Student in classroom raises their handRegular attendance and punctuality are essential to student learning and success. The skills that students learn in primary school will help them be successful in middle and high school. A student’s attendance often can predict whether they are likely to graduate high school on time.

In addition, your child learns valuable social skills at school and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with students and staff. Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with schoolwork, dealing with a bully or facing a potentially serious difficulty.

Students, parents, teachers and administrators must work together to ensure the continuity of learning. Please let us know how we can support your child and your family in maintaining attendance.

Ways to help establish good attendance

  • Setting a regular bedtime and morning routine can help reduce anxiety.
  • Help your child prepare for school the night before by finishing homework, setting out things needed for the next day and getting enough sleep.
  • Follow district and state health guidelines on when to keep your child home due to illness.
  • When school is in session, avoid extended trips and appointments, if possible.
  • Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor or another parent or guardian.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.

How to excuse an absence

Please contact your child’s school. Absences can be excused if it has been less than three days from the return date. If it has been more than three days, you must have a doctor’s note or get permission from the principal.

Valid reasons for excused absences include:

  • Participation in school-approved activities or instructional program
  • Illness, health conditions, mental health or medical appointment
  • Family emergencies
  • Activity mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and parent/legal guardian or emancipated youth
  • Observance of religious or cultural holidays
  • Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury
  • Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation or scholarship interview
  • Absences directly related to the student’s homeless status
  • Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian
  • State-recognized search and rescue activities
  • Absences resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action

Did you know?

Missing school means missing out on valuable learning experiences that may not be able to be made up. A student can suffer academically if they miss 10% of school days in a year, or 18 days. That can be just one day every two weeks.

The state also defines missing 10% or more of school days per year as chronic absenteeism. The effects of chronic absenteeism include:

  • Increased chance that your child or teen will not read or learn math at the same levels as their peers.
  • By sixth grade, absenteeism is one of the three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By ninth grade, regular attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than eighth-grade test scores.

Battle Ground Public Schools is required by state law to file a court petition when a student has seven days of unexcused absences in the same month, or before the 15th day of unexcused absences during the school year. This petition may be filed against the student, parent or both.

Student climbs the stairs to school. Imprinted on one of the stairs is "Every journey begins with a single step."


State law

The state law for mandatory attendance, called the Becca Bill, requires children ages 8-17 to attend a public school, private school or a district-approved home school program. Children under 7 years old are not required to be enrolled in school; however, once a child is enrolled after the age of 5, the student must attend full-time.


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