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Gunn Attendance Office
(650) 354-8210 or 354-8231
Communication between the Attendance Office and Home
The Attendance Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Messages may be left on voicemail any time of the day or night. The information provided will be documented by the Attendance clerks the next working day. It 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 48 hours of the absence. Failure to do so will result in a student receiving a cut for the class, possible loss of opportunity to make-up work or tests and/or being dropped from class(es). Absences and cuts may not be excused or errors corrected after the date which 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. 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.
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.
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/tests. Prior approval form process:
- Fill out the form.
- Take the form to Principal’s office for tentative approval signature.
- Secure parent and pick up form in the Attendance Office 3 school days in advance of the visit.
- Teacher signature with assignments listed.
- Take the form to Principal’s office for final approval signature 24 hours in advance.
- 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 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.
Absences which do not qualify above shall be considered in this category. No student shall be granted credit for assignments nor may a student be permitted to make up tests for any unexcused absence.
Absences without parent, guardian or school approval shall be marked as cuts.
Consequences for cuts (per semester):
- One, two, and three cuts: Parents shall be notified via auto dialer for each absence and a Cut Letter shall also be sent home after the third cut.
- Four cuts: At the fourth cut, the student will be assigned to Saturday School and placed on an Attendance Contract. It is the student’s responsibility to clear any absences before the Saturday School date.
- Five cuts: An administrator will verify the cut record with the teacher. If the teacher and administrator agree, the administrator will drop the student from the course. Parent, student, and guidance counselor will be notified. On the grade sheet, the teacher shall reflect that the class was dropped for non-attendance with an “NC”. The class will be listed on the student’s transcript.
• Other Absences – Absences with parent approval that do not qualify as excused absences as listed above (vacation, ski trips, home but not sick, care for siblings, etc.) shall be recorded as “Other,” but are not excused absences. Students shall not be granted credit for assignments nor will students be permitted to make up tests missed for an “Other” absence.
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.
Gunn High School policy states that students arriving after the bell rings are late to class and shall be marked tardy, except with written permission (pass) from a staff member. Consequences for tardies shall be the responsibility of the classroom teacher. At the 5th tardy in a class, the student is assigned to Saturday School. Students may be dropped from the class on the 8th tardy. If a teacher chooses not to use the policy outlined below, they must explicitly state their own classroom policy to their students. All teachers need to share their method of tracking attendance and their consequences with students at the start of their course either verbally or in writing.
Process and Procedure
- 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 Saturday School. See the Gunn Web site for these dates.
- On the 8th tardy, the teacher confers with an administrator or Dean about dropping the student from the course. An administrator will verify the tardy record with the teacher. If the student is to be dropped from the course, the teacher will inform the student of the drop. Parent, student, and guidance counselor will be notified of the drop. The Assistant Principal or Dean will send a copy of the written notification/confirmation of the drop to the parent and the student will be dropped from the class. A student dropped from a class due to cuts or tardies will not be allowed to transfer to another section of the same course.
Non-Attendance and Tardiness
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. While disciplinary action may be used in district classrooms as an effective way of responding to nonattendance and tardiness, persistent unexcused absences and tardies may result in a student being dropped from class. 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.
Students who accrue a fourth cut in any class will be assigned to Saturday School and will be placed on contract in that class. Students who accrue one cut in any one class will be assigned to Saturday School. Students who accrue five tardies in any one class will be assigned to Saturday School.