Sample Policy & Administrative RegulationInformation about sample policy and administrative regulation developed by the State School Attendance Review Board (SARB).
The State School Attendance Review Board (SARB), an advisory panel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), has developed a sample policy on attendance supervision that is consistent with state laws that became effective on January 1, 2017.
With the passage of Assembly Bill 2815 in 2016, the role of attendance supervisors has been expanded to include more effective practices to address chronic absenteeism and truancy. These changes are designed to help promote a culture of attendance and improve local systems to track student attendance by grade level and subgroup.
The new laws directly relate to the priorities districts must address in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP). Addressing chronic absence is included as a State Priority in the Pupil Engagement section of the LCAP template.
The State SARB has developed this sample policy to help districts comply with regulations in California Education Code (EC) sections 48240, 48290, and 48291 to develop a process for investigating school attendance problems. School districts may adapt these policies and administrative regulations to local needs.
Districts also may find it helpful to review the effective practices described in Assembly Bill 2815 when adopting policies regarding the duties of attendance supervisors and assistant attendance supervisors.
Sample Draft—Board Policy 5113.11
Pursuant to EC Section 48200, every child from the age of six to eighteen 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 rates, chronic absenteeism rates, and dropout rates is vital to the learning and achievement of children on the margins of the educational system. Reducing chronic absenteeism rates and reducing the dropout rates while improving graduation rates are district priorities reflected in the district LCAP.
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 chronic absenteeism and dropout data by grade level and pupil subgroup 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 Section 48240)
It is the intent of the Governing Board that the Supervisor of Attendance shall promote a culture of attendance and establish a system to accurately track pupil attendance in order to achieve all of the following:
- Raise the awareness of school personnel, parents/guardians/caregivers, community partners, and local businesses of the effects of chronic absenteeism, truancy, and other challenges associated with poor attendance.
- Identify and respond to grade level or pupil subgroup patterns of chronic absenteeism and truancy.
- Identify and address factors contributing to chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy, including suspension and expulsion.
- Ensure that pupils with attendance problems are identified as early as possible to provide applicable support services and interventions.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies implemented to reduce chronic absenteeism rates and truancy rates.
Limiting Excused Absences & Eliminating Unexcused Absences
The Supervisor of Attendance must ensure that the attendance program limits excused absences to those that are necessary and decrease unexcused absences. EC Section 48205 and EC Section 48225.5 enumerate the reasons for absences that shall be excused. 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. A prior notice may be required from parents/guardians/caregivers for absences excused for justifiable personal reasons, such as non-emergency appointments or permitted religious instruction/retreats. (EC sections 46014 and 48205)
A school administrator may include other reasons for excusing absences that are within the discretion of school administrators based on the facts of the pupil’s circumstances. (EC Section 48260[c])
The Governing Board believes that chronic 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 absenteeism as defined in EC Section 60901(c)(1) should be monitored to identify students at risk.
The “chronic absenteeism rate” as defined in California Code of Regulations Title 5, Section 157497.5 appendix also should be monitored for different significant pupil subgroups as well as for each grade level.
Students who are eighteen 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 Section 46012)
Providing Support Services and Interventions
The Supervisor of Attendance shall refer chronic absentees and truants to critical support services and interventions which will help them get back on track with their education. The support services and interventions may include, but are not limited to, any or all of the following:
- A conference between school personnel, the pupil’s parents/guardians/caregivers, and the pupil.
- Promoting co-curricular and extracurricular activities that increase pupil connectedness to school, such as tutoring, mentoring, the arts, service learning, or athletics.
- Recognizing pupils who achieve excellent attendance or demonstrate significant improvement in attendance.
- Referral to a school nurse, school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, and other pupil support personnel for case management and counseling.
- Collaborating with child welfare services, law enforcement, courts, public health care agencies, government agencies, or medical; mental; and oral health care providers to receive necessary services.
- Collaborating with school study teams, guidance teams, school attendance review teams, or other intervention-related teams to assess the attendance or behavior problem in partnership with the pupil and his or her parents/guardians/caregivers.
- Identifying barriers to attendance that may require schoolwide strategies instead of case management in schools with significantly higher rates of chronic absenteeism.
- Referral for a comprehensive psychosocial or psychoeducational assessment.
- Referral to a SARB.
- Referral to a county truancy mediation program.
California Education Code Sections
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 six to eighteen (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
California Elections Code Section
12302 Student participation on precinct boards
California Family Code Sections
6920–6929 Consent by minor
California Vehicle Code Section
13202.7 Driving privileges; minors; suspension or delay for habitual truancy
California Welfare and Institutions Code Sections
601–601.4 Habitually truant minors
11253.5 Compulsory school attendance
California Code of Regulations, Title 5 Sections
306 Explanation of absence
420–421 Record of verification of absence due to illness and other causes
California Attorney General Opinions
66 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen 244 (1983)
California Court Decisions
American Academy of Pediatrics et al v. Lungren et al (1997) 16 Cal.4th 307
California Department of Education
School Attendance Review Board Handbook 2015
State SARB Handbook (PDF)
California School Boards Association
California School Boards Association website
California School Boards Association
Date Policy adopted: [Insert Date]
Date Revised: [Insert Date]
Sample Draft Administrative Regulation
Administrative Regulation (AR) [Insert Local Educational Agency AR Number]
Parents/guardians/caregivers of children are welcomed partners in improving the school attendance of their children. Trust and collaboration should be the objective in communicating and interacting with parents/guardians/caregivers 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 sections 48262, 48263, 48290)
Prior to referral to the SARB, the Supervisor of Attendance may provide support services and interventions which may include, but are not limited to, any or all of the services and interventions identified in EC Section 48240(c).
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 sections 48262, 48263, 48291, and 48321)
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 SARB:
- Act as a resource to school or district staff regarding attendance issues, and provide necessary training related to record keeping for student attendance, early identification of truancy and chronic absenteeism, and data collection for chronic absenteeism rates, truancy rates, graduation rates, and dropout rates.
- Collect, analyze, and report truancy data, chronic absenteeism 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 to and from alternative school programs, charter schools, and other schools in the district and out of the district.
- As the designee of the district superintendent, provide an opportunity for parents/guardians/caregivers to challenge the accuracy of attendance records that could impact the determination of grades, attendance awards, or involuntary transfers. (EC Section 49070)
- For students in private schools, verify that the students’ private schools have filed Private School Affidavits with the SSPI. 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 to determine compliance with compulsory attendance laws. 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 sections 48222, 48223, 48290, and 48291)
Developing and Coordinating Strategies for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism Rates
- Coordinate truancy-prevention and chronic absenteeism-prevention strategies based on the early identification of truancy or chronic absenteeism, 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 or chronic absentees.
- 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/caregivers of truant students about alternative educational programs in the district to which the student may be assigned. (EC Section 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 or School Attendance Review Teams to reduce truancy and collect data on the outcomes of those meetings at each grade level.
School Attendance Review Board Chairperson 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 parents/guardians/caregivers and the student. 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/guardians/caregivers who continually and willfully fail to respond to SARB directives or services provided to the appropriate agencies, including law enforcement agencies. (EC Section 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.
- Consider use of age-appropriate habitual-truancy petitions to the courts when necessary and allowed in the county, such as petitions to suspend or delay the driving privilege for students from thirteen to eighteen years of age. (California Vehicle Code Section 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 Governing Board. (EC Section 48273)
Reporting Severance of Attendance
The Supervisor of Attendance is the designee of the superintendent of the district for reporting the severance of attendance or the denial of admission of any child who is an individual with exceptional needs, as that term is defined in EC Section 56026, or who is a qualified handicapped person, as that term is defined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (EC Section 48203)
Certification of District Supervisor of Attendance
The District Supervisor of Attendance shall be lawfully certificated for the work by the county Board of Education. (EC Section 48245)