Gunn Attendance Office

                 Communication via email is preferred.

PHONE: (650) 354-8210

Urgent or time sensitive messages may be left on : (650) 354-8231

Communication between the Attendance Office and Home

The Attendance Office hours are 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. 
Messages may be left on voicemail any time of the day or night.
Messages left after 2.30 p.m. will be documented by the Attendance clerks the next working dayIt is the parent’s responsibility to know when their student is not in school and to provide the reason for all absences to the school within 72 hours of the absence. Failure to do so will result in a student receiving a cut for the class and possible loss of opportunity to make-up work or tests. 

When leaving a message, please speak slowly and clearly when providing the following information:

  •  State and spell the name of the student.
  •  Provide the grade level of the student
  •  State and spell your name. State your relationship to the student.
  •  Give the reason for the absence and the days/periods missed.
  •  Provide a valid telephone number where you may be reached.

Absences and cuts may not be excused or errors corrected after the date for which the monthly attendance report is submitted to the district and state. These reports are submitted on the Wednesday following the end of each attendance month.

Only the legal parent/guardian may excuse a student’s absence or tardy

  • If your student is “on campus” at the time of an absence, they will require a staff member to excuse them. 

  •  If your student is ill and cannot attend class, they need to report to the Health Office.

Auto Dialer

It is the parent’s responsibility to know when their student is not in school or class. The Auto-dialer system assists in communicating to the home when a student is absent from class; however it is not a perfect system. We encourage parents/guardians to have frequent communication with the attendance office regarding their student’s attendance.

Excused Absences

Health, bereavement, pre-arranged college visits, family emergency, religious holidays and warranted absences are the only absences that are considered excused absences.

College Visitation-Prior Approval

Seniors and second semester juniors, with written prior approval, may take five (5) days of Independent Study to visit college campuses. Students who do not complete a college visitation form to the Main Office will be charged with an “other” excuse for classes/days missed and may lose the opportunity to make up assignments/testsPrior approval form process:

  • Fill out the form, with parent and student signatures.
  • Take the form to Principal’s office for tentative approval signature.
  • Obtain teacher signature with assignments listed.
  • Take the form to Principal’s office for final approval signature 24 hours in advance.
  • Take form to Attendance Office so they can document the absence with “red other” excuse.
  • Secure college admission’s office signature while on the visit.
  • Turn form into the Attendance Office on the first day of return from the visit.  The “other” excuse will be changed to a “college visit” excuse.

The teacher of any class from which a student is absent shall determine what assignments the student shall make up and in what period of time the student shall complete such assignments. Upon satisfactory completion, full credit shall be granted. The tests and assignments shall be equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, that which the student missed during the absence.

Warranted Absence Form


  • Obtain a “Warranted Absence Form” from the main office
  • Return the form, with a letter from home, at least 3 days in advance of the requested absence
  • Obtain a tentative approval signature from an administrator
  • Obtain parent and teacher signatures, along with class assignments
  • Return the form to the main office for final administrator approval at least 24 hours in advance of the absence.

The teacher of any class from which a student is absent shall determine what assignments the student shall make up and in what period of time the student shall complete such assignments. Upon satisfactory completion, full credit shall be granted. The tests and assignments shall be equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to those which the student missed during the absence.


Other Absences

When referring to your student’s attendance record on line, a personal excuse code will either have a red background or a green background. 

Other Excused:  OTE, green background

The OTE code, (Personal Excused absence) code (green background), results from the student filling out a Warranted Absence form PRIOR to the absence.  This code is used for warranted personal absences or absences at the discretion of the Administration.  A Warranted Absence is an absence that is educationally based.

Other Unexcused:   OTU, red background

The OTU code, (Personal Unexcused absence), (red background), is used to excuse personal commitment absences such as non-health related appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of school hours or when no Warranted Absence form has been completed (vacation, ski trips, home, but not sick, care for siblings, etc.). 

Even though this code does have a red background, the student’s absence IS excused by the school.  The absence is NOT treated as a CUT and will NOT go on the student’s transcript.  However, the “other unexcused” absence is still coded as unexcused and teachers are not obligated to grant credit for assignments, nor permit a student to make up tests they may miss while absent for this personal reason.

Unexcused Absences

1.  Cuts

Absences without parent, guardian or school approval shall be marked as cuts.  Consequences for cuts (per semester):

  • One, two, and three cuts:  If possible, parents shall be notified via auto dialer for each absence.  Truancy Letter #1 will also be sent home after the third cut.
  • Four cuts:  At the fourth cut, the student will be assigned to Thursday School.  It is the student’s responsibility to clear any absences before the Thursday School date.  Truancy letter #2 will be sent home at the fourth cut.
  • Five cuts:  Truancy Letter #3 will be sent home.

2.  Questionable/Excessive Absenteeism

In cases of questionable or excessive absenteeism, the school district may require a variety of reasonable methods for verification of illness, such as written excuses from parents or documentation from a physician or other health providers.


Teacher files tardy policy with Instructional Supervisor & Principal at start of year.

Teacher formally notifies student:

  • Class expectations stated at the beginning of a course.
  • At the 3rd tardy, a verbal warning to the student.
  • At the 5th tardy, the teacher officially notifies the student, parent, counselor and Attendance Office with a Notification of Tardiness.  As a consequence, the student is assigned to the next Thursday School.  Refer to Attendance Office personnel or Gunn website for these dates.
  • At 8 or more tardies, the teacher will notify the student, parent, counselor and an administrator, and may request one or more of the following actions be taken;  assignment to additional Thursday School session, loss of open-campus privileges, family meeting, referral to SARB process, counseling referral, and/or loss of prep periods.


Attendance Policy (BP & AR 5113 & BP & AR 5113.1)

The Palo Alto Unified School District recognizes that success in school is in part related to prompt and regular classroom attendance. Frequent absences or tardies, which result in a student’s missing all or parts of presentations, demonstrations, discussions, explanations, and/or other classroom activities, are detrimental to the individual student and the class. Student non-attendance and/or persistent tardiness are therefore matters of serious concern. When a student’s class load falls below five (5) classes, he/she is referred to the Alternative Program Review Team for possible placement in Continuation or Opportunity School. A student must be enrolled in and attending five (5) classes in order to be a student at Gunn High School.

SARB: The School Attendance Review Board

This is a district-level committee which diverts minor students with school attendance or behavior problems from the Juvenile Court System and provides a forum where the problems affecting school adjustment can be discussed and solutions reached. To prevent students from establishing a continuing pattern of poor attendance or behavior, SARB may make dispositions which range from returning a student to the school of attendance under strict contract to making an involuntary transfer to another district program or educational option. Whereas the primary purpose is diversion, SARB is also the primary vehicle for referring students to the Juvenile Justice System once it is clear that they can no longer profit from the resources which the school district has to offer.

Thursday School

  • Students who accrue a fourth cut in any class will be assigned to Thursday School.
  • Students who accrue five tardies in any one class can be assigned to Thursday School by their teacher.