Students are expected to attend school every day. Children who miss school miss out on opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens and valued employees. There is a clear connection between student attendance and student performance in school. This is especially true for English Learners in terms of their gains on the English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics portions of the California Standards Tests (CST).

Student absences also affect school budgets. Schools and school districts get a significant amount of their funding based upon the number of students who actually attend school each day. This is called Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Potential losses in ADA revenue affect all students because they can lead to budget cuts affecting a variety of programs, as well as individual schools.

Perfect Attendance

Chesterton School awards students for perfect attendance at the end of the school year. Perfect attendance means that your child must be at school every minute of every school day without exceptions  (no illnesses, doctors' appointments, etc.). Please call the school office if you need clarification.

Tardy Policy

The first bell will ring at 7:58 a.m. and will serve as a signal that it is time to line up and prepare for the teacher's arrival. The second bell will ring at 8:00 a.m. and will signal the start of the instructional day. At that time the teachers will meet their classes and students will enter the classrooms.

Attendance and tardies will be noted and marked by the teacher after the last student in line has entered the classroom. By taking attendance and marking tardies in this manner in every classroom, we will fairly and consistently take attendance and mark tardies. Children arriving late to school cause classroom disruption and require additional teacher time for directions and assignments already presented.

If your child is not at school by 8:00 a.m., he/she is tardy. The child must go to the school office for a tardy slip. Parents will be contacted by the school and/or the district if their child has recurring tardies to assure arrival to school on time.

Student Attendance Laws

All children between 6 and 18 years of age are required by California's Education Code to attend school, and their parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child's attendance. The law also states that a student's refusal to attend school regularly can result in referral to the community-based School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Juvenile Probation, or the Juvenile Court System. Additionally, parents who fail to compel their child's attendance may face criminal prosecution and penalties.

Excused/Unexcused Absences

The only absences that are excused as mandated by the State of California are those due to illness, medical or dental appointments, funeral services and bereavement, court appearances, family emergencies, Independent Study Contracts (if completed), or religious holidays or ceremonies.

Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, those due to oversleeping, transportation issues, going on vacation, or similar situations.

For guidance on when to keep your child home from school due to illness, see the Student Health page.

Planned Absence for 5 or More Days

If your child will be absent from school for five or more days, please contact the school office at least one week ahead and make arrangements for a short-term Contract of Independent Study for the absence period. Academic assignments will then be given to the student to complete during the absence. When the student returns and turns in the successfully completed assignments, he/she will be given credit for the missed days. For attendance purposes, they will not be considered unexcused absences. Without the contract, however, the absence would be unexcused. Independent study contracts are not available for students receiving special education support.

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