Student Attendance

School attendance is one of the major factors affecting the progress made by any student. There is a direct relationship among absences, poor grades, and dropouts. Arriving on time and attending school every day are the first steps to success.

Whether excused or unexcused, the number of days your student misses can greatly impact their academic success. Strive for regular attendance. Regular attendance means having, on average, less than two absences per month. An absence is defined as missing 50% or more of their scheduled day. 

  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.  

  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks. 

  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.    

  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores. 

  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with schoolwork, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty. 

  • Unexcused absences are an early warning sign for unaddressed problems with school and future dropout. 

If your student is going to be absent, please contact your school by phone or email.

Washington Attendance Law

A state law, called the “Becca Bill,” requires children between ages 8 and 18 to attend public school regularly, with few exceptions. The Becca Bill also requires schools and parents to make sure children attend school. 

What does the law require?

Students are required to be in school, on time, every day unless there is a valid excuse.

What is an excused absence?

 Absences due to the following reasons must be excused: 

  • Illness, health condition, or medical appointment for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible; 

  • Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family; 

  • Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction; 

  • Absence directly related to the student's homeless or foster care/dependency status; 

  • Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying; 

  • Absences due to a student's migrant status 

For a complete list of excused absences visit: Attendance and Truancy | Washington State Governor's Office of the Education Ombuds 

What is an unexcused absence?

If the student is absent and does not meet any excused criteria, the student is considered unexcused absent. 

A student is absent when missing 50 percent or more of the school day from in-person, synchronous online, or asynchronous instruction. 

Contact Us

Enrollment Services
Central Administration Building 
601 South 8th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405

Phone: 253- 571-1142
Fax: 253-571-1141