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• General Absences
Children cannot learn if they are not in school. Children learn early about being on time and not missing school. For students 6 to 18 years old, daily school attendance is compulsory. Daily school attendance improves student achievement. Teach your child to be on time and that school attendance is an important family value.
It is also important that you know the state only awards funding to school districts for actual attendance. The state no longer funds districts for the excused absences listed below. Always review the school calendar and plan activities and vacations during days off. No pupil whose attendance is excused shall have grades or academic credit lost if assignments and tests can be reasonably completed.
Other attendance reports, such as truancy, still rely on excused and unexcused absences. There are legal consequences if your child misses too much school. You must send a note and/or phone the school within 72 hours to clear any excusable absences. Unexcused absences result in a recorded truancy.
Notwithstanding E.C. 48200, a pupil shall be excused from school when the absence is:
Due to his or her illness.
Due to quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer.
For the purpose of having medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic services rendered.
For the purpose of attending the funeral services of a member of his or her immediate family, so long as the absence is not more than one day if the service is conducted in California and not more than three days if the service is conducted outside California.
For the purpose of jury duty in the manner provided for by law.
Due to the illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child of whom the pupil is the custodial parent.
For justifiable personal reasons, including, but not limited to, an appearance in court, attendance at a funeral service, observance of a holiday or ceremony of his or her religion, attendance at religious retreats, attendance at an employment conference, or attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization. When the pupil’s absence has been requested in writing by the parent or guardian and approved by the principal or a designated representative pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board.
For any student 16 years old or older, with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, for the purposes of serving as a member of a precinct board for an election pursuant to Sec. 12302 of the Elections Code.
For the purpose of spending time with a member of the pupil's immediate family, who is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined in EC 49701, and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from, deployment to a combat zone or combat support position. Absences granted pursuant to this paragraph shall be granted for a period of time to be determined at the discretion of the superintendent of the school district.
Participation in religious instruction or exercises in accordance with district policy.
A pupil absent from school under this section shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit thereof. The teacher of any class from which a pupil is absent shall determine the tests and assignments, which shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the pupil missed during the absence.
For purposes of this section, attendance at religious retreats shall not exceed four hours per semester.
Absences pursuant to this section are deemed to be absences in computing average daily attendance and shall not generate state apportionment payments.
"Immediate family," as used in this section, has the same meaning as that set forth in Section 45194, except that references therein to "employee" shall be deemed to be references to "pupil." [EC 46014, 48205]
The state defines three levels of truancy, each carrying more severe penalties for both the student and the parents or guardians. The three are truant, chronic truant and habitual truant.
Truant: A student is truant after missing three days of school or three 30-minute periods without a valid excuse.
Habitual Truant: If a student is truant three or more times in a school year and an effort is made to meet with parents, then the student is a habitual truant.
Chronic Truant: A chronically truant student has missed 10 percent or more school days in a school year.
Interventions: Students who are habitually truant, miss a lot of school or disorderly can be referred to a student attendance review board (SARB), a district attorney mediation program, or the county probation department. Through these programs the student can be given guidance to meet special needs for improving attendance or improving school behavior. The goal is to intervene before a student enters the juvenile justice system or drops out.
Student Penalties: First truancy may result in a one-day weekend class. Second truancy may be a written warning from a peace officer that remains in the student’s records. Third truancy may result in assignment to an after-school or weekend program, or a SARB or district attorney program. A fourth truancy may be result in a chance to improve attendance, but can also result in the student being placed within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a ward of the court. Other actions may include required community service, payment of a fine of $50, attend a truancy mediation program, and loss of driving privileges. A finding of truancy may be handled through available community services.
Parent Penalties: In Education Code; first conviction – $100 fine; second conviction – $200 fine; third – up to $500 fine. In Penal Code; parents of elementary students who are chronic truants face a $2,000 fine or imprisonment up to a year or both. They may also be scheduled to meet regularly with district staff and/or referred for help. It is recommended that the parent or guardian attend classes at school with the student for one day. [EC 48260, 48260.5, 48261, 48262, 48263, 48263.5, 48263.6, 48264.5, 48291, 48293, 48320; PC 270.1, 830.1; WIC 256, 258, 601.3; VC 13202.7]
• Attendance Options
The governing board annually reviews attendance options including how students may attend a district school outside their attendance area (intradistrict). This district has non-arbitrary rules explaining how students may apply, be accepted or denied transfer to district schools. Many districts, by agreement, also allow the transfer of students from or to other districts (interdistrict). Victims of bullying or violence are given preference in interdistrict transfers. In some cases the district must provide transportation. Students attending “persistently dangerous” schools can transfer and enroll in a safe school. Upon enrollment or transfer, principals are urged to check missing children information. Further information about residency, attendance options, special program options, etc. will be provided by the California Department of Education. [EC 46600, 48204, 48206.3, 48301, 48306, 48980, 49068; NCLB]
Although students generally must attend school in the district where their residency has been established, the Governing Board recognizes justifiable reasons for interdistrict transfers. Upon request, the Superintendent or designee may accept students from other districts and may also allow students who live within the district to transfer out.
The Board is committed to providing a quality education for all district students to include residents and non-resident transfers and will provide fair and consistent treatment for students and parents/guardians regardless of their residence or transfer status. All applications for an interdistrict transfer permit will be treated in a fair and consistent manner. No application will be denied based on the race, color, national origin, sex, or disability of the student.
Approval of permits for all students, including students needing specialized programs, such as GATE, special education, ELD, etc., shall rest at the district and be contingent upon space availability and the balancing of class size. Calculation of space availability for all students shall be based on school site capacities as well as, and in addition to, computations of space availability in specialized programs (if applicable).
Students residing within district boundaries will be given enrollment priority over nonresident students. [BP 5117; EC 46600-46611,46621, 48204, 48915, 48915.1, 48918, 48980, 52317]
The Governing Board desires to provide enrollment options that meet the diverse needs, potential and interests of district students and shall annually review these options.
The Superintendent shall establish attendance capacities at school sites annually and recommend to the Governing Board any changes in school attendance boundaries in order to maintain proportionately appropriate enrollment balances. The Superintendent or designee shall establish a random, unbiased selection process for the admission of students from outside a school's attendance area. Students shall be eligible for intradistrict transfers only at sites where space is available. In accordance with law, no student currently residing within a school's attendance area and attending a school site shall be displaced by another transfer student. [EC 35160.5]
Parents/guardians of each school-age child who are district residents may select the school the child attends, regardless of his/her residence within the district, except that the district retains the authority to maintain appropriate enrollment and ethnic balances between schools, and to comply with any applicable discrimination plan. [EC 35160.5]
Parents/guardians of a student displaced from a school because of a change in school attendance boundaries may apply for an intradistrict transfer and will be given first priority in the lottery procedures pending space availability. The priority will be given only in the school year in which the boundary change took place.
It is the intent of the Governing Board that students will continue at the selected site until the student matriculates, the student no longer meets residency requirements, the parent/guardian or district chooses to enroll the student in a different school within district boundaries, or for programmatic reasons such as IEP requirements, behavioral adjustment, or violation of permit conditions regarding conduct, scholarship or attendance. Once enrolled, a student shall not have to apply for readmission.
Notifications will be sent to parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year describing local attendance options available in the district. [BP 5116.1; EC 35160.5, 35291, 35351, 48980]
• Attendance Where Caregiver Resides
If your child lives in the home of a caregiving adult, as defined by law, or a foster home your child may attend the school district in which that residence is located. Execution of an affidavit under penalty of perjury pursuant to the Family Code by the caregiving adult is required to determine that your child lives in the caregiver’s home. [EC 48204(a), 48980(h); FC 6550-6552]
• Attendance in District in Which Parent/Guardian is Employed
Your child may have the option of attending school in the school district where you or your spouse are employed for at least 10 hours per week. If interested, call the school office for information. [EC 48204(b), 48980(i)]
• Individualized Instruction
If your child has a temporary disability preventing him/her from attending regular classes, the district will provide individual instruction when possible. [EC 48206.3, 48980(b)]
• Pupils in Hospitals Outside of School District
If, due to a temporary disability, your child is in a hospital or other residential health facility, which is located outside your school district, he/she may be eligible to attend the school district in which the hospital is located. [EC 48207] If this situation should arise, you should notify both the district where you reside and where the hospital is located so that individualized instruction, if possible, can be provided. [EC 48208]
• Leaving School at Lunch Time
“The governing board of the Arcadia Unified School District, pursuant to Section 44808.5 of the Education Code, has decided to permit pupils enrolled at Arcadia High School to leave the school grounds during the lunch period. Neither the school district nor any officer or employee thereof shall be liable for the conduct or safety of any pupil during such time as the pupil has left the school grounds pursuant to this section.” The district permits students in grade 12 this privilege. Students are responsible for following the district rules and the law. Students in grades K through 11 may not leave campus. [BP 5112.5; EC 44808.5]
• Minimum Days/Pupil Free Staff Development Days
If your child will be affected by minimum days or staff development days, you will receive at least one month’s notice. The dates that were known at press time are printed in the calendar in this booklet. [EC 48980(c)]
• Parental consequences for non-attendance
Any parent or guardian who fails to ensure their student’s attendance may be guilty of an infraction and can be punished as follows: $100 for first conviction; $250 for second conviction; $500 for third conviction; Rather than a fine a parent or guardian may be placed in parent education or counseling program; $1,000 for willful violation of a court order directing that student must be enrolled in school or program. [EC 48293]
• Notice of Alternative Schools
California state law authorizes all school districts to provide for alternative schools. Section 58500 of the Education Code defines alternative school as a school or separate class group within a school which is operated in a manner designed to: (a) Maximize the opportunity for students to develop the positive values of self-reliance, initiative, kindness, spontaneity, resourcefulness, courage, creativity, responsibility, and joy. (b) Recognize that the best learning takes place when the student learns because of his desire to learn. (c) Maintain a learning situation maximizing student self-motivation and encouraging the student in his own time to follow his own interests. These interests may be conceived by him totally and independently or may result in whole or in part from a presentation by his teachers of choices of learning projects. (d) Maximize the opportunity for teachers, parents and students to cooperatively develop the learning process and its subject matter. This opportunity shall be a continuous, permanent process. (e) Maximize the opportunity for the students, teachers, and parents to continuously react to the changing world, including but not limited to the community in which the school is located.
In the event any parent, pupil, or teacher is interested in further information concerning alternative schools, the county superintendent of schools, the administrative office of this district, and the principal's office in each attendance unit have copies of the law available for your information. This law particularly authorizes interested persons to request the governing board of the district to establish alternative school programs in each district. [EC 58501]
Please read all pages and then print signature sheet. Page 2 of 16