Attendance and Engagement

kids raising hands

We believe that regular attendance is critical to student engagement, wellbeing and academic progress. We are here to partner with you. It is our intent to provide communication, guidance, customer service, support, coordinated community services and intervention to help all students attend school in accordance with the state’s compulsory education law and to ensure that all students are able to take full advantage of opportunities available to them within the school environment.
How do you report an absence? Notify your school site front office within 48 hour of an absence and provide the dates and reason that apply. Upon returning to school, make sure you provide documentation that is signed by a parent/guardian and/or medical professional.
How does student attendance impact our school funding? Student attendance is directly tied to our District funding. Each 1% drop in attendance means a loss of $1 million dollars to the district budget. Funding calculations for attendance are based on how often students attend school. Therefore, even if a student is excused for an absence, if they are missing school, it reduces the attendance calculation for the site and impacts the funding we receive for important educational programs and interventions for our students.

Helpful Attendance Information


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is attendance such a big issue?
Regular attendance is vital to a student's success in school because a student who is frequently absent misses social interaction and direct instruction from his/her teachers. Any day or hour absent is a missed learning opportunity and ultimately attendance is a key predictor of high school success. Also schools lose funding for each absence, regardless of the reason or whether the absence is excused or not.

What can I do to improve my student’s attendance?

  • We ask that families support efforts to increase attendance by making a conscientious effort to:
  • Ensure students arrive at school and class on time
  • Plan family vacations during non-school days and summer break
  • Try to schedule doctor appointments for your child after school hours
  • Bring your child to school before and after appointments that are scheduled during the school day
  • Only allow your child to stay home when he/she has a contagious illness or is too sick to attend school

How do I report an absence?
Notify your school site front office within 48 hours of an absence and provide the reason for the absence and the dates that apply. Upon returning to school, make sure to provide documentation that is signed by a parent/guardian and/or medical professional. If make-up work is allowable, make sure arrangements have been made with your student's teachers and that the work is completed within the designated timeline.

What is an excused absence vs. an unexcused absence?
Under state law, an absence is considered “excused” only for these reasons:

  • Student illness, including physical or mental/behavioral health
  • Death in the student’s immediate family (one day is excused if funeral is conducted in California, and three days are excused if service is conducted outside California)
  • For purpose of having medical, dental, vision or chiropractic services rendered
  • Observation of a religious holiday or ceremony
  • Court appearance (documentation must be provided and have the student’s name on it)
  • Serving as a member of a precinct board of an election
  • Spending time with a member of the student’s immediate family, who is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support position

For additional excused absences, please see explanations under Education Code 48205

If you have a special circumstance and are unsure whether it will be excused, please talk to your school’s principal or vice principal for clarification.

Can my child make up the work they missed?
Students with excused absences (including suspensions) shall be given the opportunity to complete all assignments and tests that can be reasonably provided. As determined by the teacher, the assignments and tests shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the assignments and tests missed during the absence. Students shall receive full credit for work satisfactorily completed within a reasonable period of time (Education Code 48225.5(b))

What if we have to go out of town?
Short-term independent study is available for students who know in advance that they will be absent for three or more school days and enables the student to stay current with coursework provided by their classroom teachers. To sign up for short-term independent study for elementary school students or if your student attends Da Vinci Charter Academy, please contact your school site front office. For secondary students not attending Da Vinci Charter Academy, please see Short Term Independent Study on the Davis School for Independent Study website or contact your school site office.

What can you do to help?
Make school attendance a priority by:

  • Talking with your student about the importance of showing up every day
  • Help your student maintain daily routines, finish homework and get a good night’s sleep
  • Try not to schedule dental, medical or therapy appointments during the school day
  • Try to schedule family trips and vacations during school breaks
  • If you must travel during school weeks for three or more days, sign up for Short-term Independent Study so that your child does not fall behind
  • Know the school attendance policy - it should be listed in the student planner or website
  • Talk to teachers or counselors if you notice sudden changes in behavior and your student does not want to attend school
  • Learn how to log into your student’s portal to check attendance and grades
  • Check on your student’s attendance to make sure absences are not piling up
  •  Pay attention to any changes that you notice:
    • Complaints about stomach aches and headaches may actually be signs of anxiety and not illness-contact your school counselor and don’t let your child stay home from school unless they are truly sick. The more they get acclimated to staying home, the harder it will be to get them to attend school
    • Talk with your child about their school experience and make sure they feel safe and comfortable. If there are any concerns, contact school administration
    • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary
    • Stay on top of your student’s social contacts; peer pressure can lead to skipping school and cutting classes or some students without friends may feel isolated
    • Encourage meaningful after school activities like sports and clubs

Why am I receiving these warning letters from the district?
According to Education Code 48260, 48260.5, 48263.6 and 48262, schools are required to notify families when a student is classified by the state as a “truant”, “habitual truant” or “chronic truant”.

Definitions are provided below:
According to California Education Code 48260, a pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuing education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, shall be classified as a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.

Habitual Truant:
According to California Education Code 48262, any pupil is deemed an habitual truant who has been reported as a truant three or more times per school year, provided that no pupil shall be deemed an habitual truant unless an appropriate district officer or employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with a parent or guardian of the pupil and the pupil himself. For purposes of this section, a conscientious effort means attempting to communicate with the parents of the pupil at least once using the most cost-effective method possible.

Chronic truant:
According to California Education Code 48263.6, any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuing education who is absent from school without a valid excuse for 10 percent or more of the schooldays in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, is deemed a chronic truant.

DJUSD utilizes a third party software (A2A) to send notification letters to families. Families will continue to receive letters throughout the school year if the student continues to be absent from school, even if the absences are excused. The timeline for when these letters will be sent is shown below:

A2A Truancy and Excessive Excused Absence (EEA) Letter Guide

A2A Letter Threshold*
Truancy Letter 1    3 days* unexcused or unverified absences 
Truancy Level 2  6 days unexcused or unverified absences 
Truancy Level 3  9 days unexcused or unverified absences  
Excused Absence Letter 1  10 days of excused absences
Excused Absence Letter 2 15 days of excused absences

*Jr. High and High School Level are converted from periods into days as viewed below:

How are daily absences calculated?
K-6th: Absences are counted daily
7th - 10th Grade: Seven (7) period absences = 1 day of absence
11th - 12th Grade: Six (6) period absences = 1 day of absence

Is there an attendance requirement if I am on an Interdistrict Transfer Agreement?
Yes. According to the language in the Interdistrict Transfer Agreement you have signed, “at any point during the TERM OF ENROLLMENT, the DISTRICT OF PROPOSED ATTENDANCE (DJUSD) may revoke enrollment for unsatisfactory attendance, behavior and/or academic achievement as set forth in the applicable policies and regulations of the DISTRICT OF PROPOSED ATTENDANCE as well as applicable state and federal law.”

State of California Education Code (Attendance)
View the California Education Code as it relates to Attendance. 
Student Protests and Disturbances/Expressions of Free Speech on Campus

Knowing there are widely held and differing opinions in our Davis community around controversial topics, DJUSD recognizes the rights of students to express their views in exercise of their First Amendment rights.  In the case of on-campus student protests or expressions of free speech on campus, expectations for student behavior will be maintained in order to ensure safety. We also encourage families to discuss with students their views about controversial events.

Generally, normal instruction will continue during any voluntary, organized activity on campus, and students who choose to participate in planned, on-campus activities are expected to return to class following such events.

Students who leave class to participate in off-campus or other unauthorized activities will be considered “unexcused.” An initial unexcused absence will result in a phone call notification of the absence to the parent/guardian.  Students who participate in a campus disturbance shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Board Policy and Administrative Regulations (See Board Policy 5131.4 and Administrative Regulation 5131.4).