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    Attendance breakdown

    Attendance Office

    • Notifications:  Attendance message line 206-252-1204 or email


    • An absence from a class at the secondary level is defined as any time a student misses more than ten (10) minutes of a given class period.
    • For unplanned absences, written, verbal or electronic notice of the absence by the parent or guardian to the school within two (2) school days of the student’s return.
    • For planned absences, written, verbal or electronic notice by the guardian to the school three (3) school days in advance (Preplanned Absence form) and approval by the Principal or designee.  An excused absence may be one or more classes, up to the entire day.
    • Excessive excused absences:  student who exceed twenty (20) excused absences in a school year will be subject to school-based and central interventions for these absences, and may be subject to a truancy petition on the basis that excessive excused absences have a serious adverse effect on a students’ academic progress.

    • Absence for class/period(s) the student was not absent or late, the student is required to clear the discrepancy with the teacher.  The parent cannot excuse the absence.

    • Absences at the beginning of the school year

      • Students who miss the first eight (8) days of school, whether the absences are excused or unexcused, will not be counted as enrolled students and will cease to be enrolled in the District; unless there is a written agreement between the appropriate school official and a student’s parent or guardian to begin attending later. 

      • Every student must attend at least one (1) day prior to October 1 or they will cease to be enrolled.

    • Absences for longer than twenty (20) consecutive school days Students who are absent for more than twenty (20) consecutive school days, whether the absences are excused or unexcused, will not be counted as enrolled students except in the following two (2) circumstances:
      • If there is an agreement between the appropriate school official and a student’s parent or guardian that the student’s temporary absence is not deemed to cause a serious adverse effect upon the student’s educational progress, the absent student may be counted as an enrolled student for at least two monthly enrollment periods.

        • Any agreement between the school and the parent or guardian under this section must be in writing and signed by the parties.

      • A student who receives home/hospital services shall be counted as an enrolled student as long as the student remains a student in the Seattle Public Schools. If a student enrolls in another district, the student will be withdrawn from SPS.

         Tardy-Late Arrivals

    • A tardy at the secondary level is defined as arriving late to school or to any class during the school day. 

    • Secondary students who miss 10 or more minutes of instructional time in a class will be marked “absent”.

    • Parent/guardian notification is required to excuse a tardy/late arrival.  Absences can remain unexcused with an unconfirmed arrival time.

    • Sign in at the Attendance Office upon late arrival is a school requirement to excuse a tardy/late arrival.

    • Schools may implement attendance interventions and supports by including accumulated tardies and/or early departures with full-day absences.


    Early Dismissal

    • Written, verbal or electronic notice by a parent/guardian is to be in the Attendance Office BEFORE a student may leave school/class. 

    • Parent/guardian notification within 60 minutes of early dismissal requires the parent to check the student out at the attendance.

    • Sign out at the Attendance Office before leaving campus is a school requirement to excuse early dismissals.  Absences can remain unexcused if the parent-guardian does not sign out at the time of departure.

    • Early dismissal due to illness (while at school) requires a release from the school nurse before sign out at the Attendance Office or written, verbal or electronic notice from the parent guardian BEFORE a student may be signed out to leave school.

    • If another individual is picking up the student, that person must be listed as contact the student record and must have proper identification. The student's safety is our first concern.


      DEFINITIONS (Seattle School District):

       The following are valid excuses for an absence:

    • Participation in a district or school approved activity or instructional program;

    • Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including but not limited to, medical counseling, dental or optometry)

    • Family emergency, including but not limited to, 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. Submit Preplanned Absence form.

    • Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury. 

    • Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview. Submit Preplanned Absence form. 

    • State recognized search and rescue activities.  Submit Preplanned Absence form.

    • Absence directly related to the student’s homeless status, such as a house fire, moving, lack of new District transportation set up, required agency visit or similar situation.

    • Absence related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member.

    • Absence resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action.

    • Approved activity such as attending youth conference or other one-time special event, or serving as a counselor at a school sanctioned outdoor education program. Submit Preplanned Absence form.

       If an absence is excused, the student will be permitted to make up all missed assignments outside of class under reasonable conditions and time limits established by the appropriate teacher; except that in participation type classes, a student’s grade may be affected because of the student’s inability to make up the activities conducted during a class period.

       Unexcused Absences

      Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence. 

      Specifically, absences for the following reasons are not excused:  oversleeping, missing one’s bus or having other transportation problems, family trip or vacation, or a student needed to babysit a sibling or interpret for parents/guardians on an ongoing basis.

       A student who has failed to attend the majority of hours or periods in an average day will be marked as having an “unexcused absence (Truant) day.” 

    Green Cards
    To ride a yellow bus home with a friend, parent/guardian must provide a written signed note with friend name/bus number and deliver to Attendance Office BEFORE first period. Green Cards will be prepared and students can pick up at lunch. Phone calls/emails will not be accepted as permission. Note: No Green Cards will be issued after school.

    To see the complete SPS District policy please click