• Attendance Matters! 

     

    Stewart McGugan
    Director of Student Support and School Safety
    818-735-3207
    smcgugan@opusd.org
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    Regular school attendance is important if a child is to reach his or her full potential.  Oak Park Unified School District urges you to make an extra effort to ensure that your child establishes a regular attendance pattern and that he/she arrives to school on time.  Last year, Oak Park Unified students missed a total of 23,168 school days. Student absences cost our district $1,151,681 last year.  School districts receive funding, not on enrollment but attendance. These go hand-in-hand.  A student may be enrolled, but only attend 95% of the school year. That means the state only funds the school district 95% of that student's allocation.  The state withholds funding for ANY absence on a DAILY basis. We congratulate and salute those students and their parents who are already meeting the goal of regular attendance.  In addition, we want to thank all of the parents and staff for a 0.51 percent increase in our district attendance from the previous year’s.  We have attached a flyer for Oak Park High School with information about advancing student success by eliminating absences.  Please take the time to review when a student has reached warning signs for too many days absent and read our key tips that parents can do to help increase attendance.

    This school year, we will continue recognizing all schools who improve their overall attendance by issuing monetary incentives with our WE COME TO SCHOOL PROGRAM.

    WE COME TO SCHOOL ATTENDANCE PROGRAM:

    96% - BRONZE     -     97% - SILVER    -      98% - GOLD       -     99% -  PLATINUM

    There will be a financial incentive for each school, each month as follows:

    SILVER - $500

    GOLD - $1000

    PLATINUM - $1500

    Attendance staff will periodically review each student’s attendance pattern.  Parents will be notified if there is a concern that the student’s absences or tardies are of a concern.  If there is an issue or concern that I might help you with, please feel free to contact me and/or the principal of your school.

    It is our belief at Oak Park Unified School District that the partnership between families and the school can help students successfully pursue their educational development.  We thank you for your support. Any assistance that you can provide us in this endeavor will be greatly appreciated.

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    Here is some pertinent information regarding important laws governing attendance, as well as what schools are required to do:

    • California compulsory education laws require schools to report truancies. Truancy, as defined by the law, is a student who has missed three school days or is tardy or absent more than 30 minutes during the school day on three occasions in one school year without a valid excuse.

    • Valid excuses are illness/injury, quarantine under the direction of a health officer, a medical/dental appointment that can only be scheduled during school hours, and funeral services for a member of the immediate family. Please note that, even with an illness excuse, the school will require a note from a medical practitioner if the number of illness days exceeds three consecutive or ten in a school year. Of course, we understand that illnesses occur and appreciate you contacting the office and keeping children home when fever, vomiting, or contagious virus/infection occurs.

    • Religious Holidays: An excused absence for a religious holiday will be granted upon prior written request of parent or guardian. Please contact the school in advance of these holidays.

    • Trips and family vacations are not valid excuses under the law. These absences must be reported as truancies. However, there is a provision made for this if your family will be away for five or more school days: with advanced notice, an Independent Study contract may be requested. In this case, the absence can be excused if assigned class work is completed during the absence and turned in upon return to school. Independent Study Contracts (timelines and requirements) can be obtained through the school office.  While Independent Study Contracts are available, we encourage families to schedule vacations during non-school days because of the student stresses and academic disruptions that often accompany these absences.

    • Attendance/Truancy letters are automatically generated and mailed home once a student misses three or more school days without having reported a valid excuse as defined under the law, OR, because of mounting and excessive absences, even with a valid excuse.

    • Chronically Absent refers to a student who misses 10% or more of school, even with a valid excuse.  

    • Once a student is designated a truant, state law requires schools, districts, counties, and courts to intervene to ensure that parents and pupils receive certain services to assist them in complying with attendance laws.