Why being in school matters

When it comes to learning, every single school day counts. Research shows that attendance plays an important role in academic success, which affects success in life. Simply put, students must attend school in order to benefit from it.

Just two missed days of school every month, for any reason, can cause a child to suffer academically and decrease the chances that he or she will graduate. Absences add up—and subtract from learning.

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics students standing in the entryway of the school.

The following are valid excuses for absences and tardiness:

  • Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including, but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible;
  • Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;
  • Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
  • Court, judicial proceeding, court-ordered activity, or jury service;
  • Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
  • State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
  • Absence directly related to the student’s homeless or foster care/dependency status;
  • Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
  • Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to chapter 392-400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying “course of study” activities as defined in WAC 392-121-107;
  • Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying;
  • Absences due to a student’s migrant status; and
  • An approved activity that is consistent with district policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian, or emancipated youth.

All other absences will be considered unexcused and can affect a student’s grades. It may result in a petition being filed in juvenile court for truancy (Please refer to your child’s individual school student handbook).

Absences must be excused by a parent within three days. It is the responsibility of the student or parent to arrange for any makeup work.

You can find additional information on absences here.

The school district will take the following action related to unexcused absences.

  1. On the first unexcused absence in any month, the school will notify the parent by phone or in writing of the student’s absence and of potential consequences for further unexcused absences.
  2. After three (3) unexcused absences within any month of the current school year, a conference will be held between the principal, student and parent to analyze the causes of the student’s absenteeism. If a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference is scheduled to take place within thirty (30) days of the third (3rd) unexcused absence, the district may schedule the attendance conference on the same day. If the parent/guardian does not attend the scheduled conference, the conference may be conducted with the student and principal. However, the parent will be notified of the steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the student’s absences.
  3. Not later than the student’s fifth (5th) unexcused absence in a month the district will enter into an agreement with the student and parents that establishes school attendance requirements, refer the student to a community truancy board or file a petition and affidavit with the juvenile court alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010.
  4. At some point after the second (2nd) and before the fifth (5th) unexcused absence, the district will take data-informed steps to eliminate or reduce the student’s absences. These steps will include application of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students (WARNS) or other assessment by the district’s designated employee, and enter into an agreement with the student and parents/guardians that establishes school attendance requirements.
  5. Not later than a student’s seventh (7th) unexcused absence within any month during the current school year, or a tenth (10th) unexcused absence during the current school year, if the district’s attempts to substantially reduce a student’s absences have not been successful and if the student is under the age of seventeen (17), the district will file a petition and supporting affidavit for a civil action in juvenile court.

You can find additional information on absences here.

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics is a closed campus. This means once a student arrives on campus, they may not leave without first giving written parental permission to the attendance office in the morning. This includes students leaving campus after being dropped off by buses or parents in the morning.

Parents/guardians should check in at the office and sign out their children when taking them out of school early. Failure to do so will result in truancy, regardless of later returning to school with a note from a parent/guardian. If the child returns during the school day, the parent/guardian should sign them in again at the office.

You can find additional information on absences here.

Our building is open to students for breakfast at 8:45 a.m. Students should leave campus by 4:35 p.m. unless they are involved in an after-school activity or under the direct supervision of a staff member.

You can find additional information on absences here.