Absences and Tardiness

Attendance Tardiness Policy: the BECCA Law

THE COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE LAW OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON requires students to regularly and punctually attend school and holds parents and schools accountable for attendance. A section of this legal code is known as the Becca Bill, named after the tragic case of a runaway teen. The goal of this bill is to improve school attendance and reduce unexcused absences and tardiness.

EXCUSED ABSENCES, TARDIES, EARLY DISMISSALS:

Under district policy, an excused absence, tardy, or early dismissal is one in which the parent, by phone call or note, presents a reason for non-attendance. Notification must be within two school days of the child's return to school, otherwise the absence is recorded as unexcused. The acceptable reasons for an excused absence or tardy include:

Please note: A parent excusing a child's absence, tardy, or early dismissal does not make it 'excused' under district policy or state law. The absence must meet one of the criteria above. School personnel will determine if an absence is excused (see reasons above) or unexcused (overslept, missed bus, etc.) in accordance with district policy and state law.

HOW ABSENCES AND TARDIES ARE RECORDED

If a student misses

it is recorded as

Any part of the school day between 9:20 and 10:19

Tardy*

(3 tardies = 1 absence)

Any part of the school day between 10:20 and 12:20

Half-day morning absence

Any part of the school day between 12:20 and 2:49

Half-day afternoon absence

Any part of the school day between 2:50 and 3:50

Early dismissal**

The entire day of school

Full day absence

* Students arriving late to school should check in at the main office to avoid being counted as absent.

** Early dismissals are included in the Tardy count on student report cards.

HOW PARENTS CAN HELP

Report absences and tardies on the attendance line at 425-431-7854 (option #1) prior to 9:00 AM on the morning they occur. This feature is available 24 hours a day. Please record the child's name, teacher's name and the reason for the absence. In the event that our office staff does not hear from a parent concerning an absent student, we will attempt to make contact with the parents at the telephone numbers listed on the student record. This procedure insures the safety of your student if he or she does not arrive at school. If we are unable to contact anyone, the absence is recorded as unexcused unless we receive a note within two days of the child's return to school.

  • Verification of student absences or tardies with a note helps us check on truancy and communicable disease trends. It is the responsibility of individual parents to ensure that your child's absence or tardy is excused within two days of each occurrence.
  • If your child has a doctor, dental, or other appointment that cannot be scheduled outside the school day, please send a note with the child the morning of the appointment. Students receiving an early release must be signed out through the main office.
  • Help your child arrive at the recommended arrival time of 9:10 AM.
  • Please keep your child at home if he or she has had a fever in the last 24 hours. We appreciate your child's attendance when healthy.

VACATIONS:

Vacations require prior approval of the principal. We encourage families to schedule vacations at times when school is not in session. A Request for Excused Absence Form is available on our website or in the main office. This form should be submitted 10 days prior to the absence. The classroom teacher may recommend approval if:​

  1. The student is at grade-level standard
  2. Appropriate arrangements have been made by parents to minimize interruption to learning.
Final decision is made by the principal. If the vacation request is not excused, teachers will notify parents for the reason. Families can then make other arrangements, such as having the student stay with a relative or neighbor, or rescheduling the vacation.

APPOINTMENTS:

We encourage families to schedule all appointments outside school hours, during school breaks, or outside of school on early release days. If that is not possible, we request the following;

If your child will arrive late call the attendance line at 425-431-7854 (option #1) prior to 9:00 AM on the morning it occurs. Report the child's name, your name, the teacher's name, and the reason for the absence.

If your child needs to be dismissed early or taken out of school for a period of time send a written excuse to the teacher by that morning. This allows the teacher to plan for the absence. Check in at the main office and sign your child out. Office staff will call the student down to the office to meet you.

Action Steps for Unapproved Absences:

In accordance with state law, all students will attend and be punctual at regularly scheduled classes unless officially excused. The 'Becca Bill' also requires the district to:

  1. Schedule a conference with parents after the second unexcused absence.
  2. File a petition with the county court after the seventh unexcused absence.
  3. Report to the court any additional absences which may occur after the first referral.

Tardiness and Early Dismissals:

Frequent tardiness and early dismissals of even a few minutes clearly interfere with an individual student's performance. Reducing tardiness helps teachers get the morning learning activities underway for all students without interruptions or having to spend time helping the late arrivals to 'catch up.' Early dismissals interfere with instructional time and students may miss important information during the day's wrap-up, including homework assignments.

  • To be excused, a tardy or early dismissal must meet the same general criteria as an excused absence.
  • Tardiness or early dismissals clearly cue to circumstances beyond a parent or student's control (such as a late bus) will be automatically excused.

If there is a pattern of frequent unexcused tardies or early dismissals, Brier Elementary will send a letter to the parent detailing the occurrences. The intent is to work together to find possible solutions.

Last Modified on August 23, 2012

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