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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Attendance

Every day. On time.

Students can suffer academically if they miss 10% of the school year, or about 18 days. That's just one day every two weeks.

Research shows that missing 2-3 days a month is considered chronic absence, and can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ultimately, teens dropping out of high school. 

Some absences are unavoidable. We understand that children will get sick and need to stay home occasionally. The important thing is to get students to school as often as possible and on time. Families should communicate with their school when students are absent. 

Sporadic absences, not just those on consecutive days of school, matter. Before you know it – just one or two days a month can add up.

You can turn to the school for help. We offer services for the whole family. Seek help if you are facing tough challenges related to access to health care, unstable housing, poor transportation or lack of food.

Check Your Attendance!

Check your student’s attendance by visiting the Parent Portal

Attendance FAQs

Why does attendance matter?

  • Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school. 
  • An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year. 
  • Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
  • Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.
  • The academic impact of missing that much school is the same whether the absences are excused or unexcused. Suspensions also add to lost time in the classroom.
  • Low-income students are four times more likely to be chronically absent than others often for reasons beyond their control, such as unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care. Read more.
  • When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating. 
  • Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students. 
  • Most school districts and states don’t look at all the right data to improve school attendance. They track how many students show up every day and how many are skipping school without an excuse, but not how many are missing so many days in excused and unexcused absence that they are headed off track academically.

What is good attendance?

Help Your Child Succeed in School: Build the habit of good attendance early. School success goes hand in hand with good attendance!

Did you know?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school. 
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work. 

What you can do: 

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required shots.
  • Introduce your child to her teachers and classmates before school starts to help her transition.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless she is truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.

How do I help my elementary student?

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% of the school year—about 18 days a year or just two days every month.  Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten can predict lower test scores, poor attendance and retention in later grades, especially if the problem persists for more than a year. 

Who is Affected?

Kindergarten and 1st grade classes often have absenteeism rates as high as those in high school. Many of these absences are excused, but they still add up to lost time in the classroom.

Why it Matters

If children don’t show up for school regularly, they miss out on fundamental reading and math skills and the chance to build a habit of good attendance that will carry them into college and careers. Preliminary data from a California study found that children who were chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade were far less likely to read proficiently at the end of 3rd grade.

What Families Can Do

  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required shots.
  • Build regular routines for bed time and the morning.
  • Talk about the importance of regular attendance and about how your child feels about school.
  • Don’t permit missing school unless your child is truly sick. Use a thermometer to check for a fever. Remember that stomach aches and headaches may be signs of anxiety.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Keep a chart recording your child’s attendance at home. At the end of the week, talk with your child about what you see.
  • Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up.
  • Ask a family member, neighbor or another parent for help.
  • Seek support from school staff or community groups to help with transportation, health problems, or no safe path to school.

How do I help my preteen or teenager?

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job.

Did you Know? 

  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • 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.
  • Missing 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success. 
  • Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  • Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.

What You Can Do

Make school attendance a priority

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.

Help your teen stay engaged

  • Find out if your child feels engaged by his classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs.

Communicate with the school

  • Know the school’s attendance policy – incentives and penalties
  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials, after-school programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.

Truancy FAQs

What happens after 5 EXCUSED absences in a month or 10 EXCUSED in a year?

A family/student conference will be scheduled to determine how we can support the student and family. Implement interventions will be put in place that could include a school counselor, community agency or other school support. 

What happens after 3 UNEXCUSED absences in a month?

A family/student conference will be scheduled to determine how we can support the student and families. Interventions will be put in place that could include a school counselor, community agency or other school support. 

What happens after 5 UNEXCUSED absences in a month?

An agreement is formed with the student and families that establishes school attendance requirements. The student is then referred to the Truancy Board

What happens after 7 UNEXCUSED absences in a month or 10 UNEXCUSED absences in a year?

Highline will file a petition and affidavit with the juvenile court.