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Getting Involved

Table of Contents

Policy 500.35 – Student Attendance



Board Policy

  1. The Board of Education’s “Portrait of A Canyons Scholar” maintains Canyons scholars are driven by curiosity and are diligently seeking opportunities to learn by becoming resilient learners, collaborators, impactful citizens, critical thinkers, and innovators. A key component of these five core competences of a Canyons Scholar is student engagement. The Board of Education is strongly committed to the in-classroom experience and expects learning to be an engaging experience for students to promote student attendance. The Board of Education supports evidence-based models and efforts to improve teacher and student engagement, and student attendance to impact student achievement, academic success, and help students thrive.
  2. Student attendance is a fundamental component of student engagement.
  3. The Board of Education considers evidence-based school-wide attendance plans, based in tiered interventions as an effective systemic approach for improving school attendance.
  4. The Board also recognizes that continuing membership and student enrollment status is a critical component for academic and fiscal administration of traditional education programs (e.g., students in physical classrooms) as well as nontraditional programs (e.g., online or distance learning programs), and authorizes student accounting and designates a continuing enrollment measurement.
  5. The Board delegates to the Superintendent or designee the responsibility to direct local school administrators in the development of school-wide attendance plans grounded in evidence-based and evidence-informed practices comprised of tiered intervention strategies to promote regular attendance and reduce dropout and chronic absenteeism.
  6. The Board authorizes the Superintendent to establish administrative regulations consistent with this policy, subject to review and approval by the Board.



Definitions - 500.35-1

  1. Absence: Failure of a student, who is assigned to a class or class period, to attend the entire class or class period. Absence does not mean multiple tardies used to calculate an absence for the sake of truancy. (See, 53G-6-201)
  2. Chronic absenteeism: A percentage measure of how much school a student misses for any reason, including excused and unexcused absences. Students are considered chronically absent if they miss more than 10% of enrolled school days. Students who are chronically absent may be at-risk for academic failure.
  3. Face-to-face learning program: means a public school program that consists of eligible public education students who physically attend school in a brick and mortar school.
  4. Evidence-based: means that a strategy demonstrates a statistically significant effect, of at least a 0.40 effect size, on improving student outcomes based on:
    1. strong evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study, or
    2. moderate evidence from at least one well-designed and well-implemented
      quasi-experimental study.
  5. Evidence-informed: means that a strategy that is developed using high-quality research outside of a controlled setting in the given field, and includes strategies and activities with a strong scientific basis for use.
  6. Guardian excused: An absence excused by a parent/legal guardian within up to five school days of the absence occurring.
  7. Intervention: means a series of non-punitive and increasingly frequent and individualized activities that are designed to: (1) create a trusting relationship between teachers, students, and parents; (2) improve attendance; (3) improve academic outcomes; and (4) reduce negative behavior referrals.
    1. “Interventions” may include: mentorship programs; family connection to community resources; academic support through small group or individualized tutoring or similar methods; and teaching executive function skills, including: planning; goal
      setting; understanding; and following multi-step directions; and self-regulation.
    2. Tiered Interventions
      1. Tier 1 Interventions: A universal support for all students
        1. Examples: taking attendance; personalized communication;
          predictable weekly routines; etc.
      2. Tier 2 Interventions: Early interventions
        1. Examples: meeting with parents or home visit; mentoring;
          individualized attendance plan, etc.
      3. Tier 3 Interventions: Intensive Intervention
        1. Examples: intensive outreach; coordinated case
          management with multiple systems, including child welfare,
          mental health, health, housing, homelessness, etc.
  8. Learner validated enrollment measurement: means a methodology used to establish a student’s membership or enrollment status for purposes of generating membership days. (See, R277-419).
  9. Learner validated program: means a public school program that consists of eligible, enrolled public education students where students primarily receive instruction through distance learning, online, blended, or a competency based learning program. (See, R277-419).
  10. School-age child: means a minor who is at least six years old but younger than 18 years old; and is not emancipated. (See, 53G-6-201).
  11. Student engagement: Student engagement is a statistically significant component of student achievement, academic success, and is foundational for development of essential skills and attributes to thrive in college, life, and the workplace. Evidence-based research suggests student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, optimism, and passion that students show when
    they are learning or being taught or when a student makes a psychological investment in learning.
  12. School-wide attendance plans: A school plan that allows a school administrator to analyze individual school attendance data and focus on individual student attendance issues, develop appropriate interventions, and access community resources and assistance to help reduce drop out and chronic absenteeism. School attendance plans comply with statutory requirements and administrative
    rules regarding excused and unexcused absences, recording attendance, truancy, released-time classes, hospital and homebound services, and exemptions from attendance.
  13. Truant: means a condition in which a school-age child, without a valid excuse, is absent for at least half of the school day; or if the school-age child is enrolled in a learner verified program, as defined by USBE, the relevant time under the District’s continuing enrollment measure as it relates to truancy. A school-age
    child may not be considered truant more than one time during one day. (See, 53G-6-201).
  14. Unexcused Absence: Any absence without a valid excuse.
  15. Valid Excused Absence:
    1. an illness, which may be either mental or physical, regardless of whether the school-age child or parent provides documentation from a medical professional;
    2. mental or behavior health of the school-age child;
    3. a family death;
    4. an approved school activity;
    5. an absence permitted by a school age minor’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 accommodation plan; or
    6. any other valid excuse approved by the local school board. (See, 53G-6- 201) Canyons Board of Education has approved the following as additional valid excuses:
      1. a family emergency;
      2. a family event;
      3. observance of religious holiday;
      4. medical appointment;
      5. scheduled pre-approved education leave. (See, 53G-6-803).
    7. The District or school may not require documentation from a medical professional to substantiate a valid excuse that is a mental or physical illness. (See, 53G-6-205)



School Wide Attendance Plan; Student Attendance; Disclosure Statements; Minors Exempt from School Attendance; Compulsory Education and Truancy Notification - 500.35-2

School Wide Attendance Plan:

  1. Each school shall develop a schoolwide attendance plan that complies with state and District policies. Development of a schoolwide attendance plan shall include use of evidence-based and evidence-informed research findings, tiered intervention strategies, faculty and staff consensus, community input, and involve the respective School Performance director.
    1. Tiered intervention strategies may include: monitoring absenteeism data; engaging students and parents; recognize good and improved attendance; providing personal outreach; and removing barriers to attendance (See, Exhibit-1-Tiered Interventions).
    2. For school level sample plans see Exhibit-2, 3, and 4.     
  2. Upon registration, the District or schools will provide parents/legal guardians and students a copy of Policy—500.35—Student Attendance and a copy of the individual school plan. The individual school plan will be available and readily accessible on the school’s website.
  3. A compulsory education notice will be included in online registration and in other publications sent to community and patrons, and on school/district websites.
  4. Each school must have a plan to monitor and track student attendance and chronic absenteeism. The plan should include appropriate interventions and incentives to help students who may have attendance issues and/or are truant from school.
    1. Teachers must accurately record student attendance daily for students in elementary schools, and during each period at the secondary level.
    2. School staff will follow guidelines for absence reporting and coding, as established by School Performance (See, Exhibit—5—Attendance Codes).
  5. School principals will submit the school attendance plan annually to their respective School Performance director for review and approval.

Student Attendance:

  1. Parents and students are jointly responsible for regular attendance at school.
  2. Students may be excused from school attendance for valid excused absences: illness, mental or behavioral health of the school-age child; medical appointment, family emergencies, family death, education leave/family event, an approved school activity, observance of religious holidays, or an excuse consistent with the student’s IEP, or Section 504 accommodation plan.
  3. All absences are considered unexcused until the parent communicates with the school regarding the student’s absence, and the absence is resolved by the school staff.
  4. Parents must excuse each day of their student’s absence.
  5. In addition to valid excused absences, elementary and middle school students are allowed five (5) parent/legal guardian excused absences or (5) full-school days, or its equivalent in time based on a secondary schedule in a given school year.
  6. Scheduled Pre-approved Education  Leave is considered a valid excused absence. A student may be allowed up to ten (10) days for education leave in a given school year, if prior arrangements have been made with the school for the student to make up his/her homework.   An education leave form shall be provided to the school administration in advance of the education leave.
    1. Additional days for education leave are subject to approval by the School Performance Director.
  7. Students with valid excused absences will be expected to make-up work and assignments, however it is their responsibility to obtain make-up work from their teachers. Students with unexcused absences may be able to make-up work subject to approval by the principal.  A student’s academic grade should not be penalized for absences or tardies.
  8. A suspended student is expected to make-up work and will be provided an opportunity to make-up work within a reasonable time-frame as determined by the school plan, subject to review by the Office of School Performance.
  9. A student with an approved school absence is expected to make-up work and will be provided an opportunity to make-up work within a reasonable time-frame as determined by the school plan, subject to review by the Office of School Performance.
  10. If a parent fails to make prior arrangements with the principal for extended student absences and if the school cannot locate the parent or student to verify the reason for the student’s prolonged absence, the student’s absence is unexcused.
    1. If a student’s unexcused absences extend beyond ten (10) consecutive school days, and diligent efforts have been taken to verify the reason for the extended absence without success, the student may be withdrawn by the principal.
  11. Students who have been withdrawn by the principal may be re-enrolled when he or she returns to school.

Disclosure Statements:

Secondary school teachers shall develop a disclosure statement for each course in compliance with District and school guidelines.

  1. All disclosure statements must be consistent with the District attendance policy and receive administrative approval prior to distribution to students and parents.
  2. Disclosure statements shall include, but are not limited to, grading expectations for course components, including: assessments, assignments, and citizenship expectations.
  3. Procedures and timelines shall be established for making up work and earning points/credit missed due to a legitimate absence.
  4. All students shall receive disclosure statements for all classes on or before the fifth day of enrollment in the course. Parents and students shall be encouraged to return signed disclosure statements in a timely manner, typically two to four days.
  5. Teachers may award a nominal amount of points/credit for the return of signed disclosure statements within the established time frame.
  6. A current copy of each teacher’s disclosure statement will be maintained by the school and be accessible in an electronic format.

School Age Children Exempt from School Attendance:

Exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirement include the following:

  1. A school-age child over age 16 may receive a partial release from school to enter employment, or attend a trade school, if the school-age child has completed the eighth grade. School-age children exempted under this provision are required to attend part-time schooling or home schooling as prescribed by the board.
  2. On an annual basis, a school age child may receive a full release, from attending a public or part-time school or class if:
    1. A school-age child has completed the work required for graduation from high school, or has demonstrated mastery of required skills and competencies.
    2. A school-age child is in a physical or mental condition which renders attendance inexpedient and impracticable (the condition must be certified by a competent physician).
    3. A school age minor’s employment provides proper influences and adequate opportunities for education.
    4. The Superintendent or designee has determined that a school-age child over the age of sixteen (16) is unable to profit from attendance at school because of inability or a continuing negative attitude toward school regulations and discipline.
  3. A school age child is excused from attendance, if the child’s parent files a signed and notarized affidavit with the District that the child will:
    1. Attend home school; and
    2. The parent assumes sole responsibility for the education of the child, except to the extent a school-age child is dual enrolled in a public school.
    3. A signed and notarized affidavit filed with the District will remain from year to year as along as a school-age child attends home school and the District remains the school-age child’s District of residence.
  4. School Performance will issue a certificate stating the school-age child is excused from attendance for the specific school year:
    1. within thirty (30) days after receipt of a signed and notarized affidavit filed; and
    2. on or before August 1 each year thereafter unless:
      1. the school-age child enrolls in a school within the district;
      2. the parent notifies the District that the child no longer attends a home school; or
      3. the district of residence has changed.

Compulsory Education and Truancy Notification:

In accordance with state law, a school adminstrator, school resource officers, or truancy specialist may issue:

  1. A notice of compulsory education violation to a parent of a school-age child if the school-age child is in grade 1 through 6; and is truant without a valid excuse at least five times during the school year.
    1. A notice of compulsory education violation shall:
      1. direct the parent of the school-age child to meet with school authorities to discuss school attendance problems;
      2. designate the school authorities with whom the parent is required to meet;
      3. state that it is a class B misdemeanor for the parent of the school-age child who is in grade 1 through 6 to intentionally or without good cause fails to meet with designated school authorities to discuss attendance problems or fail to prevent the school-age child from being truant without a valid excuse five or more times during the remainder of the school year;
      4. be served on the school-age parent by personal service or certified mail; and
      5. not be issued unless the school age child has been truant at least five times during the school year.
  2. A truancy notification to a student and his/her parent for chronic absences.
    1. A truancy notice will not be issued to a student who is:
      1. less than twelve (12) years old; or in a grade below 7; or
      2. exempt from school attendance in accordance with state law.
    2. A truancy notice will direct the student and the parent to meet with school authorities to discuss truancy; and to cooperate with school authorities to assist the student with regular attendance.



Student Accounting - 500.35-3

Student Accounting in Face-to-Face and Learner-Validated Programs:

  1. The School Performance will maintain a system of student accounting for individual students in face-to face and learner validated programs.  The system of accounting will include a learner validated enrollment measurement.
    1. a minimum student login or teacher contact requirement.
    2. required periodic contact with a licensed educator.
    3. a minimum hourly requirement per day or week, when students are engaged in course work; or
    4. required timelines for a student to provide or demonstrate completed assignments, coursework or progress toward academic goals.   (See, R277-419-7 (5)).  
  2. The District will designate a continuing membership/enrollment status for students to:
    1. Document if a public education student does not satisfactorily participate in on-line coursework for ten consecutive school days.
    2. Measure and document each student’s continued enrollment every ten consecutive school days;
    3. Update student membership records in the student information system;
    4. Document the adjusted student membership information for students that did not meet the continuing enrollment measurement; and
    5. Retain evidence of attendance record


  • Exhibit—1—Tiered Interventions Exhibit
  • Exhibit—2—Elementary School Sample School Plan
  • Exhibit—3—Middle School Sample School Plan
  • Exhibit—4—High School Sample School Plan
  • Exhibit—5—Attendance Codes



Document History

Revised – 6.6.2023.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance was updated to align with H.B. 400 School Absenteeism Amendments (2022) which requires a school board to enact chronic absenteeism prevention and intervention policies that reflect and individual’s school district’s needs or circumstances and adopt evidence or research informed interventions. Policy 500.35 was updated to contain the required language as outlined by H.B. 400 School Absenteeism Amendments. A Tiered Intervention Exhibit was developed for evidence based and informed practices for schools to use as they review attendance data and develop school attendance plans. Sample school attendance plans were developed as Exhibits for elementary, middle, and high school. 
Revised – 8.20.2021.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance was updated to align a Board-Approved absence with Utah Code for scheduled pre-approved education leave, and add a reminder regarding the Truancy Enforcement Moratorium pursuant to S.B. 219 Truancy Enforcement Moratorium, which prohibits the issuance and enforcement of notices of compulsory education violations and notice of truancy until June 1, 2022.     
Revised – 5.4.2021.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was updated in accordance with the 2021 Legislative Session.  The update includes new definitions for valid excuses for an illness, which may be either mental or physical, regardless of whether the school-sage child or parent provides documentation from a medical professional; and a mental health day for the mental or behavioral health of a school-age child.  Also a school district may not require documentation from a medical professional or substantiate a valid excuse that is a mental or physical illness. 
Revised – 8.18.2020.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was updated in accordance with the 2020 Legislative Session.  Definition updates for Absence, School-age child, and Truant.  
– Absence: An “absence” or “absent” does not mean multiple tardies to
calculate an absence for the sake of truancy.  School-aged child: means a minor who is at least six years old but younger
than 18 years old; and is not emancipated.
– Truant: means a condition in which school-age child, without a valid excuse, and subject to is absent for at least half of the school day. 
– New Definitions for Learner validated program, and Learner validated enrollment measurement.
 – Learner validated program: means a public school program that consists of eligible, enrolled public education students where students primarily receive instruction through distance learning, online, blended, or a competency based learning program. 
– Learner validated enrollment measurement: means a methodology used to establish a student’s membership
Revised – 6.12.2018.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance – was revised to clarify language regarding valid excused absences and guardian excused absences.  Language was added for an appeal process for District-Level review of administrative no grades (NG) issued at the school level.  The policy refers to individual school plans for verification of valid excused absences language was added for availability and accessibility of individual school plan.

Adopted – 12.5.2017.  Policy – 500.35 – Student Attendance is a new policy developed from merging existing student policies addressing student attendance, specifically Policy—500.35—Compulsory Attendance Ages (Teacher Disclosure Statements); Policy—500.36—Exclusions and Exemptions from School Attendance; Policy—500.37—Pupil Accounting, and Policy—500.38—Student Accounting Procedures. While some language was retained from previous policies, one policy is
recommended as obsolete, Policy 500.38, and the majority of the student attendance text is new and consistent state law.  (See, Utah Code 
§53A-11-101, et seq., (recodified now to §53G-6-201); Utah Admin. Code R277-607.  Truancy Prevention; Utah Admin. Code R277-610.  Release-Time Classes and the Public Schools.


This online presentation is an electronic representation of the Canyons School District’s currently adopted policy manual. It does not reflect updating activities in progress. The official, authoritative manual is available for inspection in the office of the Superintendent located at 9361 South 300 East Sandy, UT 84070.

Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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