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Attendance and Truancy Resources for Schools

This page offers information on school attendance and resources that aid LEAs in promoting school attendance.

Key requirements for all public and private schools

  • Report enrollment and enrollment changes to OSSE annually.

Each public, independent, private and parochial school is required to report the information (name, address, sex and date of birth) of all DC minors who reside permanently or temporarily in the District and are currently enrolled in their school to OSSE by Oct. 5 of each year. These schools must also report to OSSE by the fifth of every month any enrollment changes (new enrollments and withdrawals). See §38-205.

  • Report only full school day absences to child welfare and juvenile justice.

Only the accrual of 10 (ages 5-13) or 15 (ages 14-17) unexcused full school day absences are required to be counted for the purposes of requiring a referral to child welfare and juvenile justice agencies, respectively. A full school day is defined as the entirety of the instructional hours regularly provided on a single school day. Educational institutions have discretion in making a referral if the 10th or 15th unexcused full-day absence is accrued during the final 10 school days of the school year. See § 38-201(2B) and §38-208(c)(1).

  • Truancy reporting to OSSE.

DC law requires educational institutions to notify OSSE, within two business days, of the 10th unexcused absence of any minor student. OSSE is then required to provide the student’s parent with a truancy prevention resource guide that covers certain topics, if the parent has not already received the truancy prevention resources before the 10th unexcused absence. See §38-208(b).

  • Submission of annual attendance and attendance interventions information to OSSE.

Within 60 days after the end of a school year, public, private, independent, and parochial schools shall report to OSSE, and must make publicly available, the following information:

  1. The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, who had unexcused absences for:
    1. One to 5 days;
    2. Six to 10 days;
    3. Eleven to 20 days; and
    4. Twenty-one or more days.
  2. The work of the school-based student support teams in reducing unexcused absences, including:
    1. The number of students who were referred to a school-based student support team;
    2. The number of students who met with a school-based student support team;
    3. A summary of the action plans and strategies implemented by the school-based student support team to eliminate or ameliorate unexcused absences;
    4. A summary of the services utilized by students to reduce unexcused absences; and
    5. A summary of the common barriers to implementing the recommendations of the school-based student support team.
  3. The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school reported to the Child and Family Services Agency pursuant to § 4-1321.02(a-1) and (a-2).
  4. The number of minors categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school referred to the Court Social Services Division of the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for truancy.
  5. The policy on absences, including defined categories of valid excuses, that it used.

Please ensure that the report does not contain student personally identifiable information, and send your report to Whitney Meagher at [email protected] with the subject line “[School Name] 20XX-XX Annual Attendance and Attendance Intervention Report.” See § 38-203(i).

Additional requirements for public schools

  • Valid excuses for absences.

All absences must be recorded as unexcused unless the parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of a minor student provides the school with a valid excuse for the minor’s absence within five school days of returning to school. See § 38-203(c)(2).

Attendance and Truancy Resources for Parents

Every Day Counts! Attendance Resources

This Every Day Counts! is a citywide effort initiated by Mayor Bowser to ensure every student attends school every day. Going to school every day is critical to our students realizing their hopes and dreams. Every Day Counts! will bring together the entire community to support students and families through a public awareness campaign, a taskforce coordinating public agencies and stakeholders, and investments in data-driven strategies to increase attendance.

Additional Resources