Resources

We get it! Getting your child to school can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but you’re not alone! Show Up, Stand Out is committed to solving some of your most pressing issues, like setting up transportation for your kids, locating food and nutrition resources, finding a job, locating stable housing, and navigating health insurance options or other programs.

Tips for Helping Get Your Kids to School

  1. Make sure your child has the required shots.
  2. Set a regular bedtime and wake up with an alarm clock.
  3. Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  4. Introduce your child to their teachers and classmates when school starts to help their transition.
  5. There are many reasons why your child may want to stay home. Talk to your child to understand why they don’t want to go to school. If your child frequently asks to stay home because of an illness, consider seeking out a medical professional or counselor for advice.
  6. If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  7. Develop backup plans for getting to school in case something unexpected comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  8. Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  9. Reward your child for good attendance so that it becomes a habit.
  10. Familiarize yourself with the legal consequences of multiple unexcused absences, including the Attendance Accountability Act.

Below are some links to agencies that are here to help.

Attendance Accountability Act

Missing school has serious consequences– both for kids and their parents.
Although it’s common for students to miss a few days of school each year, the Attendance Accountability Amendment Act includes penalties for missing more than 10 days without a valid excuse.

As a parent, here’s what you can expect:

After 1 unexcused absence
You will receive a call from your child’s school.

After 5 unexcused absences
Your child will be referred to a school-based student support team. The team will meet to discuss why your child is missing school and create a plan to prevent him or her from missing school in the future. If you have not already, reach out to us and see what services are available in your community to help make sure your child gets to school.

After 7 unexcused absences
You will receive a warning letter from the Metropolitan Police Department.

After 10 unexcused absences
Your child’s school-based support team will deliver a plan to school administrators. The plan will include ideas for making sure your child’s absences do not continue, and will identify services in your community to help. From there, the school will notify the Metropolitan Police Department MPD) and send a letter to you explaining the legal consequences of accruing additional absences. The Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will send you a truancy resource guide. If your child is between the ages of 5 and 13, the school will refer him or her to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) for further review.

After 15 unexcused absences
If your child is between the ages of 14 and 17, he or she will be referred by the school to the Court Social Services Division (CSSD) and/or the Office of Attorney General (OAG) Juvenile Division.

Parents whose children violate DC’s Attendance Act may be required to attend parenting classes, do community service, or pay a fine. Our program can help improve school attendance long before you reach this point.

To help you comply with the law and understand its effects, our team is here to help. We will set up a time to meet with you at a place and time that’s convenient for you. We will work with you to create a plan just for you and your child.

 

Sources: Council of the District of Columbia, Council for Court Excellence, DC Action for Children, DC Public Schools

 

How does DC define . . .

Absence: Missing more than 20% of a school day (or 78 minutes).

Excused absence: Missing school for a valid reason, because of an illness, death in the family, religious holiday, doctor’s appointments, court date, college visit, or other reason approved by you and your child’s school.

Unexcused absence: Missing school without a valid reason, because of a family vacation, cutting class, oversleeping, running errands, babysitting, traffic, or other car troubles.

Absenteeism: A pattern of missing school, with or without a valid excuse.

Chronic absenteeism: Missing 10 or more days of school in a single school year, with or without a valid excuse.

For specific information about your child’s school, including who to contact if your child is absent, call the school’s attendance counselor, teacher, or principal.