- Yakima School District
- Student Engagement
Yakima School District works to ensure that all students fully benefit from their education by attending school regularly. Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit at any age, but the earlier the better so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college and at work.
Research shows that missing 2-3 days a month can result in:
- 3rd-grade students falling behind in reading
- 6th-grade students failing courses
- teens dropping out of high school
Sporadic absences matter. Just one or two days a month can add up before you know it!
If you are facing challenges related to health care, unstable housing, transportation or lack of food, your school can help. We can connect you to services for the whole family.
- Absences are a signal that students might need additional supports & can highlight inequities
- The purpose of taking daily attendance is to provide educators with meaningful data that signals when a student is missing instructional time
- Absences should not be used in a punitive manner; they give us an opportunity to respond proactively to support students to re-engage
- Attendance is a critical first step towards engagement and mastery; there can be no learning without it
- Families and students need flexibility to attend or participate in learning activities outside of typical school hours
PARTICIPATION DURING REMOTE LEARNING
We recognize that family schedules vary, and we will give maximum flexibility in counting attendance.
- attended Google Meet
- logged into LMS, Canvas or Google Classroom
- met virtually with a classroom teacher or special education teacher
- had daily interaction with teacher(s) to acknowledge attendance (including messages, interactions via emails, phone conversation, or video chats)
- evidence of participation in a task or assignment.
If a student does not engage or demonstrate participation in any way, the student would be marked as absent. No tardies will be issued.
Regular school attendance is necessary for mastery of the educational program provided to students of the district. At times, students may be absent from class or not able to participate remotely. School staff will keep a record of absence and tardiness, including a record of excuse statements submitted by a parent/guardian, or in certain cases, students, to document a student’s excused absences.
The following principles will govern the development and administration of attendance procedures within the district:
A. The following are valid excuses for absences:
1. Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including, but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible;
2. Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;
3. Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
4. Court, judicial proceeding, court-ordered activity, or jury service;
5. Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
6. State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
7. Absence directly related to the student's homeless or foster care/dependency status;
8. Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
9. Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to chapter 392- 400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying "course of study" activities as defined in WAC 392-121-107;
10. Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying;
11. Absences due to a student's migrant status; and
12. An approved activity that is consistent with district policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian, or emancipated youth.
13. Absences related to the student's illness, health condition, or medical appointments due to COVID19;
14. Absences related to caring for a family member who has an illness, health condition, or medical appointment due to COVID-19;
15. Absences related to the student's employment or other family obligations during regularly scheduled school hours that are temporarily necessary due to COVID-19 until other arrangements can be made, including placement in a more flexible education program;
16. Absences due to the student's parent's work schedule or other obligations during regularly scheduled school hours, until other arrangements can be made;
17. Absences due to the student's lack of necessary instructional tools, including internet broadband access or connectivity; and
18. Other COVID-19 related circumstances as determined between school and parent or emancipated youth.
NEW STATE LAWS
It is important that you understand our 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 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program.
- If your student has two unexcused absences in one month, state law 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.
- In elementary school after five excused absences in any month, or ten or more excused absences in the school year, the school district is required to contact you to schedule a conference at a mutually agreeable, reasonable time with at least one district employee, to identify the barriers and supports available to you and your student. 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. If your student continues to be truant you may need to go to court.
YAKIMA SCHOOL DISTTRICT ATTENDANCE POLICY (Updated Sept. 2020)
Communicate with the School
- Be aware of the attendance policy at your child's school and check on your child's attendance to make sure he or she does not become chronically absent.
- If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to your child's teacher, school counselor, or principal about working together to make a plan to provide supports.
- Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from school staff, after-school program staff, or community agencies if you are having trouble getting your child to attend school--supporting regular attendance is a team effort!
HELPING YOUR CHILD
- Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
- Prepare for school the night before, finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations.
- 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.
ATTENDANCE GUIDE FOR WA STATE FAMILIES