Ballard High School

High School


Ballard HS Attendance

Ballard High School has a school-wide attendance policy that reflects our belief that student success and achievement is positively related to regular and timely attendance to class. The BHS Attendance Policy is outlined in the Student Handbook. Tardiness interrupts and interferes with the instructional program being offered in a classroom.

Report an Absence

Student absences can only be excused by a note signed by a parent/guardian or by email from a parent/guardian. Absences cannot be excused by phone.

Email student absences and early release to Attendance Secretary, Alice March

Attendance Policy

Student absences can only be excused by a note signed by parent or guardian or by email from parent/guardian. Absences cannot be excused by phone.  

However, if this is an extended absence of 2 or more days, you may wish to contact the Counseling Office for assistance to contact teachers for assignments.  Please allow 24 hours to process your request.

  • Absences may affect the grade and credit earned for a course depending on each teacher’s syllabus.  Each student will receive a copy of the course syllabus and a copy of the syllabus will be posted in the classroom.
  • A tardy is defined as a student entering a class after the tardy bell has sounded. 
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make up work for excused absences, school related absences such as field trips, or suspensions.   The teacher’s syllabus will explain the makeup policy for that class.
  • Excuse Note or email – An excuse note must be turned in to the Attendance Office or an email sent to Alice March in the Attendance Office at within 3 school days of the absence.  A note or email received after the third day will be noted as a “Late Note” and is not excused.  Unacceptable reasons will not be excused and will be noted as “Not Excused”.  Phone calls do not excuse an absence.
  • Late Passes – Students late for 1st period should report directly to class.  Students late to periods 2-6 need to get a tardy pass from an administrator or security specialist to be admitted into class. Students with note from a parent or Parent has already emailed can come to The Attendance Office for a pass to class.
  • Early Dismissals – Students must have authorized parent/guardian permission and school permission to leave school for an outside appointment or an illness during the school day.  Without permission, the absence will be unexcused. 
  • * Pre-Arranged Absences/Parent Initiated – Students who knowingly will be absent two or more days should complete a Pre-Arranged Absence Form also available in the Main and Attendance Office to notify their teachers of their absence and arrange for makeup work, if required. The Pre-Arranged Absence Form needs to be completed and returned to the Attendance Office three days prior to the absence.

    * Note: There is a separate End of School Year Pre-Planned Absence Formthat needs to be completed instead for pre-arranged absences at the end of the school year.
  • Pre-Arranged Absences/School Initiated – Activities such as field trips require a Pre-Arranged Absence Form.  Students should complete a “Pre-Arranged Absence Form” from the teacher in charge of the field trip to notify their teachers of their absence and arrange for makeup work, if required.  The “Pre-Arranged Absence Form” should be completed and returned to the teacher three days prior to the absence.  The teacher informs The Attendance Office about the Field Trip so students can be excused.

Additional Attendance Policy Information

Since experience has shown that frequent absences from school contribute to poor achievement, the current grading practices will include student attendance.  The laws of the State of Washington require regular attendance of all pupils enrolled in the public schools.  It is the responsibility of the student to make up missed class assignments/tests for excused absences.  Classroom assignments may be requested through the Counseling Office if the student is going to be absent more than three school days.  Please allow twenty-four hours to process a request.

Attendance is required so that students will be able to:

  • Participate in oral presentations
  • Participate in all classroom physical activities
  • Participate in class discussions or in group work that does not involve written work
  • Receive verbal instructions concerning new concepts and review of previous concepts.
  • Participate in lab activities
  • Collaborate in group processing skills
  • Hear and respond to guest speakers and outside resources (films, video presentations, etc.)

Definition of an Absence

The following Seattle School District definitions apply to students at all ages:

Excused Absences

  • Unplanned absences are excused when your child’s personal illness or injury, or the illness, injury or death of a family member, prevents your child from attending school.  The school may require a note from your child’s doctor before excusing those absences if your child is absent due to illness or injury for an excessive number of days.  Ballard High School requires a note or email from a parent or guardian to excuse any absence within 3 days of student’s return to school from any absence.
  • Planned absences are excused when a request is turned into The Attendance Office, for a planned absence of two or more days a “Pre-Arranged Absence Form” is needed, for a planned absence of less than two full days a note or email can be sent to The Attendance Office.  An Assistant Principal will determine if the absence is excused or not excused based on policy.  Trips and Vacations are not excused.
  • Absences due to short-term discipline of your child are excused on District attendance records unless your child is under court order to attend school without additional truancies or behavior problems.

Unexcused Absences

  • All other absences are considered unexcused, including absences caused by the student or parent oversleeping, student missing the bus, transportation problems, student needed for babysitting, student job requirements, etc.
  • Absences by long-term suspended or expelled students for whom space is available in the reentry program, but who do not enroll and attend, are unexcused.
  • Students entering a class more than 10 minutes after the tardy bell will be counted as an unexcused absence.

Procedures Regarding Excused Absences

Ballard HS does not excuse absences by phone.  To excuse an absence, Parent/Guardian sends an email to The Attendance Office or note delivered by student to The Attendance Office within 3 school days of returning to school.  The note or email must include: The students full name, the reason for the absence, date of absence, name and phone number of parent/guardian that wrote the note/email.  A late written excuse does not remove an unexcused absence from the records.     

Note: Students living on their own need to contact their administrator to establish the procedures to be followed regarding attendance.  All work missed due to excused absences must be made up as determined by the classroom teacher.

Definition of a Tardy

A tardy is defined as a student entering a class after the tardy bell has sounded.  Unexcused tardies must be recorded in the teacher’s roll book and on the Attendance Office forms.

  • When tardy to periods 2-6, students must get a tardy pass from an administrator or security specialist to admit them to class.  This pass will result in the student serving one day of lunchroom detention.
  • Tardies may affect your course grade and credit.
  • Students entering a class more than 10 minutes after the tardy bell will be counted as an unexcused absence.

Early Dismissals

Planned Early Dismissals need to be excused in advance, with note or email, preferably by the morning of the day of the Early Dismissal.  Students leaving during class need to pick up a pass at The Attendance Office to present to the teacher before they leave class.  Students that are ill need permission from the Nurse, Attendance Office, or administrator after parent or guardian is contacted and has approved of their child leaving school. Early dismissals will not be excused after the fact.

Late Arrivals

Students with written excuses or parent/guardian that has emailed should report directly to the Attendance Secretary.

Students without written excuses should go directly to class.

Pre-Arranged Absences

  1. A pre-arranged absence form school sponsored events and Field Trips will be provided to the student from the appropriate advisor/sponsor.
  2. Students and parents/guardians must complete the form (special yearend form) and must obtain classroom teacher’s signatures Three Days Prior to the Event.  Teachers should mark this in their roll books.
  3. The student must return the completed form to the advisor/sponsor three days prior to the event.

Grading Policy Related to Attendance

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate participation into their grading system.  Participation may include points earned for being in class and on time.  Students will be notified of teachers’ participation grading policies in their syllabi. 

Compulsory State Attendance Law – “Becca” Bill

Parent/guardians of children at least eight years old and less than eighteen years old must have their children in school on a full time basis or in an approved home instruction program.  If a student has seven (7) unexcused absences within a month or ten or more unexcused absences within a school year, the School District is required to file a petition in juvenile court directed toward the student, parent/guardian or both.

Truancy Contacts

Assistant Principals: Students are Assigned by First Letter of Last Name.

SchoolMessenger Calls and Emails

School Messenger sends automated attendance calls and emails to notify parents/guardians of student absences. If you have not already emailed the Ballard HS Attendance Office regarding the absence you can reply to the School Messenger email to excuse the absence. Please do not respond to School Messenger if you have already emailed the Attendance Office. Absences can’t always be excused before the School Messenger calls and sends emails.

Attendance Errors

If your student was marked absent by mistake, please contact the teacher that marked them absent. The Teacher’s permission is needed to remove an absence.

Alice March
Attendance Secretary