School Attendance Matters (SAM): Saint Paul Public Schools Attendance Procedures

  • Attendance Matters

    • Parents/guardians MUST communicate every time a child is absent. Please note not all absences will be excused. Call in or send a note to main office, state reason for absence (be specific).
    • Students with a 95% attendance rate or higher are twice as likely to pass the state achievement tests as those students with an 85% attendance rate. (In SPPS, 95% = 9 or fewer absences).
    • Good school attendance is the most reliable predictor of graduation from high school.
    • Students with good attendance make up a vast majority of those who are at the top of their class in grades and tests.
    • School dropouts are at high risk for being unemployed or under-employed and earn $260,000 less than high school graduates over a lifetime 

School Attendance is Important

  • STUDENTS WITH GOOD ATTENDANCE:

    • Do better on state tests
    • Keep up with homework
    • Get good grades
    • Graduate from High School
    • Go to college
    • Have many career options
    • Become positive role models
    • Are likely to have better self-esteem
    • Build better peer relationships
    • Are less likely to engage in negative or criminal behaviors

     

The Law

  • Once enrolled in a public school, a child 5 years old to 18 years old (unless having already graduated from high school), must attend school every day, every class, on time, unless lawfully excused.

    LAWFULLY EXCUSED ABSENCES

    • Sickness - too sick to be in school
    • Medical Appointments
    • Religious Holidays
    • Extreme Family Emergencies (house fire, death, etc.)

    EXAMPLES OF UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

    • Overslept
    • Missed school bus
    • Suspended from school bus
    • Staying home to babysit
    • Weather too hot/cold
    • Family vacation

How We Can Help

SAM Process

  • Attendance support in SPPS involves three steps, which become more serious if a student continues to be absent. After three unexcused absences, parents receive an attendance alert letter at home. Then, if the student is absent again without an excuse, the school will begin the intervention process as follows:

    1. Group meeting with parents at the school, where someone from the Ramsey County Attorney's office explains school attendance laws
    2. Students Attendance Review Team (SART) hearing to develop a plan to improve attendance
    3. Court hearing