Mary Walker High School » Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy

Mary Walker High School 

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Attendance Policy


Good attendance is essential for the maximum educational benefit and mastery of the programs provided for students. Continuity of instruction and student participation are principles which underlie and give purpose to the requirement of compulsory school attendance. All parts of this policy are building policy except the minimum absence for credit. 

A student’s academic grade or credit in a particular subject may be adversely affected by reason of absences only to the extent and upon the basis that the student’s attendance is related to the instructional objectives or goals of the particular subject. Teachers will include attendance as part of the instructional objectives for the class.


Students and their parents are responsible for complying with district policy and the compulsory attendance laws of Washington State. To that end, students are required to be in attendance and on time for their assigned classes when school is in session. In addition, students must check out with the office if they are leaving campus prior to the end of the school day. Students will not be granted permission to leave early without approval of parent/guardian note or by phone in an emergency situation. Failure to follow proper checkout procedures will result in disciplinary action as associated with truancy/unexcused absences.

Parents/guardians will be notified after the fourth absence by regular mail and by certified mail after the seventh absence during the semester. After the student has received his/her eleventh absence, parents/guardians and the student’s teachers will be notified and a staffing will be called to consider whether the student will be passing their coursework. Students who have lost credit due to absences will remain in the class to continue their educational experience. By remaining in the class and continuing to do the assigned work, the student avoids receiving an F grade, which would have an adverse effect on overall grade point average (“NC” does not affect gpa). If the student’s behavior becomes a problem, he/she will be removed from the class and receive an “F” grade.

Coming to class more than 15 minutes late is considered an absence. 

Washington Administrative Code on "Excused/Unexcused Absence:"



WAC 392-400-325 Statewide definition of excused and unexcused daily absences.

Excused daily absences

The following are valid excuses for absences from school:

(1) Participation in a district or school approved activity or instructional program;

(2) Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including, but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental or optometry) for the student or person for who the student is legally


(3) Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;

(4) Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;

(5) Court, judicial proceeding, or serving on a jury;

(6) Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;

(7) State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;

(8) Absence directly related to the student's homeless status;

(9) Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;

(10) Absence resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action (e.g., short-term or long-term suspension, emergency expulsion);and

(11) Principal (or designee) and parent, guardian, or emancipated youth mutually agreed upon approved activity. The school principal (or designee) has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excusedabsence.


Unexcused daily absences

Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence.

When a student has been absent from class, he/she is required to bring a note to the office from his/her parent/guardian verifying the absence. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill this requirement. Please see section “Admit Slips” for more information.



Truancy/unexcused absence is a violation of law and district rules and will result in disciplinary action and possible court actions. Some examples of truancy are:

·         Leaving class without permission

·         Skipping class

·         Being absent without parental and school permission

·         Missing assigned detention

Along with disciplinary action that will be imposed as a result of truancy, students will not be allowed to make up any work missed for credit. (Students may complete assignments or any other work to maintain progress in a given class. This work will not be counted toward the quarter or semester grade.)

Pre-Arranged Absences (Complete a PRIOR)

When possible, the student should pre-arrange absences by completing a pre-arranged absence form (i.e. prior). An oral or written request from the parent/guardian is required before a student will be allowed to complete a pre-arranged absence form. Students must be in attendance for all classes to be eligible for extra-curricular activities (practice and/or games) on that day unless they had completed a pre-arranged absence form for the absence, or under extenuating circumstances, have the approval of the principal/designee.

Parents and students are strongly encouraged to review the school calendar and when at all possible, schedule activities such as appointments, vacations, shopping, fishing, work, etc., on days that would not require missing school. When it is not possible to plan a family vacation during these times, a two week advance pre-arranged absence must be completed, and the student must have the work completed when he/she returns or with teacher approval may make it up when he/she returns. 


Any student having a total of seven (7) unexcused absences in a month or ten (10) in a school year will have a truancy petition filed in the Superior Court of Washington, Stevens County (Juvenile Division) as per state law (RCW28A.225.090).


Steps for students to follow when absent from school:

1) Having a parent/guardian write a note stating student name, date, days of absence, and reason for absence to the office within 48 hours of returning to school. If you are over 18 years of age, you will still need an excuse signed by your parent/guardian, unless approved by the administration and emancipated through the courts.

2) Present excuse to the office and obtain an admit slip BEFORE school starts. Teachers will not admit a previously absent student without an admit slip from the office.

3) Admit slips must be obtained prior to the start of class on the day you return to school. No admit slips will be given to a student with an unexcused absence or no note.

4) Have admit slip signed by all your teachers and turn it in to the office or leave it with your last period teacher.

5) If the absence is due to work, travel, or some other reason, your parent/guardian should notify the school in writing prior to the absence to obtain a pre-arranged excuse.


Click here for more information on reporting absences