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Attendance

The Center School Attendance

We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contributions to our school community. And, research has shown that attending school regularly and arriving on time helps students feel better about school—and themselves. When students improve their attendance rates, they also improve their academic prospects and chances of graduating on time.

If your student is arriving to school or class late, they must stop by the Attendance Office to get a pass admitting them to class.

Attendance Procedures for Students

Students, it is your responsibility to keep track of your attendance. You may look on The Source for current attendance information.

Note: Students living on their own need to contact their administrator to establish the attendance procedures.


How to Excuse an Absence or Tardy

You must excuse absences or tardies with a written parent note, parent email, or parent call/voicemail within 72 hours (3 days). Be sure to include the date, student’s name, and REASON for tardy or absence.

Notes that do not have a legitimate REASON will be considered unexcused.

If your student is returning from an absence, they must turn in a note and contact Ms. Webb within 3 school days to excuse the absence. Please allow 24 hours to process a request.

Kathy Webb
Attendance Secretary
206-252-9875
kawebb@seattleschools.org


How to Submit a Pre-Planned Absence

If you will be gone on a pre-planned event, make sure you fill out a Pre-planned Absence Form and have teachers sign this. The form must be completed and submitted at least three days prior to the absence.

The pre-planned absence form is for absences of at least 2 days (use a note for shorter absences).

School Initiated Pre-Planned Absence (i.e. Field Trips)

Activities such as field trips require a pre-planned absence form. Students should obtain a pre-arranged absence form from the teacher in charge of the field trip to notify their teachers of their absence and arrange for makeup work, if required. The pre-arranged absence form should be completed and returned to the teacher three days prior to the absence. The teacher turns in the completed forms to the Attendance Office 3 days before the activity.

End of Year Pre-Planned Absence

If you will be gone on a pre-planned event at the end of the school year, make sure you fill out a Pre-Planned End of School Year ONLY Absence Form and have your teachers sign this agreement and return the completed form to your Attendance Secretary at least three school days before your last day of school this year.

Note from Teacher – If you come from another classroom with a note, show the note to the teacher and then bring the note to the Attendance Office. This ensures that your absences will be excused. Teachers can only mark Absent or Late in the attendance system. They cannot excuse the absent or late status, only the Attendance Office can do this.

If you are more than 15 minutes late to a class, you will be marked absent.


Early Dismissals

Students MUST have authorized parent/guardian permission AND school permission to leave school for an outside appointment or an illness during the school day.

Students must present a written note to the Attendance Secretary on the day of the appointment or get permission from their administrator prior to leaving school.

Students leaving school without permission will be marked absent and the absence will be unexcused. Early dismissals will not be excused after the fact.

Late Arrivals

For late arrivals to school, a written excuse from parent/guardians is required within 3 school days. Students with/without written excuses should report directly to the Attendance Secretary to sign in and get a pass to class.

Additional Resources

Definition of an Absence

An absence is defined as any time a student misses more than fifteen (15) minutes of a given class period or any time a student is not at school or participating in a school-sponsored activity in lieu of attending school (e.g. on a field trip).

Excused Absences

Unplanned Absences

Unplanned absences are excused when the student’s personal illness or injury, or the illness, injury or death of a family member, prevents your child from attending school. The school may require a note from your child’s doctor before excusing those absences if the student is absent due to illness or injury for an excessive number of days, generally more than 10 cumulative days in a semester.

The Center School requires a note from a parent or guardian to excuse any absence within 3 days of student’s return to school from any absence. Absences due to short-term discipline of your child are excused.

Planned Absences

Planned absences are excused when the parent submits a request to the Principal, Dr. Casey, at least three school days before the start of a planned absence. Planned absences may include, but not limited to, medical appointments, religious events or holidays, educational trips or other special one-time events.

The Principal has the authority to determine whether a specific request for a planned absence is to be excused. Long-term excused absences or a succession of short-term absences over the school year may affect whether the student will be promoted.

Family trips or vacation need to meet SPS criteria before being excused. Schools and parents/guardians are encouraged to develop educational plans for students to mitigate loss of instructional time caused by planned absences. To clarify the difference:

  • Going to another city, country or out of state to visit family or friends may not automatically be excused. Again, this is left up the discretion of the Principal.
  • If the trip is to be considered educational there has to be a plan in place for what the student will learn, what educational activities are to be accomplished, and how the student will report on his/her learning when he comes back. The plan could include language immersion (although this would not be excused by itself), visits to historic sites, taking photographs and creating a report based on all of this that the student present to the class or turns in to the teacher, or some other planned educational activity that the teacher and principal approve. The plan also should include how missed work will be made up – not that school assignments would necessarily be taken along.
  • A trip for a wedding or other family event is not automatically excused. Neither is a trip for the holidays that gets extended because of the distance traveled.
Pre-arranged Absences:
  1. A school sponsored pre-arranged absence form will be provided to the student from the Attendance Office.
  2. Students and parents/guardians must complete the form and must obtain classroom teachers’ signatures three days prior to the event.
  3. Teachers should mark this in their roll books.
  4. The student must return the completed form to the Principal for approval three days prior to the event.

Unexcused Absences

  • All other absences are considered unexcused, including absences caused by the student or parent oversleeping, student missing the bus, transportation problems, student needed for babysitting or translating for parents, student job requirements, disputes about student assignment, family vacations or trips during regular school days, etc.
  • Absences by long-term suspended or expelled students for whom space is available in the reentry program, but who do not enroll and attend, are unexcused.
  • Students entering a class more than 15 minutes after the scheduled start of class will be counted as an unexcused absence.

Definition of a Tardy

A tardy is defined as a student entering a class less than 15 minutes after it starts. Unexcused tardies must be recorded in the teacher’s roll book and in the Attendance Office.

  • When arriving late to school, students must get a tardy pass from the Attendance office and sign in to be admitted to class.
  • For late arrivals to be excused, a written excuse from parent/guardian is required within three (3) school days.
  • Students entering a class more than 15 minutes after the scheduled start of class will be counted as an absence.
  • Tardies may affect course grade and credit.

The Center School Attendance Policies

Grading Policy Related to Attendance

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate participation into their grading system. Participation may include points earned for being in class and on time.
Students will be notified of teachers’ participation grading policies in their syllabi.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to make up work for excused absences, school related absences such as field trips, or suspensions. The teacher’s syllabus will explain the makeup policy for that class.

Compulsory State Attendance Law – “BECCA” Bill

Parent/guardians of children at least eight years old and less than eighteen years old must have their children in school on a full-time basis or in an approved home instruction program. If a student has five (5) unexcused absences within a month or ten or more unexcused absences within a school year, the School District is required to file a petition in juvenile court directed toward the student, parent/guardian or both.

Truancy Office

Excessive excused absences and tardies have a serious and adverse effect on students’ academic progress as do unexcused absences. The Truancy Office will be paying close attention to students who exceed twenty (20) excused absences in a school year. Students will be subject to school-based and central interventions, and may be subject to a truancy petition. Students that have three unexcused absences in a month will be invited to a Truancy Conference with the Attendance Secretary.

For more information on what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence, see the Truancy Brochure on the Truancy Website and the Superintendent’s Attendance Procedures.

Parents/guardians may update their communication preferences at go.schoolmessenger.com at any time. (See SPS Communication Preferences for additional details.)

If an emancipated or appropriately aged student (18+ years) wishes to stop automated messages to other contacts relating to daily attendance they can send a request to attendance@seattleschools.org.

Requests must include the student’s first name, last name, student id, and date of birth; and the name(s) and relevant phone number(s) and/or email address(es) to remove from receiving messages.

  • Absenteeism or tardiness, especially in the first month of school, can predict poor attendance throughout the school year.
  • The first 20 days of school are particularly important for establishing good attendance habits.
  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not master course content at the same level as their peers.
  • Missing a single day in a block schedule is equivalent to missing 2 full days of instruction.
  • Absences can affect the whole class if the teacher has to slow down learning to help students catch up.
  • By being present at school, your student strengthens social skills and establishes habits that will transfer into the workplace.
  • Regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  • Reinforce the importance of attendance with students when school starts and throughout the school year.
  • Communicate with the staff at TCS about absences and any concerns.
  • Partner with TCS if your student is dealing with health concerns, transportation challenges, losing interest in school, struggling to complete assignments, or other personal challenges.