Monterey Hills Elementary School

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Attendance & Punctuality

South Pasadena Unified School District

Elementary Attendance Policy

2019 - 2020

Punctuality - Beginning of the Day

One of the most valuable life skills a student can learn with the help of parents/guardians is the responsibility of arriving at school on time every day.  Furthermore, one of the most important times of the school day is first thing in the morning. This is the time when teachers define the plans for the day, instructional goals are reviewed and set, and important school and class news is announced.  The whole tone of a child’s school day is set in this first part of the day. Please support your child in learning the habit of punctuality to help with greater success at school and throughout life.

Arroyo Vista, Marengo, and Monterey Hills begin at 8:10 AM when students enter classrooms.  Students are considered LATE if they are not inside their classrooms at 8:15 AM.  On rainy days there is a grace period of 10 minutes; students are considered LATE if they are not inside their classrooms at 8:25 AM.

Arriving late can be disruptive for your child, the teacher and other students in the class.

  • LATE = 30 minutes or less late to class (8:15 - 8:45 AM)
    • Parents may excuse up to 3 Late entries per trimester.  Thereafter, Lates will be reviewed and families will be contacted if Unexcused Lates exceed 5.
  • TARDY = 31 minutes or more late to school without a valid excuse (8:46 AM or later)


Attendance is one of the biggest indicators of school success.  Students who attend school regularly are naturally exposed to more than those who are routinely absent; when students miss school they miss educational opportunities.  Valuable classroom lessons, interactive experiences, and discussions are unique to the learning environment. These shared experiences cannot be recaptured or retained when a student is absent.  Missing school hurts students’ confidence and motivation. It is also challenging for our teachers and staff to prepare our students for success if they are not in attendance. Please help prepare your child for success by establishing the habit of good attendance.  Our focus in 

South Pasadena, as well as at the state level, is that students should be present and on time at least 95% 

of the days in a school year.  

The state of California has a compulsory education law that states students are required to attend school punctually and regularly.  

  • When a student misses 10% of the school year (18 days), regardless of whether the absences are excused or unexcused, he/she is considered “Chronically Absent.”  Ed Code: 60901 (c) (1)

Absences can add up quickly; a child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month.

SPUSD affirms the following  Attendance Levels:

Total Absences in a School Year


Outstanding 0 - 4 absences 98% - 100%

Meeting expectations 5 - 9 absences 95% - 97%

At Risk 10 - 17 absences 91% - 94%

Chronic 18 or more absences 90% and below

The following are types of absences as defined by the State of California Education Code:

  Excused Absences       *Although excused, these absences still result in loss of state funding for our schools.

    • Illness (after the 5th day of illness a doctor’s note may be required)
    • Medical Appointment  (e.g. medical, dental, chiropractic, counseling/therapy)
    • Attendance at a funeral service for an immediate family member
  • Observance of a religious ceremony/holiday
  • Extraordinary family circumstances (excused at the discretion of the principal)

Unexcused Absences include all other reasons for absences not listed above.  

  • Personal, Out of Town, Family Vacation, Oversleeping, Car Trouble, etc.

Verifying Absences  Please verify your child’s absence within 3 days with a written note, email or phone call.

Independent Study

Although SPUSD discourages students from missing school, we recognize there may be unavoidable events that occur during the school year.  If a student will be out of school for five or more days under these circumstances, parents may request Independent Study. Please see the front office staff at least 5 days before the unavoidable event to discuss and possibly complete an Independent Study contract.

Please monitor attendance on the Parent/Student Portal ( to ensure absence codes are correct and your student is meeting SPUSD’s Attendance Expectation of 95% or higher.

To support our students in developing successful attendance and punctuality habits, the following steps will be implemented for excessive absences and late arrivals:

Daily absence

Automatic notification phone call if the absence has not been verified by parent/guardian.

2+ Unexcused absences in a month   (or)

6 Tardies since the beginning of the year

Phone call or email home alerting parent/guardian of the “at risk” status for the month.

Cumulative absence total of 94% or lower = At Risk or Chronic   (monthly review)

Letter sent home.  Possible additional call from district personnel to discuss attendance issue.

10-12 Absences 

Letter sent home and Parent Conference with student to develop an action plan to improve student’s attendance.

14 Absences

Letter and follow up meeting - SART (Student Attendance Review Team) to discuss continued problem and sign a contract with an updated action plan.

16 Absences

Letter and 2nd SART meeting as well as possible further action.