Skip To Main Content



Chronic absenteeism is pervasive: as many as one in six students in the United States miss enough school to be considered chronically absent, according to the US Department of Education. The negative effects of absenteeism on a student’s education can be profound, and they often carry into adulthood.

The harmful impact of chronic absenteeism threatens all students, but the risks are not borne equally. Students of color, students who live in poverty, and students with chronic health conditions or disabilities all experience disproportionately high absence rates.

Examining the causes of absenteeism and the effects it has on school performance, and ultimately life outcomes, provides a deeper understanding of why school attendance is so important.

Why Is School Attendance Important?

School attendance is a powerful predictor of student outcomes. In fact, irregular attendance can be a better predictor of whether students will drop out of school before graduation than test scores, according to the US Department of Education.

The correlation between attendance and dropout rates has important ramifications that go beyond the classroom. Compared to their peers who graduate, students who fail to complete their high school education are more likely to live in poverty, suffer poor health, and become involved in the criminal justice system.

Defining and Assessing Chronic Absenteeism in Schools

Chronic absenteeism is widely defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year. Schools generally recognize three categories of absences:

  • Excused absences are those with a valid reason and that have been communicated to the school by a parent. Student illness or other medical conditions are the most common types of excused absence; other reasons include religious observances, medical appointments, and family emergencies.
  • Unexcused absences, or truancy, occur when students miss school without a valid reason. Examples include deliberately skipping school as well as missing school for reasons deemed invalid by the school, such as oversleeping or missing the bus.
  • Disciplinary absences are a result of school suspension.

While these categories of absences are relatively consistent from one institution to another, school attendance policies and practices vary. For example, some school policies make little or no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Similarly, school suspensions may be counted as absences by some school districts but not by others.

Please schedule medical and dental appointments after school hours whenever possible. If you are unable to do so please notify the Attendance Office using one of the methods below, so your student’s attendance can be marked accordingly.

All the absences MUST be verified via phone or email by the parent/ guardian within 24 hours. For your convenience, you can leave a message on the answering machine or the email address listed below 24 hours a day.

Call us: (510) 879-2177

Email Us

If you have a medical note, we would appreciate it if you would send a copy via fax at 510-627-9177 or to the email listed above.