Attendance and The Office
- Report an Absence
- Student Attendance & Punctuality
- Valid Reasons for “Lates” to School
- Valid Reasons for Absences
- Excused Absences Limit
- Unexcused Absences and Truancy
- Independent Study Plans
- High School Shadowing
- Appointments and Signing In or Out
- Absences and School Events
- Telephones/Cell Phones
Student Attendance & Punctuality
We appreciate your partnership in seeing that your child attends school every day and working with your child’s teacher and school administration when your child must be absent.
The only reasons you can excuse your child for being late to school are the following:
Your child arrives late to school due to feeling unwell. Note, any child who has experienced cold or flu-like symptoms including fever, vomiting, and diarrhea must remain home for at least 24 hours and be cleared by the nurse before coming back to school.
They had a medical or dental appointment.
They rode the bus to school and the bus was late.
If your child is late to school, they must check in at the office, and the “late” will be coded according to the reason. An excused late will be represented as an “L” in PowerSchool, while an unexcused late (or tardy) will be represented as a “T or 3”.
When you check attendance information in PowerSchool, the number listed under “Tardies” will include both excused and unexcused lates, but if you click on that number, you will be able to see which are excused L’s and which are unexcused T/3’s.
In order to encourage punctuality, students will receive consequences for excessive tardies to school or to a class** within the school day. The following guidelines apply within each trimester. At the end of the trimester, a student “resets” to zero.
- Tardies 1 and 2 are “warnings” each trimester and no consequence will result.
Tardies 3, 4, and 5 each earn a 30-minute lunch detention.
Tardies 6 and above each earn an Extended After-School Detention.
This extended detention is served after school from 3:05 - 5:00 pm (or 2:35 - 4:30 on a block day). During this time, students will complete campus service projects, reflect upon their choices that earned this consequence, and set goals for changing their behavior in the future.
**Tardies to class that exceed 15 minutes, will be considered “cutting class” which may result in an Extended After-School Detention.
Valid Reasons for Absences
(As determined by California Education Code and MPCSD Board Policy 5113)
Absences from school are excused for a number of reasons. The most common reasons students are excused for being absent are as follows:
Illness or medical/dental procedures
Attending a funeral (1 day if attending in CA and 3 days for out of State)
Other valid reasons, such as shadowing at a school, or for a court appearance
If you are absent for any of the reasons above, your PowerSchool attendance code for that day will be an “X,” meaning an excused absence.
Trips, vacations, sporting activities, and securing a passport are not considered excused absences. Students may only have two (2) unexcused absences within a given school year. Upon the third unexcused absence of the year, the student may be considered truant per MPCSD Board Policy 5113.1. Truancy is a technical term that means your child has missed too much school.
In accordance with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California school districts are required to monitor and address chronic absence, as it is an essential LCFF accountability measure within the Pupil Engagement section of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Please communicate with your child’s teachers, as well as with our attendance clerk, Monica Bosch, at least one week in advance of a planned trip by having your child complete this Planned Absence Google Form. At the end of the form, your child will download a paper planning sheet to help them meet with their teachers so they are aware of work and assessments that need to be completed.
If you are absent, but not for a valid reason, your PowerSchool attendance code for that day will be a “U,” meaning an unexcused absence.
**If you have been treated by a doctor and diagnosed with a condition, e.g., a concussion, that excludes you from participating in physical activities, you will be asked not to take part in unstructured physical activities on the field and courts, and you will be asked to take time off of after physical school activities, as these activities can further aggravate your condition.
Excused Absences Limit
A parent can only excuse a student for a valid reason fourteen (14) times within a given school year. After the 14th absence, a doctor’s note is needed to excuse your child; otherwise the absence will be coded a “U.”
In order to encourage attendance and align our district policies to the LCAP requirements, MPCSD has created the following attendance plan:
At 3 unexcused absences, a caution attendance letter from the school is sent home to families.
At 6 unexcused absences, a mandatory conference with a site administrator and a plan for good attendance habits is developed and agreed upon.
At 8 unexcused absences, a student is defined as a “Habitual Truant” and the case is referred to the Director of Students Services for the Menlo Park City School District.
- At 10 unexcused absences, parent attendance at the Student Attendance and Review Board (SARB) is required for students. Parents are encouraged to notify the school of extenuating circumstances. Parents of students who miss more than 10% of the school year or have extended absences will be notified and this notification will become part of the student’s permanent school record.
We realize that many parents take their children on educational trips and out of school for other enriching experiences. Menlo Park City School District is pleased to offer an Independent Study Program (ISP). This will allow your child to be away from school equipped with appropriate educational curriculum and materials. If they will be away from school for 3 or more school days, an ISP must be arranged. MPCSD board policy also notes that an ISP cannot be longer than 10 consecutive school days. The District Office will disenroll your child if they are gone for longer than 10 days.
To arrange an ISP for your child, please complete the Request for an ISP Form. This will notify our attendance clerk, Monica Bosch and both you and your child will receive a customized planning sheet to be completed by the student and their teachers. Upon successful completion of the ISP, which includes submitting all assigned work and returning the signed form to email@example.com for the principal’s signature. Your child’s absence will be coded as “ISP” once the entire process is complete instead of “II,” which is unexcused.
High School Shadowing
Many eighth grade students “shadow” or attend a preview/trial run day at local area high schools during the fall and winter. Because of our modified block schedule, we highly recommend that students not shadow on block days (Wednesday and Thursday) in order to avoid missing extended class periods. Students who shadow are responsible for all work missed while not at school. They will need to complete Hillview’s Planned Absence Google Form. At the end of the form, your child will download a paper planning sheet to help them meet with their teachers so they are aware of work and assessments that need to be completed.
For attendance purposes, ONLY 3 shadow days count as excused absences. After 3 shadow days, any other shadow days will be considered unexcused absences. In addition, attending testing for private school entry is not considered an excused absence.
Appointments and Signing In or Out
When your child must leave school for a medical or other excused appointment, it is necessary to bring a note from a parent stating the date, the reason for leaving, and the time of the appointment. This note should be shown to both your child’s teacher at the start of the class period and to an adult in the office when the student is about to leave campus. A student with a note should plan to leave class at the appropriate time without waiting for a phone call from the office. For the safety of your child, an adult whose name is specified on the child’s emergency ID card must sign the student out and indicate time of departure in the office sign-in/sign-out book. When a student returns on the same day, they may sign themselves back in.
Absences and School Events
School-sponsored extracurricular activities, such as dances, performances, and practices are important at Hillview; however, they are not more important than school. In order for a student to participate in any school-sponsored after-school activity, they must attend half of the school day (shadow days are an exception). If a student misses more than half the day, they are ineligible to participate in any school-sponsored extracurricular activity on that day. While not a school-sponsored activity, the after school sports and enrichment classes sponsored by PTO also follow these same guidelines.
For the safety of Hillview students, all visitors must report to the office and sign in upon arrival at school and wear a visitor name tag for identification purposes. Please check in at the office in order to obtain a visitor name tag.
We love when our Hillview graduates visit; however, we DO NOT allow former students on campus during the school day. If former students would like to visit, they must do so outside of school hours (after 3:05 on M, T, or F; after 2:30 on W or Th).
School telephones are for school business and emergency purposes. If a student needs to contact a parent, they can come to the office during non-instructional time and ask permission to use the student phone. Students may also use classroom phones with teacher/staff member permission. Students are expected to demonstrate responsibility by bringing their belongings, schoolwork, and lunches to school, minimizing the need to call parents to “rescue” them. Students are reminded to keep personal cell phones off and in their backpacks during regular school hours.