Students are expected to attend school every day. Children who miss school miss out on opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens and valued employees. There is a clear connection between student attendance and student performance in school. This is especially true for English Learners in terms of their gains on the English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics portions of the California Standards Tests (CST).
Student absences also affect school budgets. Schools and school districts get a significant amount of their funding based upon the number of students who actually attend school each day. This is called Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Potential losses in ADA revenue affect all students because they can lead to budget cuts affecting a variety of programs, as well as individual schools. To learn more, visit the district"s Calculating ADA page.
All children between 6 and 18 years of age are required by California’s Education Code to attend school, and their parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance. The law also states that a student’s refusal to attend school regularly can result in referral to the community-based School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Juvenile Probation, or the Juvenile Court System. Additionally, parents who fail to compel their child’s attendance may face criminal prosecution and penalties.
The only absences that are excused as mandated by the State of California are those due to illness, medical or dental appointments, funeral services and bereavement, court appearances, family emergencies, Independent Study Contracts (if completed), or religious holidays or ceremonies.
Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, those due to oversleeping, transportation issues, going on vacation, or similar situations.
For guidance on when to keep your child home from school due to illness, see the Student Health page.
If your child will be absent from school for five or more days, please contact the school office at least one week ahead and make arrangements for a short-term Contract for Independent Study (CIS) for the absence period. Academic assignments will then be given to the student to complete during the absence. When the student returns and turns in the successfully completed assignments, he/she will be given credit for the missed days. For attendance purposes, they will not be considered unexcused absences. Without the contract, however, the absence would be unexcused. Independent study contracts are not available for students receiving special education support.