Discovery Bay Elementary Newsletter January 20, 2023
Attendance Policy Reminders
Happy New Year!
As we have just passed the halfway point in our school year, I did want to remind everyone about the importance of attendance. Many families are beginning to or have already received letters regarding school attendance. I know the years of COVID the attendance rules were significantly more relaxed (as they had to be,) but the state has returned to “regular” attendance requirements. Please see below some important facts about school attendance.
Halfway through the school year, we have 166 students who have already missed 9 or more days of school. It is very difficult for students to feel engaged and connected at school when they are missing class and potentially falling behind. Absences also strain our teaching resources, as when a student misses a day they miss a lot! As students reach an excessive absence point, it becomes very difficult to make sure there are no gaps in their learning.
There is A LOT of information here! Please let us know how we can help support your family and our students in getting to school as often as they are healthy and well. Working together, every student can receive a high-quality learning and educational experience at Discovery Bay Elementary School.
Attendance Questions Answered
Why was my child marked "Truant?"
A student absence is considered “TRUANT” for one of two reasons:
- a. No notification to the school attendance office was received. This must be done either by phone call to 925-809- 7541 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Message must include the reason for the absence and be reported within 48 hours of the absence.
- b. The reason for the absence is not a state excused reason. State excused reasons for missing school are very specific and finite. Things like family vacation, parent work, or visiting relatives are not considered excused reasons to miss school. Complete language can be found here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ai/tr/
We called in to report our absences for illness, why did we still get a letter?
The state also has a maximum number of days students can be called out for illness. Once they reach an excessive number of excused absences, per state guidelines our student information system generates a letter.
Do the school and the state want me to bring a sick child to school?
How can I avoid an attendance issue? How can I avoid receiving a letter?
Any correspondence we send home, is also filed in your child’s cumulative educational record. Attendance records are also kept in the state pupil reporting system. So it is very important to start a good habit of school attendance now! Here’s what you can do:
- 1. Establish healthy habits. Healthy eating, hand-washing, and avoiding others when they are sick whenever possible.
- 2. Plan trips on school holidays. The school calendar is typically approved by January of the year before. It will be posted on the school and district website as soon as it is approved.
- 3. Call in ASAP for an illness. Notifying the attendance office of illness promptly will avoid a truancy. If the office is not notified within 48 hours of the absence, we are unable to change the truancy to a sick day.
- 4. Bring a doctor’s note into the office for any illness or appointment. We keep these on file, and they help establish the need for missed days, should the state attendance review board question an absence or illness.
- 5. Make school a priority. The message you send to your child matters! Students who believe being at school and working hard every day is important, do better in school. The research backs up the importance of school attendance. Take a look at missed learning by the numbers:
Kindergarten – 12th grade = 13 years of school
Missing 1.5 days per month x 9mos. = 13.5 days of school per year
13.5 days per year x 13 years = 175.5 days of school missed
That’s almost an entire year of learning missed!
Why did we get a letter for being tardy?
- Our school cafeteria opens at 8am, and currently breakfast is free for all students! We have supervision in the cafeteria in the morning, so feel free to arrive anytime after 8am.
- Our play gates open at 8:20am. Plan to allow your child an easy start to their morning by arriving closer to 8:20am. Students can enter, hang their backpacks in class, and head out to the playground for some time with their friends before class begins. There is playground supervision at both the Kindergarten and Main playgrounds.
- Don't set 8:35am as your mental time clock. This is the final bell, where students are late if they are not in class by this time. Teachers pick up their students from the playground at the first bell at 8:32am. So set a mental clock to be here by 8:30am or sooner, so you have that couple of minutes for a road delay, lost shoe, or just a slow morning.
- Get here ASAP if you are running late. Minutes matter! Any students who arrive after 9:05am are put in a different category, called a T-30 (Tardy over 30 minutes) This is a special category for the state that recognizes missing the first 30 minutes of the school day is especially detrimental, and it is tracked separately from the "few minutes late" tardies. Just 3 T-30s will trigger an attendance letter.
- Consider The Academy before-school care. There are many reasons why our exact window of arrival may be challenging for a family. For this reason, our before-school Academy program is an option, which opens at 6:30am. For more information including fees, please contact our Academy Lead, Ms. Ana at email@example.com.
School Lunches are free for all students this year! See the lunch menu by clicking here, and then look for the "Elementary School Menu" button in the middle of the page.
Support our students by joining and/or donating to our school PTA!