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Attendance Enhancement and Truancy Reduction. Bakersfield City School District Student Services Department Mike Skiba - Supervisor September 2011. Goals. Identify the laws which apply to school attendance.

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attendance enhancement and truancy reduction

Attendance Enhancement and Truancy Reduction

Bakersfield City School DistrictStudent ServicesDepartment

Mike Skiba - Supervisor

September 2011

goals
Goals
  • Identify the laws which apply to school attendance.
  • Introduce the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) members and their role on the board.
  • Define truancy.
  • Identify what is and is not a legally valid excuse to be absent from school.
  • List the efforts that are made to assist students and families overcome obstacles preventing them from regular attendance at school.
  • Give participants a complete overview of the SARB process and how to make a referral to the SARB.
  • Describe the consequences a students and families face for non-compliance with mandatory attendance laws.
what we are up against
What We Are Up Against

The following is an actual message from a parent taken by a Student Services Department staff member:

Re: SARB meeting today @ 11:15 a.m. Cannot come – wants to reschedule because she is running from CPS, needs to get drug tested, needs to get renewal for food stamps and cash aid, needs to meet with PGE because utilities cut and has no power, and needs to meet with bank because home foreclosed on.

the team
The Team
  • School site staff
  • Mike Skiba – SARB Chairperson
  • Holly Mitchell – Deputy District Attorney
  • Javier Rios – Probation Officer/Attendance Coordinator
  • Kelly Earls, Debbie Wood – Health Services
  • Hal Lockey – Child Protective Services
  • Jennifer Painter, Fran Gunner, Cynthia Romero, Rosie Painter– BCSD staff
  • Yesenia Gonzalez, Janie Pena – Department of Human Services
  • Leticia Gonzalez – Support staff
california s mandatory attendance laws
California’s Mandatory Attendance Laws
  • Every person 6 to 18 years of age not legally exempted must attend public school full-time(Education Code Section 48200, BP 602.13) (emphasis added)
  • “Full” school day (The Governing Board shall fix the length of the school day subject to the provisions of law (Education Code Section 46100, BP 400.8)
  • Excused and unexcused absences (e.g., Health reasons, family emergencies, justifiable personal reasons [Education Code Section 46010, 48216, 48205; BP 602.6])
  • Exemptions from attendance (e.g. private school, private tutor, work permit [Education Code Section 48222 – 48225, 48230, 48231; BP 605.4})
truancy defined
A pupil is a truant if s/he is subject to full-time education and does one or any combination of the following: (1) is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year; or (2) is tardy or absent for more than any 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year (Education Code Section 48260).

* [Or any combination of (1) and (2) above.]

Truancy Defined
do compulsory attendance laws apply to students in special education
Do Compulsory Attendance Laws Apply to Students in Special Education?
  • Yes, PLUS there is a requirement for the district to offer a “Free Appropriate Public Education” to each student identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
outcomes of chronic truancy
Outcomes of Chronic Truancy
  • Truancy is a “Gateway Crime”
  • Reduced opportunities to learn/academic performance
  • Interference with social development
  • Increased risk of child abuse and neglect
  • Increase in community crimes/delinquency
  • At risk for dropping out of school
  • Substance abuse, including early onset of
  • Stress on the child and family
  • Higher rates of emotional problems later in life
  • Later risk for joblessness and poverty
why children might have severe and chronic attendance problems
Why Children Might Have Severe and Chronic Attendance Problems
  • Student (e.g., separation, social, and avoidance anxiety; depression; victimization; juvenile delinquency)
  • Medical(e.g., somatic complaints with or without presence of medical condition)
  • Family (e.g., family pathology - anxious/depressed parent uses student as a support person; substance abuse; student required to work; cover up child abuse/neglect)
  • School(e.g., poor teacher-student relationships; academic difficulties; school climate, bullying)

(Bernstein & Garfinkel, 1986, 1988; Bernstein et. al. 1997; Last, Francis, Hersen, Kazdin, & Strauss, 1987; Kearney, 2001; King et al., 1995; Last & Strauss, 1990)

parent education
Parent Education
  • Parents/guardians and students must understand that school attendance for students 6 – 18 years of age is not a matter of choice, but is a legal mandate.
  • The District also has a duty as assigned by State attendance laws and is required to use appropriate legal means to correct problems of excessive absence or truancy. (BP 602.13 – Truancy)
what does the district do to decrease truancy
What does the District do to Decrease Truancy?

To fulfill its legal duties, the District:

  • Maintains a student attendance accounting system tracking student full day and partial day absences;
  • Requires parents/guardians to provide information to the school whenever a student has a full or partial day absence;
  • Uses incentive programs to encourage attendance;
  • Sends letters or other notices when a student meets the legal definition of a truant;
  • Refers parents/guardians to outside agencies to help resolve the reasons for school absence;
  • Convenes school problem solving teams;
  • Uses a School Attendance Review Board; and
  • Coordinates services with the Office of the District Attorney, the Probation Department, the Department of Human Services including Child Protective Services, and the Health Department.
legally valid excuses for absences most common
Legally Valid Excuses for Absences – Most Common
  • Personal illness of the student.
  • Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic appointments.
  • Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family.
    • Excused absence in this instance shall be limited to one (1) day if the service is conducted in California or three (3) days if the service is conducted out of state.
    • "Immediate family" shall be defined as mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, spouse, son/son-in-law, daughter/daughter-in-law, brother, sister or any relative living in the student's immediate household.

(Education Code Section 48200, BP 602.13)

legally valid excuses for absences less common
Legally Valid Excuses for Absences – Less Common
  • Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer.
  • The illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child to whom the student is the custodial parent.
  • Upon advance written request by the parent/guardian and the approval of the principal or designee, justifiable personal reasons including but not limited to:
    • Appearance in court.
    • Observation of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion; such observation is not subject to the limitations of the following two bullet points.
    • Attendance at religious retreats not to exceed four (4) hours per semester.
    • Participation in religious instruction or exercises in accordance with district policy. In such instances, the student shall attend at least the minimum school day. The student shall be excused for this purpose on no more than four (4) days per school month.
    • Attendance at an employment conference.
    • Attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization.
  • Service as a member of a precinct board for anelection.
unexcused absences most common
Unexcused Absences – Most Common
  • Family vacation
  • Mild stomachache
  • Mild headache
  • Parent’s appointment
  • Parent’s illness
  • Caring for sibling
  • Cutting school
  • Otherwise would have been excused, but parent failed to call school
head lice
Head Lice
  • Students can be excused from school for one (1) day each time they have a new occurrence of head lice.
  • A new occurrence of head lice is defined as being infected with head lice after having been uninfected (clean) for approximately 60 school days.
what happens when a student is identified as a truant
What Happens When a Student is Identified as a Truant?

REMEMBER…

A pupil is a truant if s/he is subject to full time education and: (1) is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year; or (2) partial days for more than any 30-minute period during the school day, or (3) any combination of the above.

what happens when a student is identified as a truant step 1
What Happens When a Student is Identified as a Truant? – Step 1
  • Three unexcused events – T1 letter is sent.
  • Sample T1 letter:

THIS IS A NOTICE THAT <Name of Student> HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS A TRUANT. A pupil is a truant if s/he is subject to full time education and does one or any combination of the following: (1) is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year; or (2) is tardy or absent for more than any 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year (Education Code Section 48260).

We have listed below the days your child was absent from school and/or the dates your child was late over thirty (30) minutes without a valid excuse.

Absent Without a Valid ExcuseTardy/Absent Partial Day:

Over 30 Minutes Without A Valid Excuse

<Date> <Date>

what happens when a student is identified as a truant step 2
What Happens When a Student is Identified as a Truant? – Step 2
  • Fourth unexcused event – T2 letter is sent and effort is made to invite parent to a conference.
  • Sample T2 letter:

THIS IS A NOTICE THAT <Name of Student> IS AGAIN A TRUANT FOR A SECOND TIME DURING THIS SCHOOL YEAR.

I am again writing you concerning your child’s attendance or absence from school for a partial day problem. On <date>, I sent you a notice of your child’s initial classification as a truant. California law provides that a pupil is a truant if s/he is subject to full time education and does one or any combination of the following: (1) is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year; or (2) is tardy or absent for more than any 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year (Education Code Section 48260).

After initially being classified as a truant, your child continues to be absent without a valid excuse. This classifies your child as a truant for a second time (Education Code Section 48261).

Absent Without a Valid ExcuseTardy/Absent Partial Day Over 30 Minutes

Without A Valid Excuse

< Date> <Date>

The law requires you, as a parent/guardian, to send your child to school every day and on time. This is NOT an option. You will leave us with no choice but to refer your case for review by the School Attendance Review Board and/or review for possible prosecution by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office should your child continue to not come to school or to come to school late.

each step escalates the seriousness of the consequences
Each Step Escalates the Seriousness of the Consequences:
  • Letter #1 - Classification as Truant

Letter Only

  • Letter #2 - Second Classification as Truant

Letter & Conference with School Representative

importance of school attendance coordinator conference and outreach efforts
Importance of School Attendance Coordinator Conference and Outreach Efforts
  • Identify and assess the problem(s), analyze the data, and plan intervention
  • Document efforts to help
identification of a student as a habitual truant step 3
Identification of a Student as a “Habitual Truant” – Step 3

“Habitual Truant” is:

Any pupil is deemed an habitual truant who has been reported as a truant three (3) or more times per school year

plus

An appropriate school employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one (1) conference with a parent or guardian of the pupil and the pupil himself/herself.

(California Education Code Section 48262)

identification of a student as a habitual truant step 31
Identification of a Student as a “Habitual Truant” – Step 3
  • Fifth unexcused event – T3 letter is sent and parent is invited to a meeting with the BCSD Attendance Coordinator. (Probation Officer – Javier Rios)
  • Sample T3 letter:

Your child has been previously reported as a truant on <dates of prior letters>. This third letter is NOTICE THAT YOUR CHILD IS NOW DECLARED A HABITUAL TRUANT pursuant to (Education Code Section 48262).

Additional date(s) of truancies:

Absent Without a Valid ExcuseTardy/Absent Partial Day Over 30 Minutes

Without A Valid Excuse

<Date> <Date>

The school has attempted to work with you to solve your child’s attendance problem with little success. A meeting will be scheduled for you and your child to meet with the Bakersfield City School District’s Attendance Coordinator. You will receive notice with the details of this meeting. Failure to attend or reschedule will result in the immediate referral to the School Attendance Review Board.

In the event you receive CalWORKS benefits, your benefits may be sanctioned if your child continues to have attendance problems.

A parent who fails to meet the obligation to send his/her student to school may be guilty of an infraction and subject to prosecution (Education Code Section 48290).

sending the truancy notices
Sending the Truancy Notices
  • Use the MyTRD100 report on “Complete School”.
javier rios
Javier Rios

Probation Officer/BCSD Attendance CoordinatorBakersfield City School District

Probation Dept. 852-5786

javierrios@co.kern.ca.us

riosj@bcsd.com

attendance coordinator meeting
Attendance Coordinator meeting
  • Fifth unexcused event – T3 letter is sent and parent is invited to a meeting with the BCSD Attendance Coordinator.
    • Parent attends the meeting:
      • A contract is developed and student’s attendance is monitored by school site staff, or:
      • The student and parent are referred to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
    • Parent fails to attend the meeting:
      • The student and parent are referred to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
the sarb referral packet
The SARB Referral Packet

STUDENT INFORMATION:

Name ________________________________ SID# __________ School ______________

Home language ________________________ Interpreter required? Yes _____ No _____

Mother ______________________ ________________________ ___________________

Name Address Phone Number

Father ______________________ ________________________ ____________________

Name Address Phone Number

Legal Guardian ____________________ _____________________ __________________

Home Phone ___________________________ Daytime Phone ____________________

Address Bakersfield CA 933

Street Apt. # City State Zip

Sibling NameGradeSchoolSibling NameGradeSchool

1) ________________ _____ __________ 3) __________________ _____ __________

2) ________________ _____ __________ 4) __________________ _____ __________

  • This student has been referred to the SARB in the past. Year_________

REQUIRED ACTION BY SCHOOL:

  • COMPLETE AND ATTACH THE FOLLOWING SCREENS FROM “COMPLETE SCHOOLS”: ATTENDANCE (FULL YEAR); TRUANCY LETTER INFO, AND TRUANCY TRACKING INFO (NON-AUTOMATED LETTERS.
  • ATTACH COPY OF CUMULATIVE FOLDER SHOWING PAST ATTENDANCE HISTORY.
  • ATTACH COPY OF TEAM FOR STUDENT SUCCESS DOCUMENTATION.
habitual truant
Habitual Truant

(3 + 1 +1) + Conscientious Effort

why is habitual truant status important
Why is “Habitual Truant” Status Important?

Once a student is classified as an “Habitual Truant” the parents/guardians and student becomesubject to the jurisdiction of the courts.

slide29

DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

HOLLY N. MITCHELL

661 868-1653 work

Email: hmitchell@co.kern.ca.us

1215 TRUXTUN AVENUE

BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301

dda holly mitchell s schedule bakersfield city school district
DDA HOLLY MITCHELL’S SCHEDULE:BAKERSFIELD CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
  • SARB Meetings Schedule—Every Monday throughout the school year (except Holidays, then Tuesday following the Holiday) 9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Available by email or telephone for questions/inquiries that are relevant to DDA truancy function.
  • Parent Group Meetings as scheduled and available.
dda participation in meetings
DDA Participation in Meetings:
  • DDA/STUDENT/PARENT MEETINGS (DA Mediation)

Upon specific request and as approved and scheduled by DDA.

  • SCHOOL SITE LARGE GROUP PARENT MEETINGS

By scheduling with Dep. Dist. Attorney

Daytime or Evenings by Appt and availability

Contact DDA Holly Mitchell @ 868-1653 or hmitchell@co.kern.ca.us to schedule.

dda orientation meeting
DDA Orientation Meeting

Group Parent Meeting

The Goal is Prevention with a Positive Message

Orientation letter

“…”your child has an excessive number of absences…”

See handbook for complete letters

dda orientations
DDA Orientations

Scheduled at the end of the school day if possible.

May be scheduled in the evening (coordinate with DDA)

SARB coordinator (Javier Rios) may be present if available.

DDA Power Point presentation can be accessed on BCSD website

Presentation should be reviewed by responsible staff member prior to date

Double check equipment prior to presentation

the school should
The School Should…

Create an alphabetized list of student/SID’s invited to the meeting

Have the PowerPoint on computer and ready to go

Arrange for microphone(s)/podium for speaker(s)

Have at least one school representative present

Have an interpreter present and prepared

Supply pens and pencils for parents to use

Have adequate copies of sign-in sheets

Have adequate copies of “attendance agreements” for parents to sign.

Distribute evaluation forms for completion by parents

See Handbook

in addition to your individual school site meeting
In Addition to your Individual School Site Meeting:

Parents/Students may attend meetings at other school sites

Parents/Students may attend meetings at the Education Center

dda mediation
DDA Mediation

The Goal is Prevention.

Meeting will take place between the parent, child and DDA ( as determined by the DDA and based upon availability).

Parents/students notified of “…the right to remain silent…”

Root causes of truancy discussed.

Plan for rehabilitation formulated.

Agreement document signed.

court filing process
Court Filing Process
  • SARB Panel recommends issuing citation to parent and/or minor ( minimum age:11 years old)
  • Law Enforcement Officer (Truancy Officer or SARB coordinator) issues citations and gives them to support staff designee.
  • Court packets produced and submitted to District Attorney for Review.
  • DDA reviews packet and decides whether to file case with court.
what happens in court
What Happens in Court
  • Parent and student summoned to Court by mailed notice on specific date.
  • Parents and students required to attend.
  • DDA meets with families and reviews attendance records with them ( Need updated attendance records from school site/district. This is requested 1-3 days before the court date)
  • Penalties: Fine imposed ($420 parents, $380 for minors), school attendance terms, parenting classes, community service, counseling, etc. (case by case basis)
  • All Court hearings for truancy heard in Bakersfield at Juvenile Court 2100 College Avenue (currently every Thursday Afternoon @ 1 p.m.).
what happens after court
What Happens After Court
  • Case is Continued for Review and compliance with Court Orders
  • Update on Court Action sent to School District designee for distribution to various school sites.
additional penalties for minors
Additional Penalties for Minors
  • Contempt of Court Proceedings
  • Hearing Held (Need additional attendance history and records info from school site)
  • Possible Juvenile Hall Confinement for two weekends for Contempt of Court..
  • Older Students…Loss of Drivers’ License privileges for 1 year from date of eligibility
contempt case proceedings
Contempt Case Proceedings
  • DDA will need additional attendance information and specific information regarding contacts with student and parent for contempt cases.
  • Minor can be confined for up to two weekends in Juvenile hall.
  • Minor is normally confined for the first weekend and given a month to improve before the second weekend is imposed.
  • Contempt Weekends held six (6) times per school year. Reserved for most CHRONIC truant students( i.e. those students who continue to be truant after court appearances).
repeat offenders penal code pc 270 1
Repeat Offenders/Penal Code PC 270.1
  • New law passed last year which targets the parents of minor children 6 years

(kinder or first grade) to 8 graders inclusive.

  • Chronic truant defined as “absent without valid excuse for 10% or more of the school days in one school year” (Education Code 48263.6
penal code 270 1 cont
Penal Code 270.1 (cont)
  • Parents can face misdemeanor charges with penalties of :
      • $2000 fine
      • Imprisonment in county jail up to one year
      • Both fine and imprisonment
penal code 270 1 cont1
Penal Code 270.1 (cont)
  • As a rule, the parent will be offered the opportunity by the court to correct the attendance issue by a process called “Deferred entry of judgment”.
  • Parent would enter a guilty plea, and their “sentencing” would be continued to allow them to improve the attendance and comply with any court referrals (counseling, parenting classes, mental health, etc.)
  • Failure to comply with the terms may result in the court or the DDA requesting that judgment be entered and the parent be sentenced to the penalties per PC 270.1.
penal code 270 1 cont2
Penal Code 270.1 (cont).
  • Requires that District Attorney “prove” a violation of this code section.
  • May require a trial with witnesses from the school district.
  • School sites need to be diligent in keeping records of the attendance history and relevant comments during home visits or meetings where parents make incriminating comments about why their child is absent from school.
enforcement of pc 270 1 in kern county truancy process
Enforcement of PC 270.1 in Kern County Truancy Process
  • DDA Mitchell currently has approximately 6-8 families in the Bakersfield City School District that are currently being reviewed for charges pursuant to this code section for school attendance in the 2010-2011 school year.
  • The district will be provided with detailed procedure for submitting these cases for review in the future.
collaboration
COLLABORATION
  • Working together =
  • Good Attendance =
  • Good Grades =
  • Success in School =
  • The ability to Make Life Choices =
  • Responsible, Crime-Free Adults