Attendance Philosophy

Students, we miss you when you are gone, and you miss great instruction when you are not at school. In fact, the connection between school success and attending is so strong that many smart people have researched this connection. They conclude that when students miss 10 percent of school (2 days a month) or more, academic performance decreases, and the chance a student won’t graduate on time increases. That’s a big deal.

So, we expect you to be at school every day you can. If you are not at school, then we expect to hear from a parent or legal guardian why you aren’t here.

Every day of school counts—here’s the policy.

If you have to miss school, you should know these things.
  • Are you not coming to school today? A legal guardian needs to call or email attendance and let us know. If we don’t hear from them within three (3) days of the absence, it will record as truancy. You don’t want this. Checking out of/into school? You must go through the attendance office. If you don’t do this, it is not cool and could lead to a minor behavior infraction.
  • Participating in an after-school activity? Then you should be here the entire day and all classes. If you can’t, you need to talk to your administrator in advance. This also goes for athletics.
  • Going on vacation or some other pre-arranged event? If it is not necessary (and we get that some things are), please don’t do it. Every day counts, and it really can impact your academic performance. However, if you are going to be out of school for an acceptable reason and it is known in advance, you and a legal guardian must make a request in writing to pre-excuse the absence. No matter the reason for the absence, we will try to work with families, providing we stay within the scope of State law and school policy. Please remember that Washington State law requires that students be making regular academic progress in order to be excused by this process. We may have no choice but to deny a pre-excused absence to a student who did poorly in school. The purpose of the pre-arranged absence process is to notify the student, family, and school officials of the effect an extended absence will have on classwork and to notify teachers of a student’s attendance status. Give the school at least one day’s prior notice for each day of a planned absence. For example, if you will miss three days of school, contact the school at least three days prior to the absence.
  • Don’t be tardy! Generally speaking, not being in class before the bell rings means that you are tardy. At 10 minutes into class, you are no longer tardy–you are unexcused absent.
How can families help?

Encourage your student to make it to class on time.  Walking into class five or ten minutes late means missed instruction time.  Please try to drop your student off with plenty of time to make it to class, encourage your student to leave home earlier to beat traffic and parking delays, or send your student on the BISD bus for a guaranteed on-time arrival.

Schedule appointments outside of school hours.  We understand that it’s tricky to schedule medical appointments outside of school hours, but we ask that you do your best to maximize school breaks or late start/early release schedules to make appointments.  Even excused absences cause students to miss instruction and get behind in assignment completion and submission.

Submit excused absences in a timely manner.  We ask that you submit excuses within 24 hours of the absence.  We prefer that you provide information in advance of a planned appointment or absence.

Plan your travel during school breaks.  Please do not schedule family trips or travel during scheduled instructional days.  If you must take your student out of school for two or more days, please request a pre-arranged absence form from the attendance office at least two weeks in advance of the planned absence.  The student will be responsible for all makeup and missed assignments and assessments, and should plan in advance with each individual teacher.

Stay tuned in.  We need your help in advancing the message that attendance matters.  Check your student’s attendance in Family Access, pay attention to the attendance phone calls, and ask your student questions about any noted tardies or absences.  If your student is experiencing physical or mental health concerns that impact school attendance, please contact your assigned counselor and administrator to establish a plan.  We are here to support you and your student in meeting the goal of attending every class, every day.

Four ways to excuse an absence (this is important)
  1. Email our office staff at
  2. Leave us a voicemail message at 360-833-5806.
  3. Send your student to the main office with a note from you.
  4. Visit the main office in person.

For safety and accountability reasons, students must sign in at the Attendance Office when arriving after school has started or prior to leaving campus before the end of the school day.

Any student absence that is not excused within three (3) days of the student’s return to school will not be excused (unless approved by an administrator). If a student is absent for five (5) days or more due to illness or health conditions, the school will need a note from their doctor or health care provider, or the absence may be classified as unexcused.

Need more information?

Attendance Resources for Families: OSPI

Attendance and Truancy: Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds

CSD Policy 3122 Excused and Unexcused Absences

Washington State RCW