Toutle Elementary Ducklink -- 2/23

Parent and Community Newsletter

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A state law in Washington, called the “Becca Bill,” requires all children between ages 8 and 18 to attend school regularly. The law requires parents or legal guardians to make sure their children are in school regularly. Students can be in public school, private school or homeschool. The law requires that students are in school, full-time, every day, unless there is a valid excuse. If a student misses school without a valid excuse, the student might be considered “truant.” When a student is truant, schools are required to:

  • Notify the family;
  • Meet and work with the family and student to figure out why, and
  • Try different strategies to help improve the student's attendance.

If that doesn't work, a student and family can be referred to a Community Engagement Board or to court. If a student misses school a lot, even with a valid excuse, the law now requires schools to meet and work with the family to figure out why, and make a plan to help the student get to school regularly. That is because missing school a lot or “chronic absenteeism” can make it hard for a student to keep up. It can also be a sign that a student might not be getting the supports they need. When we are talking about missing school, “a lot” can seem like “a little” – missing even just 2 days a month can add up to a big impact!

Frequently Asked Question Regarding Attendance

Do children have to go to school?

  • All children in Washington State between ages 8-18 must go to school (Public, Private, or Home-School).

What about children who are 6-7?

  • A parent or guardian can choose to enroll a six- or seven-year old in school. If they do, the child must go regularly unless one of these is true:
--- School district has temporarily excused the student.
--- The parent dis-enrolls the child before the district serves them with a truancy petition.

--- The child goes to school part-time for supplemental services.

      What happens after 5 excused absences within any month or 10 cumulative excused absences in a school year?

      • Schedule conference with the parent of an elementary student and the child for the purpose of identifying barriers to attendance and supports/resources available to assist the family.

      What happens after 3 unexcused absences within any month?

      • Schedule conference with parent/guardian and student for the purpose of identifying barriers to the student’s regular attendance and the supports and resources that may be made available to the family and the steps to be taken to support the student to attend.

      What happens after 7 unexcused absences in a month and not later than 15 cumulative unexcused absences in a school year?

      • The School will file truancy petition with Juvenile Court.
      • Court must stay the petition.
      • Refer the parent and child to a community engagement board (CEB) or other coordinated means of intervention if referral did not take place before the petition. CEB meeting must take place within twenty days of the referral. The CEB must meet with the child, a parent, and school district representative and enter into an agreement.

      PTO Semi-Formal Dance

      Friday, Feb. 10th, 6-8pm

      5050 Spirit Lake Highway

      Toutle, WA

      The Toutle Lake Elementary PTO will be having a Semi-Formal Dance in the Multi-Purpose Room. Parent/Guardian must attend to have their student present. Admission is free, but there will be pizza, desserts, and beverages to purchase.

      *This event is not sponsored by the Toutle Lake School District; however, it does benefit Toutle Lake Students.

      Random Act of Kindness Day -- February 17, 2023

      Despite all the challenges in the world today, parents and caregivers can teach kids that kindness is always trending. Cultivating a kinder next generation is critical because research shows that 62% of Americans believe people most often “just look out for themselves” rather than trying to help others. The challenge to change that is on!

      In a world where kids can become anything they dream, you can help them choose to be kind — and it can start at school. No matter a child’s age or grade, acts of kindness can help kids make a lasting impact and encourage others to lead with kindness.

      Here are some ideas to get our students started:

      • Sit With Someone New at Lunch. Everyone deserves to feel included at school. ...
      • Smile in the Hallway. ...
      • Give Someone Your Full Attention. ...
      • Thank a School Employee. ...
      • Leave a Note of Encouragement on Someone's Desk or Locker. ...
      • Clean Up Around Campus. ...
      • Help Someone Study for a Test. ...

      Small Acts of Kindness Can Make a Big Impact

      Toutle Lake Elementary will be emphasizing Random Acts of Kindness all throughout the week of February 13-17, 2023.


      There is no school for students on February 17th or 20th. The teaching staff will be involved in Professional Learning on Feb. 17th. All Offices will be closed Feb. 20th, in celebration of Presidents' Day.

      Illness at School

      A student who becomes ill or injured at school should come directly to the office. We will allow students to rest in the health room and/or excuse them from school after contacting a parent depending upon the severity of the illness. If we cannot reach the parent, we will begin contacting those on the emergency contact list.

      PurposeFull People


      This month’s focus is Honesty. One way to think about Honesty is “being truthful in what you say and do.” Practicing Honesty helps strengthen our relationships and reduce stress.

      Honesty is 1 of 3 traits we will focus on throughout the year that helps students Be Well. Throughout the school, students will be developing skills like emotion regulation, positive self-talk, and stress-management.

      PurposeFull Pursuits

      Have some fun connecting as a family this month while practicing Honesty. Here are 3 “PurposeFull Pursuits” for you to complete together. How many can you do this month?

      Pursuit 1

      Create a simple sign with some emotion words or faces/emojis. Create a space where

      your family can see emotion words or faces in 1 place near an entrance of a space.

      Each time someone walks through the entrance this week, have them tap the emotion

      they are feeling and name their feelings Honestly. Work together to help regulate or

      manage those emotions to be more confident, calm, or focused.

      Pursuit 2

      Review Honesty as a family. Honesty is being truthful in what you say and do. Discuss

      the importance of being Honest and work together to create a family Honesty pledge.

      Create and decorate a sign together that explains what Honesty means in your family.

      Have each family member sign the pledge and choose a spot to display it. Refer back to

      the pledge as a reminder to be Honest and to celebrate when Honesty is practiced!

      Pursuit 3

      Set aside some time to gather as a family and check in with each other. Ask each family

      member, “How are you feeling today?” Practice Honesty when responding and listen

      carefully as each family member shares. Use the emotion check-in questions to learn

      more. Challenge yourselves to check in with each other on a regular basis!

      Emotion Check-In Questions:

      • Tell me more about that feeling.
      • Why do you think you are feeling that emotion?
      • What do you need right now?

      What to do if you receive a Truancy Letter from the school

      Please call Mrs. Shetler, in the Elementary Office, at (360) 274-6142 to set up an appointment to meet with the Principal.

      This meeting can take place in-person, Zoom, or by phone.

      Please indicate to Mrs. Shetler how you would like to meet.