Good school attendance is very important at Thomas Starr King MS. We expect all of our students to be in school and on time everyday. As we begin this school year we want to continue to encourage our students to do well academically and there is a very strong correlation between academics and school attendance. So far this school year we have reached an all time high with a 97.47 % in seat attendance.

Our attendance policy is based on California law that states that all students between the ages of 6-18 years are subject to compulsory education. This means that students should only be absent or late with excusable absences. Excusable absences are as follows: Medical Illness or injury, doctors appointment, exclusion by school nurse, funeral of immediate family member (1 day in state and 3 days out of state), court appearance for student, and religious holiday, retreat or ceremony with prior principal approval. Only those students who have excused absences are allowed to complete make-up assignments and tests.

Some unexcused absences that we see are: vacations, family emergencies, excessive unverified illness, babysitting, in care of parent, running errands for family, inclement weather, or missed bus. We see a rise in unexcused absences during the months of November, December, and January. As the holidays are approaching we ask that you take the school calendar into consideration when making holiday plans. The calendar is available online on our district website and is available in the attendance office.
Students with good attendance are shown to have higher grades, higher test scores, and are more likely to graduate from high school than those students that have poor attendance. At Thomas Starr King MS we like to recognize our students by giving monthly and semester incentives for perfect attendance. For example, in the month of September we had 875 students receive popcorn for perfect attendance and we also gave 150 King T-shirts to those students with spring perfect attendance.

This school year the school district is implementing automated truancy letters. Therefore if a student has 3 or more unexcused or uncleared absences, you will receive a letter. This is why it is important for parents to make sure that students are clearing their absences with the attendance office the day that they return from an absence. The school will always call when a student is absent or tardy, which is why it is very important to make sure that we have your correct contact information.

After 5 or more absences that are not verified by a doctor, school nurse, or prior principal approval, the student and parent are invited to a meeting with school officials in regards to attendance policy and laws. This may lead to other consequences such as having a Student Attendance Review Board meeting, court, and/or fines. The best way to prevent these consequences from occurring is to try and avoid unexcused absences.

Ways to avoid unexcused absences:

1) Having clear morning routines-time for getting up, getting ready, and traveling to school

2) Having clear evening routines- doing homework, going to sleep between 8-9 p.m. and supervising that television, computers and telephones are not being used after bedtime

3) Plan for coming to school- clear plan on how the student will get to school on time every morning

4) Creating “back-up” systems-others that can support you that are different from those in your plan

5) Self-care best practices for staying healthy - getting yearly medical physicals, sleeping 8-9 hours, healthy diet and being in tune with your child to be aware of any mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, etc and getting them the help they need.