Why being in school matters

When it comes to learning, every single school day counts. Research shows that attendance plays an important role in academic success, which affects success in life. Simply put, students must attend school in order to benefit from it.

Just two missed days of school every month, for any reason, can cause a child to suffer academically and decrease the chances that he or she will graduate. Absences add up—and subtract from learning.

Excused absences and tardies are time spent out of school for:

  • Illness—a doctor’s note is required if a student is ill for five (or more) days in a month.
  • Health care appointments
  • Emergencies, including but not limited to a death or illness in the family
  • Religious or cultural activities, including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction
  • Participation in a district- or school-approved activity or instructional program as approved by the principal
  • Deployment activities of an active duty military parent or guardian
  • Prearranged absences that the principal (or designee) and parent agree upon on. The school cannot excuse absences for trips taken by students unless these trips involve direct supervision by the school or the family.

Absences must be excused by a parent or guardian within three days. If your child will be absent three days or more and you know in advance, please send a note asking for a prearranged absence.

It is the responsibility of the student or parent to arrange for any makeup work. If a student is gone more than three days, parents may call the office to request homework. Please allow 24 hours for teachers to fulfill such homework requests. If the student is ill for 5 (or more) days in a month, a doctor’s note is required unless the principal, for good cause, waives the requirement.

Students who are absent more than three periods in a day may not participate in any after-school sports or organized activities on that day.

Unexcused absences do not meet the above criteria for an excused absence and carry the following consequences:

  • After two unexcused absences, the school will schedule a conference with the student and parent.
  • After five unexcused absences, school officials will enter into an attendance agreement and plan with the student and parent.
  • After seven unexcused absences in a month, or 10 in a year, the student will be referred to the district’s student welfare and attendance office, which is required to file a petition in juvenile court alleging a violation of Washington state’s mandatory attendance law.

If an absence/tardy is not called in, the student must check in with the attendance office upon arrival and bring a note by the following day or he/she will be considered truant. Truancy is missing class or school without permission.

Tardy policy
We believe that punctuality is a lifelong skill, so we expect each student to arrive to school and class on time. Teachers start their classes when the bell rings. Students arriving at school after 9 a.m. must report to the attendance office. Continuous unexcused tardies will result in disciplinary consequences.

Jefferson Middle School is a closed campus. This means once a student arrives on campus, they may not leave without first giving written parental permission to the attendance office in the morning. This includes students leaving campus after being dropped off by buses or parents in the morning.

Parents/guardians should check in at the office and sign out their children when taking them out of school early. Failure to do so will result in truancy, regardless of later returning to school with a note from a parent/guardian. If the child returns during the school day, the parent/guardian should sign them in again at the office.

Our building is open to students for breakfast at 8:50 a.m. Students should leave campus by 3:50 p.m. unless they are involved in an after-school activity or under the direct supervision of a staff member.