New laws on books regarding truancy
■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
The school attendance program at Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) was recognized for its innovative practices in reducing suspensions, expulsions and chronic absenteeism. Hemet’s program was one of 27 in the state to receive this recognition by the California Department of Education’s Model School Attendance Review Board (SARB).
According to Alex Cass, public information officer at HUSD, staff works diligently to communicate with parents and students the importance of students being in school every day. If a student is absent, the school is unable to provide the necessary resources and information they need to succeed in their educational journey.
“We will do anything within our power to provide the opportunity for a child to be successful,” said Tracy Piper, director of pupil services and student support services.
Piper said that this year the staff’s goal is to be proactive and reach families before absenteeism becomes an issue so a letter is sent to the student’s home after three absences.
At six absences, the student and their family will meet with the attendance clerk and an administrator, to allow staff members to gain a better understanding of how to support the family and identify possible barriers they are experiencing getting their child to school.
California laws concerning attendance are continuously changing, and HUSD is working to ensure its families are aware of the new laws. Beginning next school year, if a student is late 30 minutes or leaves school 30 minutes early, they will be considered truant.