Attendance Law and WVSD Attendance Policy
Students and parents must be informed of the compulsory attendance law each year. Information is included in the district calendar mailed home each summer; it is given to parents in writing at registration; it is also included in each student agenda, and it is posted on the website.Students are expected to be in school each day. This is the first and most important requirement for a successful school experience. Punctuality and attendance are also a significant part of a student’s experience in any given subject area because of the discussion, participation, academic activities and classroom peer relationships. It is important that students and parents understand that absences must be held to a minimum.SCHOOL POLICIES AND STATE LAWSIt is important that you understand our school policies and procedures, as well as Washington State Law, to ensure your child is successful in school. State law for mandatory attendance, called the Becca Bill, requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Children that are 6- or 7-years-old are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if parents enroll their 6- or 7-year-old, the student must attend full-time. Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements. More information can be found at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.225We have found two problems with attendance:1. Unexcused absences2. Chronic absencesUnexcused AbsencesWe, the school, are required to take daily attendance and notify you when your student has an unexcused absence. Following an absence, students have 48 hours to have the absence excused through a note or phone call from a parent. Unexcused absences (after 48 hours) result in student detention, and students may not be able to make up their missed work.If your student has two unexcused absences in one month, state law (RCW 28A.225.020) requires we schedule a conference with you and your student to identify the barriers and supports available to ensure regular attendance. The district is obligated to develop a plan that may require an assessment to determine how to best meet the needs of your student and reduce absenteeism.A conference is not required if your student has provided a doctor’s note, or pre-arranged the absence in writing, and the parent, student and school have made plan so your student does not fall behind academically. If your student has an Individualized Education Plan or a 504 Plan the team that created the plan needs to reconvene.If your student has seven unexcused absences in any month or ten unexcused absences within the school year, we are required to file a petition with the Juvenile court, alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010, the mandatory attendance laws. The petition may be automatically stayed and your student and family may be referred to a Community Truancy Board, or you and your student may need to appear in Juvenile Court. The Community Truancy Board will meet with students, parents, and school administrators to examine causes for the frequent absences and recommend interventions to help students attend school more consistently. If your student continues to be truant you may need to go to court.Chronic AbsencesA second absence problem is students who are chronically absent. Chronic Absenteeism is considered to be missing 10% or more days of school. This means that missing 9 days in a semester, or 18 days in a year is considered chronic. Any student missing 9 non-school related days per class in a semester, regardless of reason, will result in the student having an attendance review and receiving a formal grade check for their classes which will be sent home to parents. At 18 absences, regardless of reason, students will receive a drop notice. To prevent loss of credit, students will need to appeal to the attendance committee within 5 school days. The committee shall decide on follow up action which may include an attendance contract, referral to a Community Truancy Board, or loss of credit.Planned AbsencesStudents who have a planned absence need to have a pre-approved Pre-Trip form signed by all affected teachers and the principal or designee at least one day ahead of the absence. Students in sports have additional requirements in order to be able to participate on a day with a partial absence. More information can be found in the 2017-18 Student Handbook at http://www.willapavalley.org/Page/421.WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR STUDENT’S ATTENDANCE* Set a regular bed time and morning routine.* Don’t let your student stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.*Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.* Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.* Keep track of your student’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days could put your student at risk of falling behind.* Talk to your student about the importance of attendance.*Talk to your students’ teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.* Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.