Overall Attendance Philosophy
Being at school matters ... a lot. You only have 720 days to be a Wildcat. Showing up every day helps build good habits that carry over into college and career. Students who get up (and show up) every day are more likely to repeat this pattern once they land a job or enroll in college. Research shows that missing 10% of school, or about 18 days per year, negatively affects a student's academic performance (Attendance Works). This section is devoted to helping students and parents understand Mount Si High School's attendance policies and procedures.
Parents with questions or concerns about their student’s attendance should log onto Family Access or call 425-831-0203 for a current status report. As another resource, parents can also sign up in Family Access (under parent notifications) to receive daily email notifications of their student’s absences.
It's all about the absences ...
Absence Excused: include illness, family emergencies, and medically related appointments, recognized community service activities approved by the School Board, juvenile court appearances, absence due to religious purposes, absences resulting from disciplinary actions or short term suspensions, and School Administrator approved pre-arranged family activities with parent permission (School Administrators reserve the right to not approve pre-arranged absences. Previous attendance patterns will be considered. Pre-arranged absences not approved by an administrator will be marked as unexcused and students will not be allowed to make up missing work).
Absence Unexcused: includes absences without an excuse (truancy/skipping/not administrator approved pre-arranged absences), oversleeping, when a student fails to submit a note or parent phone call within the time limit for reporting an absence which is 72 hours, and any other reason not listed as excused under “Excused Absences”. For more details, see “Acceptable Excuses” section.
Attendance Success Plan: When a student reaches certain thresholds of absences, the student and family will meet with counselor and administrator to develop this plan.
Attendance Forgery: Having someone other than a your legal guardian write or sign a note, or call in with the intent of excusing your absence. A forgery automatically creates an unexcused absence and will have discipline consequences in addition to attendance consequences.
Attendance Interventions: Measures taken by MSHS staff to assist students with reducing the number of accumulated absences. Also see later section labeled “Consequences” in the “Procedures” section.
Excessive Absences: a pattern of absences determined to be, after an investigation, unnecessary in nature (excused or unexcused). Appropriate attendance interventions and consequences will be administered based on a “Threshold” system.
Full Day Absence: missing the majority of periods or hours in a given school day or all of the school day.
Prior Permission to be Absent: All pre-arranged absences must include a Prior Permission form, which is available in the attendance office. The student is responsible for completing the form and returning it to the attendance office before departing for the absence. Part of this process is to obtain a School Administrator approval. Lack of administrator approval will result in unexcused absences being entered on student attendance records.
Single Period Absence: missing more than the first 5 minutes of the class period.
School-related absences: include in-school appointments and meetings, field trips, athletic trips, and suspensions. Students must obtain a field trip form from their teachers for planned and extended school-related absences, and they must have their forms signed by their teachers and their parents prior to departure.
State Mandatory Attendance Law--Becca Bill: According to RCW 28A.225, schools are required to petition the juvenile court on students who accumulate five unexcused absences in a calendar month or ten unexcused absences in a school year if the school district’s interventions have not been successful in eliminating unexcused absenteeism. All students will attend and be punctual at regularly scheduled classes unless officially excused.
Thresholds: Students who reach certain “Thresholds” of absences may be subject to being placed on various levels of contracts.
Truancy/Skipping: Any absence from class without parental/teacher knowledge and/or school approval. Skipping classes will result in progressive discipline. Unauthorized/misuse of hall passes may result in a “skip” being added to the student’s attendance total for that period.
Tardies: Any student arriving to class without an excused legitimate note after the bell and prior to 5 minutes into the class is considered tardy. Tardies are a disruption to the learning environment and will be handled as a disciplinary matter.
And then there are "Excessive Absences"
We run attendance reports weekly, and we look for patterns in student attendance. When we notice a student has missed 3 or more days in the year, they are flagged for review, and we verify their excused absences are valid. We then monitor their attendance for the remainder of the school year.
If, after review and investigation, the pattern of absences - excused or unexcused - is determined to be unnecessary in nature, they fall under the category of "excessive absences."
In this way, even excused absences can stack up and lead to Chronic Absences.
What about family vacations?
We strongly encourage families to take trips during designated non-school days. Students only have 180 days to receive instruction every year, and everyday counts. Missing more than the normally identified days off (school vacation such as winter or spring break) places an undue burden on both the student and school staff.
If parents must schedule family trips during school days, a Planed Absence form is required to be completed and submitted to avoid adverse academic impact. Please follow this process:
Visit the Attendance office to obtain the planned absence form.
At least 5 day prior to the absence, coordinate teacher acknowledgment of the absence (s) and collect any homework at teacher discretion.
Parent must sign the form
A school administrator must sign the form as an acknowledgement of the absent. The administrator will review student's attendance history and reserves the right to not approve the absence(s). Non-approved absences will be entered on the student record as unexcused.
Return prearranged absence form signed by all his/her teachers, parents and administrator to the Attendance Office.
The criteria listed above will determine whether the absence will be excused.
Students should ask for homework prior to absence, and at teacher discretion, homework may be due immediately upon return.
What if I have a legitimate reason for missing school? Am I done?
Absolutely not! Remember, the process of putting students on an attendance contract is only done after a thorough review and investigation of the individual student's circumstances. We realize things happen. We also realize some of our students miss more school than they should for - quite honestly - some pretty silly reasons (oversleeping, coming to school but missing class, etc.) . Again, we're hoping to help students build positive habits which will translate over into the workforce and college. Our purpose is to help both students and parents proactively support student attendance. Because, let's face it, attendance matters!