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Educational Services and Innovative Programs Division » Attendance and Truancy » Parent Resources

Parent Resources

Chronic Absenteeism Overview

School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools do not realize how quickly absences — excused or unexcused — can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days every month. This can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.

Did You Know?
  • Missing just 2-3 days every month can translate into third graders unable to read on grade level.
  • Being chronically late to school often leads to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect other students if a teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school — and themselves.
  • Good attendance in the early grades will help children do well in high school, college and at work.
  • By junior high and high school, chronic absence is the leading warning sign that a student will drop out of school.
  • High school graduates make, on average, a million dollars more than a dropout over a lifetime.
California Law

California State Law requires that a student attend school: EVERY DAY – ALL DAY. 48200 from the Education Code of the State of California states the following: Each person between the ages of 6 and 18 years is subject to compulsory full-time education….and shall attend the public full-time school or continuation school for the full school day.

What can I do?
Getting your child to school on time, every day, unless he or she is sick, is something that you can do to ensure your child has a chance to succeed in school. While others can help, you are the bottom line. You can promote good attendance when you:
Establish and stick to the basic routines (i.e., setting a bedtime and sticking to it, laying out clothes and packing a backpack the night before, waking up on time, etc.) that will help your child develop the habit of
on-time attendance.

Talk to your child about why going to school every day is critical and important unless he or she is sick. If your child seems reluctant to go to school, find out why and work with the teacher, administrator or after school provider to get them excited about going to school.

Come up with back up plans for who to turn to (another family member, a neighbor or fellow parents) to help you get your child to school if something comes up (e.g. another child gets sick, your car breaks down, etc.).

If your child is absent, work with the teacher to make sure she or he has an opportunity to learn and make up for the academics missed.
Reach out for help if you are experiencing tough times (i.e., transportation, unstable housing, loss of a job, health problems) that make it difficult to get your child to school. Other parents, your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, school nurse, after school providers or community agencies can help you problem solve or connect you to a needed resource.

Important Links

KCSOS – T.R.A.C.K. Community Resources

Parent Resource Booklet:
Truancy Reduction Tri-Fold: