Attendance and Tardy Policies

  • Yelm Community Schools places a high priority on school attendance.  Studies prove that daily attendance has a direct impact on student achievement. Our goal is to have every student arrive on time and attend a full day of school.  School hours are 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The safety of students is of utmost importance to us.  Before school, supervision is provided from 6:30 a.m. for your convenience.  Students should not arrive on campus before 6:30 a.m.  We have no regular after school supervision available.  To ensure student safety, all students must be picked up by 2:15 p.m. Individual after school activities will be communicated by supervising teacher.

    All students shall attend school every day unless they have a legitimate reason for being absent.

    The student’s parent/guardian is expected to notify the school the reason for the absence on the day of the absence and no later than the day the student returns to school.

    When your child will be absent from school, you can notify the school in three ways:

    1. Send an email to Beckie Whited, Registrar and Attendance Secretary, email: and provide reason
    2. Call attendance line at office voice mail 360.458.1100, option 2 (available 24 hours a day) and provide reason
    3. By parent/guardian note (the student should bring the note to the attendance office before school begins and provide reason

    If your student has not arrived to school or the school has not been notified of the absence by 7:30 a.m., an automated phone call, email and/or text will be sent to parent/guardian in the morning and the afternoon.

    Definition of “Excused Absences”
    Students are expected to attend ALL assigned classes each day unless excused by the parent/guardian for valid reasons below.

    1. Participation in a school-approved activity:  This absence must be authorized by a staff member and prior notification must be provided to parent/guardian for approval. (IE., field trips)
    2. Illness, health condition, health care appointments, family emergency, or religious/cultural purpose: We encourage parent/guardian to schedule appointments during non-school hours whenever possible.  School officials may require a health professional’s written note when a student has more than 3 consecutive absences. Families are encouraged to acquire a health professional’s written note whenever possible and submit a copy to the Attendance Office.
    3. Parental/Family Pre-Arranged Absence: Parents/Guardians are to notify the school if there will be a pre-arranged absence from school.  The absence may be classified as unexcused if the student is under an Attendance Agreement, BECCA order, or has an adverse effect on the student’s education or student has already reach 10 absences for the school year or 10% of the current year. The Pre-Arranged Absence Form is available at each school office.
    4. Court, judicial proceedings court-ordered activity or absences related to homeless or foster care status.
    5. Suspensions from school.

    Definition of “Unexcused Absences”
    Unexcused absences are defined as “failure on the part of the parent/guardian to notify the school in a timely manner.”

    The principal or assistant principal may, upon request by a parent, grant permission for a student’s absence for parent-approved activities providing such absence does not adversely affect the student’s educational progress as determined by the principal or assistant principal. In addition, a student, upon the request of a parent, may be excused for a portion of a school day to participate in religious instruction provided such is not conducted on school property, or involves the school to any degree. The state law regarding attendance requires that every person under 18 years of age must attend school and requires verification of absence. Excuses such as sleeping in, missing the bus, getting assignments done for a class, ride not showing up, traffic, car problems, etc. do NOT constitute excused absences.

    Tardy to School: Students are tardy to school if they arrive after the start of the school day. If a student is tardy to school, he/she MUST report to the office to obtain an admit slip to class.

    Tardies will only be excused for legitimate reasons such as appointments, emergencies, or illness. Excuses such as sleeping in, missing the bus, getting assignments done for a class, ride not showing up, etcetera do NOT constitute excused tardies. Students who are late to school should bring a note from their parent or guardian. Students who arrive 10 minutes or later without a note or prior parent phone call are subject to disciplinary actions. After the 10 minute time period, it is considered an unexcused absence.

    Tardy to Class:
    Students are tardy to class if they are not seated with necessary materials when the teacher begins instruction. Excused tardies require a note or email from the previous class teacher or staff member. Each teacher will record tardies and students will be subject to disciplinary action. If a student needs to use the restroom before class starts, we encourage students to leave their items on their desk and check in with the teacher.

    Per Quarter

    First and Second Tardy

    Third Tardy

    Verbal warning by teacher

    Parent/Guardian contact by teacher

    Four or more Tardies

    Discipline referral, parent/guardian contact, loss of Honor Level points, before school detention or multiple lunch detentions, administration may schedule parent/guardian conference and more stringent discipline administered 

    Note: Attendance and Tardies can be tracked on Family Access.

    Ridgeline Middle School administration will periodically impose a lockout to discourage students from being tardy to class. During a lockout, staff members will lock their doors. Students locked out of their classroom will report to the commons to receive a lunch detention.

    Chronic Absenteeism
    Chronic absenteeism incorporates all absences: excused and unexcused. The focus is on the academic consequences due to the loss of instructional time and preventing absences before students fall behind. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing more than 10% of the school year. 

    Students are truant when they are absent from school or class without the knowledge or permission of a parent or guardian. Students who are truant are subject to disciplinary action including after school detention and/or in school suspension.

    The following truancy procedures will be followed prior to filing a full petition.

    Tier 1

    • 1-2 Unexcused Absences: Parent/Guardian will be contacted via School Messenger, E-mail, letter or phone call
    • 3 Unexcused Absences: Schedule a meeting with school personnel to find solutions
    • IEP/504 Accruing Students: Case manager will convene an IEP meeting to develop a plan

    Tier 2

    • 4 Unexcused Absences/Excessive Excused Absences or 10% of the school year: Students will be placed on attendance contract
    • Students in grades 6-12 need a Risk and Needs Assessment

    Tier 3

    • 5 Unexcused Absences/Excessive Excused Absences or 10% of the school year: The school will file a stay petition with Thurston county Juvenile court and schedule Community Engagement Board Meeting
    • Students not attending school as court ordered results in school filling a contempt and progress report Thurston County Juvenile court
    • Monitor and review expiration date

    Attendance – Policy 3122