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 health care professional or doctor’s note is required if a student is ill for six or more consecutive days noting the specific dates being excused.
  • Health care appointments
  • Emergency—please specify family or personal
  • Family matter—not prearranged
  • 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. The school cannot excuse absences for trips taken by students unless these trips involve direct supervision by the school or the family.

Per our Regulation 5113, a custodial parent or legal guardian must excuse absences within three days of the student’s return to school. It is the responsibility of the student or parent to arrange for any makeup work. For absences of more than two consecutive days, please contact the attendance clerk at 360-313-3422 for assistance, if needed.

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

  • After two unexcused absences, the parent/guardian is contacted to schedule a conference with the attendance clerk.
  • After five unexcused absences (truancies), school officials will enter into an unexcused absence report and agreement requiring both student and parent/guardian signatures.
  • After seven unexcused absences in a month, or 10 in a school year, the student will be referred to the district’s office of student welfare and attendance, which is required to file a petition in juvenile court alleging a violation of Washington state’s Becca mandatory attendance law.

If an absence/tardy is not excused, it will be considered a truancy. Truancy is missing a class period or full school day (three periods) without permission.

A student is tardy when he or she enters the classroom after the tardy bell and within the first 15 minutes of class time. It is considered an unexcused absence if the arrival is later. If a student is tardy due to a school-related issue, the student can get a pass from the teacher or counselor the student has been with to get the tardy excused. The attendance clerk will be able to excuse it.

Gaiser Middle School is a closed campus. This means that once a student arrives on campus, they may not leave. When a student needs to leave during the school day, the student is required to bring a written note from the parent/guardian to the attendance office in the morning before school. If the pickup time is on the note, the student can be in the attendance office waiting.

Parents/guardians must check in at the attendance office, show photo ID and then sign out their children when taking them out of school early. If someone on the student’s emergency contact list is picking up the student, the name of that person needs to be on the note. Per VPS policy, the parent/guardian must authorize each and every pickup. All people on the emergency contact list must be at least 18 years of age. If the child returns during the school day, the parent/guardian should sign in the student or provide a note to the attendance 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.