Attendance

We want your child to be successful and to feel a part of WCH! Your child needs to be at school by 9:05 every day and be ready to learn. Attendance every day is one of the best ways for your child to be successful in school. When your child is absent or late for school, it has an impact on their achievement. Students with good attendance perform better on assessments than students with poor attendance. Our school wide goal is for students to have no more than one absence per month. Plus no more than one tardy or early pick up per month. We expect students to be in school, on time, every day unless they are ill.

Washington State law requires school aged children under the age of 18 years to attend school on a regular basis. WCH procedures are based on the Highline School District attendance policy (# 3122). All students are expected to attend all assigned classes each day. Attendance is important because absences of any type (excused or unexcused) dramatically decreases a student’s ability to graduate on time. Absent or late students miss valuable coursework and instruction, and may fall behind in their education. This is true even for excused absences. Participation in transfers to WCH and dual language programs is dependent upon good attendance. Families are encouraged to not schedule appointments, vacations, or other events at times that would cause students to be absent from school. Students need to be at school on time to walk into the classroom when the 9:05a.m.bell rings. This gives students time to get to their classroom and be prepared to start the day.

Excused Absences

Regular school attendance is necessary for mastery of the educational program provided to students. Students may need to be absent from class. 

The following are valid excuses for absences: a) Illness, health condition or medical appointment for the student b) Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family; c) Religious or cultural purpose including observance of religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction d) Court, judicial proceeding e) Absence resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action (e.g. suspension or expulsion). The Principal or designee has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria to be deemed an excused absence. An absence may not be considered excused if it causes a serious adverse effect on the student's educational progress. 

When a student has two or more excused absences the school will call the family and/or arrange a meeting to talk about the absences. See the WCH Progressive Attendance Plan for details. The goal of this communication and meetings is to identify the barriers to the student’s regular attendance, and the supports and resources that may be available to help the family to ensure the student regularly attends school.

Tardies

Tardy is defined as being late to school. The doors of the school open at 9:05 am. Students who arrive after 9:10 will receive a tardy slip and will provide a reason for being tardy. All teachers shall inform their class of the building definition of “being late to school, class, or an activity.” We strongly discourage families from taking vacations during school days. Every absence has an impact on your child and their classroom, and extended absences have been shown to have a negative impact on a student’s education. In addition, there is no expectation that teachers provide work for students during a planned absence. We strongly discourage you making appointments during the school day. Please make them after school or on a non-school day. Excessive tardies are disruptive to a child’s education. In order to be sure that your child is on time and ready to begin class at 9:10, please arrive no later than 9:05 am. Every 10 unexcused tardies will equal an unexcused absence. These unexcused absences will be treated like all other unexcused absences. Early pick-up is when any student who leaves the school before 3:40 pm. This release happens through the office and the parent signs the student out. This time is lost instructional time and will be addressed in the same manner as tardies. Early pick-up will not be possible in the last 15 minutes of the day (3:25-3:40) as pick-up procedures take 15 minutes. 

Students who have 3 tardies or 3 early pick-ups will receive a letter reminding families of the scheduled start and end times of school. See the WCH Progressive Attendance Plan for details. When a student has 10 days of tardies or early pick-up the time will be converted to equal one unexcused absence. See the WCH Progressive Attendance Plan for details.

Unexcused Absences

Any absence from school for the majority of hours is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence. This includes absences for which no excuse is ever provided. Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, the following: no call or written response from the parent; birthday parties; vacation; appointment for person other than the student; missed bus or late ride; parent illness; car problems; errands; overslept; taking a sibling to school; babysitting; translating for a family member. The school shall telephone or do a robo call when a student has unexcused absence. A phone conference with the parent/guardian and, when appropriate, the student, shall be held after two unexcused absences. After 5 unexcused absences the school will contact the parent to arrange a meeting with an administrator or to attend an attendance success workshop. 

Field Trips

Field trips are an extension of the classroom and students must attend. When a family decides a student cannot attend a field trip, the student is expected to be in school.

Attendance Interventions

Frequent absences and tardies will be addressed by the WCH Truancy Team. The school may take a variety of actions to help improve a student’s attendance and timeliness. If the intervention and incentives and the agreements made with families are not successful then the school must file a truancy petition through the district and with the King County court. Refer to the district policy for procedures related to a truancy petition.