The State Student Attendance Review Board (SARB), an advisory panel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has developed a sample policy on attendance supervision as a resource to help school districts address truancy and dropout concerns. Recognizing that truancy and dropout prevention start with an effective school board policy on attendance supervision, the State SARB offers the following sample board policy and administrative regulations to help California schools prescribe the duties of the attendance supervisor (Education Code [EC] Section 48240) and to develop a process for investigating school attendance problems (EC Sections 48290 and 48291). School districts may adapt these policies and administrative regulations to local needs.
Sample Draft-Oct. 25, 2005
Board Policy - BP 5113.11
Pursuant to EC 48200, every child from the age of 6 to 18 in the district is required to attend school regularly in order to make a successful transition to the next grade level and to graduate with a high school diploma. All enrolled students, regardless of age, will be held to the same district school attendance rules. The Governing Board recognizes that a vigilant supervision of attendance to improve attendance rates and graduation rates and to reduce truancy and dropout rates is vital to the learning and achievement of children on the margins of the educational system. Improving student attendance and reducing the dropout rate is a district priority.
Because supervision of attendance is an essential component of an effective school attendance program, the Superintendent will designate a district employee to supervise attendance. The Supervisor of Attendance will be responsible for managing an attendance program that reaches every student, is conducted in collaboration with local resources, uses truancy and dropout data to modify interventions, and shares outcomes with the County Superintendent, all SARB representatives, and the Governing Board.
Among other duties that may be required by the Board shall be those specific duties related to compulsory full-time education, truancy, work permits, compulsory continuation education, and opportunity schools, classes, and programs. (EC 48240)
Limiting Excused Absences and Eliminating Unexcused Absences
The Supervisor of Attendance must ensure that the attendance program limits excused absences and decreases unexcused absences. EC 48205 enumerates the reasons for excused absences, and the Supervisor of Attendance, the Principal, or the SARB may require verification by a school official or physician if absences for health reasons appear excessive and may require prior notice from parents for absences excused for justifiable personal reasons, such as non-emergency appointments or permitted religious instruction or retreats. (EC 46014, 48205) The Governing Board believes that excessive student absenteeism and tardiness, whether caused by excused or unexcused absences, may be an early warning sign of poor academic achievement and may put students at risk of dropping out. Therefore, chronic absentees as defined in EC Section 60901 should be monitored to identify students at risk.
Students who are 18 years of age or older or who are emancipated may provide their own excuses for absences, and the Principal or Supervisor of Attendance may require verification from a physician or designated school official when necessary. (EC 46012)
1740 Employment of personnel to supervise attendance (county superintendent)
2550-2558.6 Computation of revenue limits
37201 School month
37223 Weekend classes
41601 Reports of average daily attendance
46000 Records (attendance)
46100-46119 Attendance in kindergarten and elementary schools
46140-46147 Attendance in junior high and high schools
48200-48208 Children ages 6-18 (compulsory full-time attendance)
48210-48216 Exclusions from attendance
48240-48246 Supervisors of attendance
48291 Criminal complaint against parent
48292 Filing complaint against parent
48293 Relating to truants, fine for non-attendance
48320-48324 School attendance review boards
48340-48341 Improvement of student attendance
49067 Unexcused absences as cause of failing grade
12302 Student participation on precinct boards
6920-6929 Consent by minor
13202.7 Driving privileges; minors; suspension or delay for habitual truancy
Welfare and Institutions Code
601-601.4 Habitually truant minors
11253.5 Compulsory school attendance
Code of Regulations, Title 5
306 Explanation of absence
420-421 Record of verification of absence due to illness and other causes
Attorney General Opinions
66 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen 245, 249 (1983)
American Academy of Pediatrics et al v. Lungren et al (1997) 16 Cal.4th 307
California Department of Education Management Advisories
0114.98 School Attendance and CalWORKS, Management Bulletin 98-01
California School Boards Association Advisories
0520.97 Welfare Reform and Requirements for School Attendance
Parents/guardians of children are welcome partners in improving the school attendance of their children. Trust and collaboration should be the objective in communicating and interacting with parents about school attendance problems. The Supervisor of Attendance and other staff responsible for supervising attendance shall use appropriate formal and informal school attendance notifications and shall facilitate open, honest, and blame-free discussions about school attendance before designating students as “habitual truants.”
The Supervisor of Attendance and/or any Assistant Supervisor(s) of Attendance will conduct full and impartial investigations of all school attendance complaints or referrals and may forward cases of persistent irregular attendance or habitual truancy to the (SARB for a proper disposition. (EC 48262, 48263, 48290)
School attendance is a community concern, and the Supervisor of Attendance must collaborate with all appropriate agencies, including law enforcement agencies, as partners in the SARB process to meet the special needs of pupils with school attendance or school behavior problems. (EC 48262, 48263, 48291)
Duties of the Supervisor of Attendance and/or Assistant Supervisor(s) of Attendance
The Supervisor of Attendance with any Assistant Supervisor(s) of Attendance shall have the following duties of monitoring attendance, developing strategies for truancy reduction, and coordinating the School Attendance Review Board:
- Act as a resource to school or District staff regarding attendance issues, and provide training, as necessary, related to record keeping for student attendance, early identification of truancy, and data collection for truancy rates, graduation rates, and dropout rates.
- Collect, analyze, and report truancy data, chronic absentee data, graduation-rate data, and dropout data as ongoing activities for appropriate school, District, and county personnel to inform decisions about site-level, District-level, and county-level attendance and behavior interventions
- Maintain data on the successful transfer of students from and to alternative school programs, charter schools, and other schools in the District.
- Provide an opportunity for parents or guardians to challenge the accuracy of attendance records that could impact the determination of grades, CalWORKS benefits, or involuntary transfers (EC 49070).
- For students in private schools, verify that the students’ private schools have filed Private School Affidavits with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. If a complaint or referral has been submitted regarding the attendance of a minor in a school that has filed a Private School Affidavit, investigate the case by analyzing the student’s private school attendance register. If the private school attendance record is not available or does not show regular school attendance during the days that the private school is maintained during the year, the student shall be referred to the SARB to determine the disposition of the case. (EC 48290, 48222, 48223, 48290, 48291)
Developing and Coordinating Strategies for Truancy Reduction
- Coordinate truancy-prevention strategies based on the early identification of truancy, such as prompt notification of absences in the parents’ native language, selective approval of work permits, assignments of weekend school instruction, and counseling for truants.
- Assist school or District staff to develop site attendance plans by providing youth development strategies, resources, and referral procedures. Explain District and county policies, regulations, and procedures.
- Maintain an inventory of local alternative educational programs and community resources, and employ those programs and resources to meet the differential needs of students with school attendance or school behavior problems. Inform parents/guardians of truant students about alternative educational programs in the District to which the student may be assigned. (EC 48322)
- Encourage and coordinate the adoption of attendance-incentive programs at school sites and in individual classrooms that reward and celebrate good attendance and significant improvements in attendance.
- Coordinate site-level Student Success Teams (SSTs) or School Attendance Review Teams (SARTs) to reduce truancy and collect data on the outcomes of those meetings at each grade level.
SARB Responsibilities for Dropout Prevention
- Review the school attendance record and other documentation to determine the adequacy of all cases referred to the SARB and to determine if special arrangements or experts will be needed for the meeting. If the case warrants the resources of the SARB panel, schedule a SARB meeting with the parent and the family. If the referral contains inadequate information or if appropriate school-level intervention has not been attempted, remand the case to the school for further work.
- Ensure that SARB meetings maintain high expectations for all students, and ensure that families and youth are involved in selecting resources and services.
- Refer students with attendance or behavior problems that cannot be resolved by the SARB to the appropriate agency, including law enforcement agencies when necessary. Also, refer parents or guardians who continually and willfully fail to respond to SARB directives or services provided to the appropriate agencies, including law enforcement agencies. (EC 48290)
- Develop and submit follow-up reports to the SARB on all directives and agreements made at the SARB meetings, especially student agreements to attend school or improve school behavior.
- Use age-appropriate habitual-truancy petitions to the courts when necessary, such as petitions to suspend or delay the driving privilege for students from 13 to 18 years of age. (Vehicle Code 13202.7)
- Collect data and report outcomes on SARB referrals as needed for the annual report to the County Superintendent of Schools, with copies forwarded to the District Superintendent(s) and the Board. (EC 48273)