Attendance Matters

ATTENDANCE, TRUANCY & DROPOUT PREVENTION

  • School Success Begins with Attendance

    Attendance matters for success in school and in life and absences can easily add up to academic trouble. 

    When it comes to school, students who miss school... miss out.

    Attendance boosts student achievement, improves the quality of your child's educational experience, and it prepares them for college, good careers, and a chance for success in life. Studies show that over an adult's working life, high school graduates can expect to earn, on average,$1.2 million.**

    Being in school every day is important. For every day of school missed, it takes two or more days for a student to catch up. Except in the case of illness, most school absences can be avoided with a little extra effort.

    Parents, help us to eliminate absences that can be prevented by working:

    • to schedule medical and other appointments outside school hours.
    • by making sure your children get plenty of sleep.
    • by making sure they get to school on time, every day!
    • to call the school office or send in a note to make sure an absence is not logged as “unexcused.”

    Give your child every opportunity to succeed in Waco ISD and graduate to success, by encouraging them to be here and get ahead.

     


     

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  • Addressing chronic absence is typically not a solo sport. Our work has shown that the best efforts to reduce chronic absence involve a partnership with the individual school, the entire district, and the surrounding community. The good news is that when schools and communities work together to provide a comprehensive, tiered system of supports to students and families - that address the reasons for student absences- they can turn chronic absence around. 

    By working together, all of us - educators, schools, public officials, public agencies, civic organizations, businesses, families, and students- can help all children get to school every day so they have an opportunity to learn, flourish and realize their dreams. 

    Waco ISD uses a variety of interventions, preventive measures, resources, and strategies so everyone benefits. 

  • Frequently Asked Attendance Questions

     

    What do I do if my child has to be absent from school?

    When sickness or other obligation necessitates an absence, a note signed by the parent/guardian explaining the reason for the absence is required. If a student fails to submit a note, the absence will be considered unexcused. Waco ISD encourages students to submit an excuse note within three days of the student's return to school.

    It is very important to send a note because the absence will be unexcused if a parent/guardian fails to provide a note within the semester in which the absence occurred. Unexcused absences are what triggers the warning letters regarding violation of truancy laws and can lead to truancy court proceedings with McLennan County.

     

    What types of absences may be excused?

      • Child’s illness or injury
      • Death of a family member
      • A doctor or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled before or after school hours
      • Religious holy days
      • Court appearances

    *Please note: If a student is absent, Parents should always submit an excuse note to the main office when the student returns to school. Excuse notes should have a student name, grade, date of absence, reason, and parent signature. 

     

    What is the parent/guardian's responsibility?

    We are sure you are aware of how important it is that your child receives a quality education. However, you may be unaware that under the laws of the State of Texas it is your duty as the parent/guardian to monitor your child’s attendance and make sure he/she attends school each and every day, for the full instructional day. This also includes ensuring the student arrives to school on time, attends each class period, and avoid as much as possible early releases/pick-ups from school unless there is an extreme emergency.

    When a student is absent from school Parents/Guardians should submit a written explanation, also known as an excuse note, to the school. This should be done within three school days following the student's return to school.

     

    What is the school/district's responsibility regarding school attendance?

    Automated phone calls will be placed to parents/guardians notifying them when a student has been marked absent. It is the parent's or guardian's responsibility to ensure that he/she provides current and up to date contact information to the school.

    The school district will also provide attendance information on your child's report card for parents to monitor their student's school attendance. For up-to-the-minute attendance information, parents/guardians can view their student's attendance record via Parent Portal.

    Legal Responsibilities:

    If a student has been absent without excuse on three days or parts of days within a four week period, the school district shall issue a warning notice to inform the parent, (A) of their duty to monitor the student’s school attendance and require the student to attend school (B) the student is subject to truancy prevention measures in addition to other statutory requirements in existence and a request for a conference between school officials and the parents will be made to discuss the absences. 

    Further, if your student is absent without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, the district may file truancy court proceedings on parents/guardians and/or the student for violation of the Texas Compulsory Attendance Law.

     

    What are the laws governing school attendance?

    The Texas State Compulsory Attendance Law, Section 25.085, requires all enrolled students to attend school on time, all day, every day school is in session.

    Violation of the law occurs when students get unexcused voluntary absences for 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period. The Waco Independent School District requires an explanation note to excuse an absence. Parents/Guardians will receive a warning letter from the school when a student has been absent without an excuse three times for any part of the day in a four-week period.

    Students who violate the law may receive a referral(s) for court proceedings against the parent/guardian and/or student to enforce the law. Students over the age of nineteen may be withdrawn by the school for excessive unexcused absences.

     

    What should I do if I received a notice/letter regarding my child's attendance?

    If you receive a notice, take steps to avoid future unexcused absences, complete the parent and student program identified in the notice, and conference with campus staff to understand how the absences occurred. 

     

    What if there is an error with my child's attendance?

    If you have any concerns regarding the accuracy of your student's attendance, please contact the school's attendance office. 

     

    What are Truancy Prevention Measures?

    Truancy Prevention Measures are meaningful interventions aimed at addressing the root cause for a student’s unexcused absences. State law mandates parent and student participation. Examples of TPM interventions include:

    • Attendance improvement plan/contract
    • Parent/student conference
    • Parent/student educational meetings and programs
    • Counseling
    • Mentoring
    • Community-based services