Make school attendance a habit rather than a choice!
One of the most important things your children can do to achieve academic success is also one of the most basic; going to to school every day. In fact, research has shown that it usually takes students three days to catch up with school work for every day they have missed. By making your child’s school attendance a priority, you will be taking an important step in supporting your child’s success in school, and setting a good example!


What does Washington State Law say?
Washington law requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or to receive home-based instruction (homeschooling). Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they have graduated or acquired a GED. Washington’s truancy law, often termed the “Becca Bill”, is intended to curb school truancy before it becomes habitual. The law requires many things of schools, but only requires one thing of students: attend school! If a student does not attend school the law requires the school district to take action.


Some of the most common reasons for skipping school are oversleeping, wanting to hang out with friends, and being rebellious. However, a student’s refusal to attend school may also be the result of some of the following issues:

  • Behind in schoolwork

  • Leaving home and /or returning at irregular hours

  • Inappropriate school attire

  • Early morning personal phone calls

  • Refusing to go to school

  • Vague health complaints

  • Changes in behavior and routine

  • Unaware of school calendar, class schedule and assignments

  • Never receiving mail from school

  • Failing grades

  • Keeping close company with non‐school attending friends

  • Complaints of conflict with teacher and peers

  • Evidence of alcohol and/or drug use

Coweeman Middle School Attendance Video


  • Help your child get to school on time every day. Babysitting, problems with a car or late bus, and the weather are not permissible reasons to miss school. Coming to school late will also be noted on your child’s permanent record, and will make it difficult for your child to stay caught up with the first lessons of each morning.

  • Follow the school’s guidelines and attendance policy, and report excused absences immediately. At the beginning of the school year, review the school’s rules and make sure you understand whom you need to call if your child is going to be absent.

  • Take an active role. Stay involved with your child’s daily experiences at school by asking how the school day went, and then listening carefully to what your child shares with you both the successes and struggles. Make it a point to meet your child’s teacher and friends.

  • Locate potential sources of anxiety. If your child frequently appears upset or reluctant to go to school and cannot tell you why, schedule an appointment with his or her teacher or school counselor to talk about possible sources of the anxiety.

  • Try to limit the amount of time that your child misses school due to medical appointments or illness. If possible, avoid scheduling doctor’s appointments during the school day. Allow your child to stay home only in the case of contagious or severe illnesses.

  • Schedule family events with your child’s school schedule in mind. Plan holiday celebrations or family trips during weekends or school vacations. In the case of family emergencies or unexpected trips, talk to your child’s teacher as far in advance as possible and set up a way that your child can work ahead or bring important homework on the trip.

  • Plan ahead. Encourage your child to prepare for the next school day by laying out clothes the night before and helping to fix lunches.

  • Promote good health. Make sure that your child eats a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and has opportunities to exercise every day through a sports team or playtime outside.

  • Create a restful environment. Make sure that your child can relax before bedtime by doing something quiet like reading rather than do something stimulating, like watching television. Ensure that your child gets enough quality sleep ideal amounts range from 8 to 12 hours.

Attendance During COVID-19

During In-Person Instruction

A student is absent from in person learning when the student is NOT in their classroom seat during the school day. A student is absent from in- person instruction when the student is:

  1. Not physically present on school grounds;

  2. Not participating in the following activities at an approved location:

    1. Instruction; or

    2. Any instruction-related activity; or

    3. Any other district or school approved activity that is regulated by an instructional/academic accountability system, such as participation in district-sponsored sports.

Excused absences

The information below is “in addition” to the currently established excused or unexcused absences as defined within Kelso School District Board Policy and Procedures-3122.

 Due to COVID-19, absences due to the following reasons will be excused.

1)    Absences related to the student's illness, health condition, or medical appointments due to COVID-19 or other communicable disease;

2)    Absences related to caring for a family member who has an illness, health condition, or medical appointment due to COVID-19, other communicable disease, or other emergency health condition related to school facility closures;

3)    Absences related to the student's family obligations during regularly scheduled school hours that are temporarily necessary because of school facility closures, until other arrangements can be made; and (d) Absences due to the student's parent's work schedule or other obligations during regularly scheduled school hours, until other arrangements can be made.


What will happen if my child is ill and needs to stay home from school? How will they keep up with their coursework?

If a student is unable to attend school due to being directed to quarantine or isolate, instructional materials and coursework will be available to them by their teachers.  Our teachers and staff will go the extra mile to make sure your student has every opportunity to keep up on their schoolwork during a quarantine period. 

 In some instances, the student may even be able to “zoom” into class depending on the age of the student and the subject matter.  Please reach out to the teacher directly to determine the best learning option for your student.

 When would my student be marked absent from in-person learning?

A student is absent from in- person instruction when the student is not physically present on school grounds.

 During quarantine if my student is able to zoom into a class for instruction, will they still be counted as absent?

Yes.  Your student will still be counted absent, but it is excused. During in person learning, a student must be on campus and in their seat to be marked present.  Absences due to COVID-19 are excused and do not impact truancy.

 If my student is quarantined, do they get extra days to complete their course work?

Yes.  If an absence is excused, the student will be permitted to make up all missed assignments outside of class under reasonable conditions and time limits established by the appropriate teacher.   At a minimum, Kelso School Board Procedure 3122 states that; “A student will be allowed one makeup day for each day of absence.”

What types of accommodations are available for students with special needs?

Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans are provided services determined by their IEP/504 team to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Reasonable accommodations for students with IEPs and 504 plans will be provided as appropriate. Please work with your student's IEP case manager or school counselor for more information on accommodations during time of quarantine of isolation.