Student Attendance & Engagement
We are the CARE Team- Connect. Ask. Relate. Engage.
“Authentic relationships with students, families and the community are at the core of our work to reduce chronic absence, increase student attendance and engagement and ensure academic success for ALL students, especially our most vulnerable.”
Attendance & Engagement in SCUSD
The recent years have presented SCUSD with challenges that none could have anticipated. With a community of nearly 40,000 students, many from vulnerable backgrounds, the unforeseen closure of schools in 2020 not only disrupted educational routines but also deeply affected the emotional and social well-being of our students and families. This upheaval, combined with societal challenges such as racial unrest and teacher/staff strikes, has further highlighted the need for trust, understanding, and unity within our community.
Recognizing the increased absenteeism rate of 36% in 2021-2022, we’ve established the Student Attendance and Engagement Office as an essential component of our newly introduced Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Our mission? To foster strong relationships, ensure every student feels welcomed and secure, and actively address any obstacles that might hinder consistent school attendance.
We firmly believe that education can illuminate paths of opportunity, even in the most unpredictable circumstances. Our duty goes beyond just imparting knowledge; we’re here to inspire, lead, and guide our young minds. To achieve this, we rely on our partnership with parents and guardians, emphasizing the importance of both engagement and attendance.
The Attendance and Engagement Office has initiated a comprehensive attendance & engagement monitoring system for all our schools.
We invite you to join us in this journey. To learn more, please visit our website at care.scusd.edu. Together, we can ensure every student thrives in our district.
Please visit our website: care.scusd.edu to learn more.
Why we monitor attendance & engagement
Missing school regularly has severe consequences. Here’s a breakdown of why we at SCUSD track attendance:
1. Academic Risk: Chronic absence, which is missing 10% or more of school days, can lead to significant setbacks:
- Third-graders may struggle with reading.
- Sixth-graders could fail subjects.
- Ninth-graders are more likely to drop out.
2. Disproportionate Impact: Children living in poverty, from communities of color, or with disabilities are more prone to chronic absences. They’re also most affected because they might lack resources to compensate for the lost days.
3. It’s Not Just Truancy: Many absences are excused and connected to genuine challenges:
- Health issues like asthma or diabetes.
- No school bus access or safe routes.
- Food insecurities.
4. Connection & Engagement Matter: Building a meaningful relationship with peers and teachers is vital for student success. We aim not only for attendance but also for active engagement where students interact, think, and connect.
5. Fall Behind: A student missing even 2 days a month is considered chronically absent, leading them to lag behind peers. For instance, kindergarteners with chronic absence often struggle with reading by third grade.
6. SCUSD’s Data: In the 2022-23 school year, 29% of our K-12 students were chronically absent. This figure is alarmingly higher for students of color and our most vulnerable children. We’re aiming to improve this by ensuring every student is present and engaged, as their success in both school and life depends on it.
Parent and Family Resources
23-24 Absence/Truancy Process
Regular attendance is crucial for student success. In fact, it’s often said that 95% of success is simply showing up. The COVID pandemic led to a spike in chronic absences, and its effects, especially on our most vulnerable students, are deeply concerning.
SCUSD categorizes student attendance in two ways: Chronic Absence and Truancy.
- Chronic Absence: Includes all types of absences - excused, unexcused, and suspensions.
- Truancy: Focuses only on unexcused or unverified absences.
New Truancy Process
Truancy is based solely on unexcused or truant absences and is calculated automatically.
At 3 unexcused absences: A mandatory notification is sent as per the CA Dept. of Education. The school also reaches out to the guardian. If there’s no valid excuse as stated in the Ed Code, Truancy Letter #1 is sent.
At 5 unexcused absences: The school initiates another call to the guardian and sends out Truancy Letter #2.
At 7 unexcused absences: The school sends Notification of Truancy #3 and organizes an Engagement Support Plan (ESP) Meeting within 5 school days of the 7th unexcused absence. A Notification of the ESP Meeting is mailed to the family.
During the ESP Meeting, a joint agreement is crafted with the student’s family, school, and support staff to improve the student’s attendance.
If the ESP isn’t effective and the student’s attendance doesn’t improve, a Restorative SARB Referral is initiated.
How to Report an Absence
- Use the Absence Form on the school website.
- Send a note with your child.
- Call the school.
- Email the Attendance Staff.
- Child’s name and grade
- Absence date(s)
- Reason for absence
- Your name and contact phone #
Missing School Work
If your child’s absence is excused, you can request any assignments they missed from the school. This ensures your child remains on track and doesn’t miss out on any learning.
Life happens, and we get that. Our motto is “help before harm.” We’re on your team to tackle any issues that make it hard for your child to attend school.
Attendance Handouts for Families
Staff Attendance Resources
Attendance & Engagement Main Office, 916-643-2121
Jennifer Kretschman, Director, MTSS Student Attendance & Engagement
Vacant, Student Services Supervisor
Sandra Laird, Student and Family Support Specialist