Dear Spreckels Union School District (SUSD) Families:

We hope you will help us celebrate September’s Attendance Awareness Month by recommitting to making sure your children attend school on-time every day unless they have an excused reason for being absent under Education Code 48205. Please see SUSD Administrative Regulation #5113 for a complete listing of excused absences.

All other types of absences, most commonly family vacations or participation in non-school sporting events, are unexcused and considered truant. The District is legally mandated to send a first truancy letter to a child’s parent after three unexcused absences or unexcused tardies/pulled out of school early for greater than thirty minutes. If the situation cannot be remedied by a first letter, additional interventions must be taken, including the involvement of the District Attorney Truancy Abatement Program: https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/district-attorney/truancy-abatement-program. As a District, we prefer to work with our families at the earliest opportunity to brainstorm ways to improve a child’s attendance.

In addition to truancy, school districts are now required to set up intervention strategies to work with parents when their children are chronically absent. Unlike truancy which deals with unexcused absences, chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% of the school year (or 18 days in a full year) for any reason, excused or unexcused. Just recently, we have begun sending letters and making phone calls to parents whose children are showing patterns of becoming chronically absent. In extreme cases, a parent will be asked to meet with the District’s Attendance Supervisor and District Superintendent.

Although the importance of regular attendance has been well documented for many years, recent studies have determined that very strong relationships exist between poor attendance and academic, behavioral, and social success. For example, chronically absent students are much less likely to meet educational milestones like mastering reading by third grade, graduating high school, attending college, establishing strong social connections, and obtaining regular employment. To learn more about the critical importance of strong attendance, please visit Attendance Works at https://www.attendanceworks.org/.

Once again, we ask you to make your child’s regular attendance a top priority in your household. Please make sure your child attends school on-time every day unless they are sick or qualify for another type of excused absence.  If the District can help you in any way (e.g. transportation, finding child care for younger siblings, offering counseling services for students who are dealing with depression, etc.), please let us know. We are your partners and are committed to working with you to help your child be as successful as possible.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions about the different types of absences, the District’s process for addressing truancy or chronic absenteeism, or suggestions for improving your child’s attendance, please feel free to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Eric Tarallo

AR 5113: Absences and Excuses