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Viewing Policy: BP 5113.1 – Chronic Absence and Truancy


Board Policy 5113.1: Chronic Absence And Truancy

Original Adopted Date: 04/12/2018 | Last Revised Date: 6/10/2021



The San Benito County Office of Education (SBCOE) believes that absenteeism, whatever the cause, may be an early warning sign of poor academic achievement and may put students at risk of dropping out of school.  The Superintendent or designee desires to ensure that all students attend school in accordance with the state’s compulsory education law and take full advantage of educational opportunities provided by the SBCOE.

The Superintendent or designee shall establish a system to accurately track student attendance in order to identify individual students who are chronic absentees and truants, as defined in law and administrative regulation, and to identify patterns of absence throughout the SBCOE.

The Superintendent, attendance supervisor, or designee shall consult with students, parents/guardians, school staff, and community agencies, as appropriate, to identify factors contributing to chronic absence and truancy.

The Superintendent, attendance supervisor, or designee shall develop a tiered approach to reducing chronic absence. Such an approach shall include strategies for preventing attendance problems, which may include, but are not limited to, efforts to provide a safe and positive school environment, relevant and engaging learning experiences, school activities that help develop students’ feelings of connectedness with the school, school-based health services, letters alerting parents/guardians to the value of regular school attendance, and incentives and rewards to recognize students who achieve excellent attendance or demonstrate significant improvement in attendance.

The tiered approach shall also provide for early outreach to students as soon as they show signs of poor attendance or if they were chronically absent in the prior school year.  Early intervention may include personalized outreach, individual attendance plans, and/or mentoring to students with moderate levels of chronic absence, with additional intensive, interagency wrap-around services for students with the highest level of absence.

Students with serious attendance problems shall be provided with interventions specific to their needs, which may include, but are not limited to, health care referrals, transportation assistance, counseling for mental or emotional difficulties, academic supports, efforts to address school or community safety concerns, discussions with the student and parent/guardian about their attitudes regarding schooling, or other strategies to remove identified barriers to school attendance. The Superintendent, attendance supervisor, or designee may collaborate with child welfare services, law enforcement, courts, public health care agencies, other government agencies, and/or medical, mental health, and oral health care providers to make alternative educational programs and support services available for students and families.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that staff assigned to fulfill attendance-related duties are trained in implementing a trauma-informed approach to chronic absence and receive information about the high correlation between chronic absence and exposure to adverse childhood experiences.

Students who are identified as chronically absent or truant shall be subject to the interventions specified in law and administrative regulation.

A student’s truancy, tardiness, or other absence from school shall not be the basis for suspension or expulsion.  Alternative strategies and positive reinforcement for attendance shall be used whenever possible.

The Superintendent, attendance supervisor, or designee shall periodically report to the Board regarding student attendance patterns, including rates of chronic absence and truancy for each grade level, and numerically significant student subgroup as defined in Education Code 52052. Such information shall be used to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies implemented to reduce chronic absence and truancy and to  develop annual goals and specific actions for student attendance and engagement to be included in the SBCOE’s local control and accountability plan and other applicable school and district plans. As appropriate, the Superintendent or designee shall engage school staff in program evaluation and improvement and in the determination of how to best allocate available community resources.