parent does not attend the scheduled conference, the conference may be conducted with the student and school official. However, the parent shall be notified of the steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the child's absence.
- In accordance with state law, students will be referred to juvenile court after five (5) unexcused absences in a month or ten (10) unexcused absences in any school year. The parents will be asked to sign an Agreed Order.
- After twenty (20) consecutive school days of unexcused absences, the student will be considered to have been withdrawn from school by the student’s parents. The school will file a Petition for a Contempt Hearing with the Yakima Juvenile Courts or Tribal Court.
EARLY DISMISSAL / LATE ARRIVAL
Parents/guardians are required to “sign-out” their child prior to taking them home during school hours. Students are required to “check-out” through the attendance office when leaving campus and must have an “off-grounds pass,” which is obtained by parent/guardian permission (telephone or note).
*Parents/guardians: For liability reasons, we appreciate your cooperation in notifying the attendance office any time your child comes and goes off campus during regular school hours.
“Tardiness” is defined as failing to be in the room and properly seated before the tardy bell rings. In order to maximize the use of instructional time students are expected to arrive to class on time with materials needed to learn. Students who are late due to a request by the teacher of the previous class must submit that note to the attendance clerk. Failure to do so will result in the student being marked tardy. Consequences for “unexcused tardiness” may include after school detention, early release detention, Saturday school, or In house suspension for whole or partial day.
*Failure to attend detention will result in more severe disciplinary action. Disregard for the tardy policy, may invoke further disciplinary action and/or place student on behavior success plan.