With the statewide focus on increasing student learning time, there are many resources available to parents and schools for improving school attendance. Resources recommend from the California Department of Education Include:
Make Every Day Count. This link contains information for schools on improving attendance.
September is Attendance Awareness Month!
Positive, daily attendance is essential for student learning and correlates with student success. Missing school equates to missed learning opportunities. Positive school attendance also equates to being able to fund the highest quality education for all students while absences hurt our schools by decreasing state revenues we rely on to provide the highest quality education.
Simi Valley Schools believe that school connectedness is the essential element in keeping kids engaged in school, interested in learning, and attending on difficult days. Thus, most of our efforts in our elementary and secondary programs is to connect our students to our school staff and programs by providing all schools as schools of choice, focusing on positive, connected relationships within a school, and meeting students individual challenges to address them.
In addition to this work, Simi Valley Schools is served by School Innovations and Advocacy, to connect with students who are most "at risk" of failure or dropping out as demonstrated by poor attendance, in as early as elementary school. This service notifies families, via letter, when their student is demonstrating poor attendance and truancy.
Letters include the following:
Excessive Excused Absence letters notify a parent, up to two times, when a child has more than 12 excused absences within a school year. After 12 absences, the State of California, requires a doctor's note with each illness excuse. Other valid excuses are also recognized and identified in the Education Code.
Truancy notices are generated when a student has 3 or more unverified absence or an excuse which is not considered valid. Truancy can result when a parent does not notify the school of a valid excuse. The state of California does not recognize vacation, transportation "emergencies", or funerals more than three days when out-of-state. Upon the second Notice of Truancy, school staff connect with families to help:
- Identify the reason or problem interfering with attendance to problem solve
- Offer assistance to families for improving attendance, which includes a School Attendance Review Team (SART) Meeting
- Closely monitor the students' attendance for improvement
School Attendance Review Board (SARB). Upon the third and final Notice of Truancy, both parents and the student are at risk of a SARB Meeting. These meetings include a variety of community resource leaders and are held at the Simi Valley Police Department. At the SARB, both the parent and student may receive a citation or arrest at or after the SARB if truancy continues. SARB will also try to provide families with the referrals to community resources who can support positive attendance, every day. Truancy citations come with a fine and charge to parent, student or both, if measures taken after the second notification do not resolve the attendance problem and for which there is not valid excuses per the California Education Code.
Should you have specific questions about your child, contact your school site principal. For general questions about our Excessive Excused Absence, Truancy Notices, or SART/SARB, contact Wendy Mayea, Assistant Director Student Support via e-mail or at (805) 306-4500 x4310.
On July 25, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1593 which makes a student’s attendance at a naturalization ceremony an excused absence.
On Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy
“The old saw is true: a big part of success is showing up. To learn in school, children need to be in school and to stay in school,” “Poor attendance leads to poor work, poor grades-and eventually poor career prospects. Regular attendance is essential for success in school and in life.” - Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.