October 7, 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As we embark on another exciting school year with your students, I would like to remind you of the importance of attendance. Visiting the classrooms throughout the District, I continue to be amazed by the level of instruction, rich discussions and valuable learning opportunities in which students are engaged. When students are absent from school, they are missing these powerful learning experiences.
The Del Mar Union School District recognizes that regular school attendance plays a key role in student achievement. In accordance with California Education Code, each child between the ages of 6 and 18 is subject to compulsory full-time education. Although exemptions to compulsory attendance may be granted in rare circumstances, as allowed by law, it is the responsibility of the District to ensure that students attend school regularly. All schools in the District will continue to participate in consistent monitoring of student attendance in order to confirm compliance with compulsory attendance laws.
While we acknowledge that students must stay home when they are sick and that some absences are unavoidable, every attempt should be made to ensure that students attend school daily. We encourage parents to restrict travel and family vacations to our scheduled school breaks. However, in the event that your student needs to be absent from school for more than five days, please contact your child’s principal prior to the absence. Your child’s principal will discuss possible options and determine whether or not the absence will be excused.
Regardless of whether an absence is excused or unexcused, any absence results in the loss of valuable instruction. Allowing work to be completed at home or independently is never a replacement for classroom instruction and unique shared learning experiences. We appreciate your support of the District’s goal to improve student attendance. With your collaboration, we will create an extraordinary school experience for all of our students.
Jenni Huh, Director of Student Services
Per Administrative Regulation 5113, a student’s absence shall be excused for the following reasons:
- Personal illness (Education Code 48205)
- Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer (Education Code 48205)
- Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic appointments (Education Code 48205)
- Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family (Education Code48205)
- Excused absence in this instance shall be limited to one day if the service is conducted in California or three days if the service is conducted out of state. (Education Code 48205)
- “Immediate family” means the student’s parent/guardian, brother or sister, grandparent, or any other relative living in the student’s household (Education Code 48205)
- Upon advance written request by the parent/guardian and the approval of the principal or designee, justifiable reasons including but not limited to: (Education Code48205)
- Appearance in court
- Attendance at a funeral service
- Observation of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion
- Attendance at religious retreats not to exceed four hours per semester
- To spend time with an immediate family member who is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined in Education Code 49701, and has been called to duty for deployment to a combat zone or a combat support position or is on leave from or has immediately returned from such deployment.
- Attendance at a naturalization ceremony to become a United States citizen (Education Code 48205)
- Participation in religious instruction or to receive moral and religious instruction at the student’s place of worship or other suitable place away from school (Education Code 46014), provided that:
- The student shall attend at least the minimum school day
- The student shall be excused for this purpose on no more than four days per school month.
- The district has received prior written consent of the parent/guardian
- Work in the entertainment or allied industry. Such absence shall be excused provided that the student holds a work permit authorizing such work and is absent for a period of not more than five consecutive days and up to five absences per school year. For absences of more than five consecutive days or five absences per school year, excusal of such absences is approved or denied at the principal's discretion. (Education Code 48225.5)
- Participation with a nonprofit performing arts organization in a performance for a public school audience. A student may be excused for up to five absences per school year provided that the student’s parent/guardian provides a written explanation of such absence to the school.
Short-Term Independent Study
If your student will be gone between 5 and 20 school days for a planned trip, he/she should set up a short-term independent study contract with the school. To set up this contract, contact the school office at least five days prior to the start of the extended absence.
School Attendance Review Board
The Del Mar Union School District recognizes regular school attendance plays a key role in student achievement. California Education Code 48200 calls for each child between the ages of 6 and 18 to be subject to compulsory full-time education. Although exemptions to compulsory attendance may be granted in rare circumstances, as allowed by law, it is the responsibility of the District to ensure that students attend school regularly.
In this effort, the District affirms compliance with compulsory attendance laws by providing this information on accountability practices for student attendance. All schools within the Del Mar Union School District will participate in consistent monitoring of student attendance. The student information system has been programmed to generate attendance letters for individual students at prescribed intervals.
After three unexcused absences, unresolved absences, or unexcused tardies of more than 30 minutes, a letter will be sent to the home to make families aware of the attendance problem. After four unexcused absences, unresolved absences, or unexcused tardies of more than 30 minutes, a second letter will be sent to the home asking parents to attend a School Attendance Review Team (SART) meeting at the school. After five unexcused absences, unresolved absences, or unexcused tardies of more than 30 minutes, a third letter will be sent home informing parents that the student will be referred to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB). All students will be afforded the three-letter process, regardless of current attendance status. This will ensure each student maximum opportunity to correct problematic patterns of attendance.
Del Mar Union School District partners with the San Dieguito Union High School District for SARB meetings. Meetings are scheduled monthly and, once referred, families are required by law to attend. The SARB supports schools by involving families in attempting to resolve student attendance problems. Individual cases are heard by a panel of professionals and may include law enforcement, a San Diego County Office of Education Child Welfare Officer, and District staff.
Please feel free to contact Director of Student Services, Jenni Huh, at (858)755-9301 ext. 3694 with questions or concerns.