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Resources & Tools for Parents:Attendance

Attending school on time and on a daily basis:

  • Makes a difference in your child’s education and helps to promote social and academic skills.
  • Is vital to ensuring success in school. Good attendance in elementary and middle school is a good predictor that your child will graduate from high school. (California State SARB, 2009)
  • Is an important skill that your child can use throughout his/her life.

To report an absence from school:

  • The parent/guardian should call the school office or school attendance line every day the student is absent, or;
  • The parent/guardian should provide a written note explaining the valid reason for the absence(s), or;
  • The parent/guardian should provide a written note from a physician explaining the valid reason for the absence(s).

Note: All absences must be verified within two (2) days of the student returning to school or the absence is considered an unexcused absence.

School Attendance Laws

All persons between 6 and 18 years of age are required by California law to attend school. In addition, parents have the legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance. (E.C. Section 48200 “Compulsory Education”)

A student will be truant if he/she is: (E.C. Section 48260)

  • Absent for three (3) full days without a valid excuse in one (1) school year, or
  • Tardy or absent for more than 30 minutes without a valid excuse for three (3) or more days in one (1) school year, or
  • Any combination of the above.

Truant students will be reported to the attendance administrator or superintendent of the school district and will become a part of the SARB Process.

The following are valid reasons for excused absences: (E.C. Section 48205)

  • Personal illness;
  • Quarantine under the direction of a doctor/health officer;
  • Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic appointments for the child;
  • Attendance at funeral services for a member of the student’s immediate family (limited to one (1) day in state and three (3) days out of state);
  • Student has a highly contagious illness (communicable disease);
  • Participation in religious instruction or exercises (student must attend at least the minimum school day and be excused no more than four (4) days per month);
  • For the purpose of spending time with a member of the student’s immediate family who is an active member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from, deployment to a combat zone or combat support position.
  • For justifiable reasons that include, but are not limited to:
    • Appearance in court*;
    • Attendance at a funeral service for an individual other than a member of the student’s immediate family*;
    • Observance of a religious holiday or ceremony*;
    • Attendance at a religious retreat*.
    • *These and other justifiable reasons must have a prior written request by the parent/guardian and/or the approval of the principal or designee.

Note: After ten (10) absences for personal illness, any further absences must be verified with a physician’s note or the student must be brought to school on each day of the illness to have a designated staff verify the illness.

The School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Process (E.C. Section 48260)

Established by California law, SARB helps schools identify and intervene early to promote academic achievement and to ensure that all students graduate.

In support of the SARB process, school district and community agency representatives participate on the SARB. The Board provides recommendations for home, school and community-based interventions and seeks partnership and support from parents /guardians to ensure the regular and on-time school attendance of their child.

For more information, please contact your child’s school.

School Attendance Resources

  1. Build the Habit of Good Attendance Early (PDF)
  2.  Keep Your Child on Track in Middle and High School (PDF)