School Practices & Policies » Attendance and Absence Reporting Procedures

Attendance and Absence Reporting Procedures

Attendance & Absence Reporting Procedures

Contact Information:


Lily Janey




[email protected]



Attendance Expectations 2023-24

Regular and timely attendance is essential to student success. Additionally, the California Department of Education provides ADA (daily attendance funds) only for those students who attend school. Any absence, excused or unexcused, means the school does not receive funding. 

Illness at School

Students who are ill or have a fever should not be sent to school. If illness or fever develops at school, we will call a parent/guardian for pick-up. Students should stay home from school 24 hours after having a fever. Students who feel ill may rest in the office for up to ten minutes and then must go back to class or call a guardian for pick-up. Students leaving school must have permission and must sign out.

Attendance Reporting

Per California Education Code, absences can only be excused for the following reasons: illness/mental health, medical appointments, court dates, religious observations, funerals, and approved Independent Study contracts

When a student is absent from school, their parent/guardian should verify the reason for the absence by explaining the reason for the absence. This is required from California Education Code Section 46012. 


Parents have a maximum of 5 days to excuse an absence. An automated message will be sent to parents/guardians for students who were marked absent without parent/guardian verification. 

If a student has been absent for 10 whole or partial days due to medical/illness, we are required to ask for a doctor’s note to excuse any medical/illnesses after the 10th day. This means if you call to excuse your child for a partial absence (even just 1 period) due to illness or a medical appointment but do not provide a doctor’s note, that partial absence counts as 1 whole day out of the 10 allotted excused absences. Any medical/illnesses already excused by a doctor in the first 10 days of absence are not counted toward this requirement. As a general guideline, it's always better to have an excuse note from the doctor than not. 

If your child is coming to school late or leaving early, especially if they will enter or leave campus alone, please contact the main office and confirm with an adult at 510-558-3600 or 3613. Our student aides answer the phones, so please be patient and request to speak with an adult for any attendance-related information.

To excuse your student’s absence, please:

  • Email [email protected] or [email protected] on the day of the absence and each subsequent day. Alternatively, you may call (510)558-3613 to speak with Lily (attendance clerk) about the absence.
  • Students arriving late for any reason must sign in at the office. 

Closed Campus

Albany Middle School is a closed campus. To ensure safety, students must remain on campus at all times unless specifically excused by a parent. If a student must leave before the end of the school day, they must sign out in the office prior to leaving. Once students arrive at school, they are to remain until leaving for home at the end of the school day. If a student needs to leave before the end of the school day by themselves, the parent/guardian must call the main office and tell office staff the student’s name, date and time of dismissal. If a student returns the same day, they must sign in at the office.

Extended Trips

Family trips should be arranged during summer and other school breaks as extended absences affect a student’s academic progress and grades. Alternative assignments while on trips do not fully take the place of daily attendance and participation in class. If an extended absence is unavoidable, parents/guardians must request an Independent Study form from the office at least 10 school days prior to the student’s departure. Independent study can only be arranged for absences of 5 to 20 days and cannot be granted the last two weeks of the year. Students can only receive Independent Study once per semester. Please also notify the teachers of the upcoming absence.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the differences between excused and unexcused absences?

Whether the absence is excused or unexcused, the school will not receive funding (ADA). Please see the chart below for more information on what excused/unexcused absences mean.


Students can complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence, receiving full credit for completed work.


Students may be able to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence, receiving full credit for completed work.

  • Bereavement → Attending the funeral services of a member of the immediate family (1 day for California service, 3 days for out of state)
  • Completed Independent Study → Must be for a minimum of 5 school days and must be arranged at least 10 school days in advance.
  • Legal → Required appearance in court
  • Illness or medical appointment

Dr. note required after 10th day.

  • Religious holiday or ceremony

  • Vacation/Trips → This includes vacations, retreats, family reunions, and trips planned far in advance.
  • Unverified → Any absence that is not called in within 5 days is marked as unverified, even if the student is out for an excusable reason.
  • Incomplete Independent Study → If independent study work is not complete, the absence is not excused.
  • Suspensions
  • Tardies to class

Tardies greater than 30 minutes are considered to be a cut from class.

  1. Why should a parent/guardian excuse their child’s absence?

An excused absence allows a student absent from school with an excused absence to be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit. The teacher of the class from which a pupil is absent shall determine which tests and assignments shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the pupil missed during the absence.

  1. What is the process for a child with more than 3 unexcused absences/tardies?

You will receive a letter from the school upon the 3rd and the consequently upon the 5th absence/truancy. On the second letter (5th absence/truancy) you will be asked to attend a SART meeting. Additional unexcused absences will result in a referral to the School Attendance Review Board and possible referral to the District Attorney for prosecution.

  1. I just got a truancy letter, and I’m confused! I thought “truancy” indicated that a child skipped/ditched school. Why would my child be considered “Truant” if I called to verify the absence?

In accordance with Education Code of the State of California [EC § 48260-48273], any pupil who is absent from school for 3 partial or whole days, or more without a valid excuse, or tardy in excess of 30 minutes or more (Tardies are only excused with a parent verification for illness, doctor/dental note for appointments), is “truant”. Students with unverified absences, as well as unexcused absences will receive a truancy letter. Compulsory Education Law requires a student to attend a full day every day! 

  1. I got a notification that my student was absent for one class; do I need to contact the teacher or attendance office to fix this if I know my student was in class?

Every day, our attendance clerk goes through all unverified absences from the previous day. If a student is marked absent in only one or two classes, the attendance clerk reaches our teachers, counseling, and other relevant staff to check in about the absence and make sure it was marked correctly. Parents can reach out about these absences, but they will be handled in the same timely manner as all other unverified partial day absences.

  1. I received a notification that my child was tardy, but they told me they were not tardy/I have a reason that they were tardy. What should I do?

If your student is late to school, they will need to sign in at the front office. Unless it was due to an excusable reason (see question #1 for a breakdown of excused/unexcused reasons), the tardy will be unexcused. Please get a note from the doctor or other official documentation to excuse a tardy if possible. Getting caught in traffic, having a flat tire, or other reasons like that will not excuse a tardy. Our tardy policy is designed that an occasional tardy is not a big deal; students need to accumulate five tardies within two weeks to be reported to the assistant principal.

If your student was marked tardy in between classes, and they report it was an error, please email the student’s teacher that marked them tardy, and cc our attendance clerk ([email protected] or [email protected]). Tardies are marked and adjusted according to the discretion of the person who marked them tardy, which is most often their teacher.

  1. I thought schools got “paid” when kids are sick or their absence is excused?

Schools do NOT receive funding even if the absence is excused. This law went into effect in 1998. Any absence is a loss of revenue as well as instructional opportunities. 

  1. How much revenue is really lost due to attendance?

The State of California funds attendance not absences. That is why schools in California are funded on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). ADA is the primary funding source for all schools/school districts in California. Albany Unified School District receives $57 dollars for every day a student is in attendance on a daily basis, and therefore on the contrary, AUSD loses $57 dollars per day that a student is absent, whether excused or unexcused. During the 2022-23 school year at AMS, there were a total of 4,914 all-day student absences at Albany Middle School. This resulted in a loss in ADA funding of approximately $280,098 for AUSD.