At DC Public Schools (DCPS), it is the goal to ensure that every student achieves academic success by being present at school every day and on time. Students who have regular school attendance learn more and are more successful in school. DCPS has shifted focus from monitoring only unexcused absences to all absences by tracking In-Seat Attendance (ISA). Some absences are unavoidable, but when children miss too much school - excused or unexcused - they can fall behind.
Yes, attending school is required by law! All students who reach five years of age on or before September 30 of the current school year must attend school every day until they meet high school graduation requirements or reach their 18 birthday.
What Is Truancy?
Truancy is the unexcused absence from school by a minor (5-17 years of age) with or without approval, parent knowledge or consent.
Which Absences Are Excused vs. Unexcused?
Excused absences are when school-aged students are absent from school with a valid excuse and parental approval. Excused absences include: student illness (a doctor’s note is required if a student is absent for more than 5 days); death in the student’s immediate family; observance of a religious holiday; medical reasons such as a doctor’s appointment (a doctor’s note is required). Unexcused absences are when school-aged students are absent from school without a valid excuse, with or without parental approval. Examples of unexcused absences include: family vacation, doing errands and parent’s illness.
When your child is absent from school, please provide a written note to the front office or email Denise Diggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Happens if My Child Accrues Unexcused Absences?
Brent follows the DC law on school attendance. This law pertains to students in grades K - 12th. At three unexcused absences, parents will receive an official attendance notification letter. At five unexcused absences, parents are required to attend an attendance intervention meeting and work with staff to develop an attendance intervention plan to improve attendance. At ten unexcused absences, families are referred to Child and Family Services for educational neglect. At fifteen unexcused absences, families are referred to DC Truancy Court.