District Policies

Attendance Office:

The Palo Alto Unified School District recognizes that success in school is in part related to prompt and regular classroom attendance. Frequent absences or tardies which result in a student’s missing all or parts of presentations, demonstrations, discussions, explanations, and/or other classroom activities are detrimental to the individual student and the class. Student non-attendance and/or persistent tardiness are therefore matters of serious concern.

General Absences

Parents are urged to call the Attendance Office (856-5179) on the first day of absence; messages can be left on the answering machine at all times. If no telephone contact has been made, the school requires a note from the parent be brought by the returning student. We prefer that parents write the total note instead of signing a note written by the student. The excuse for an absence of more than five (5) consecutive days for health reasons must be written by the parent and must be accompanied by a physician’s verification. Any absence not cleared by a parent within five days will be treated as a cut.
After being absent, a student needs an "Admit to Class" to carry to each teacher. To obtain the admit, the student must go to the Attendance Office in time to arrive in class without being tardy. The Attendance Office opens at 7:45 A.M.

Leaving Campus

JLS is a "closed campus", and students may not leave during the school day without permission from the Attendance Office. Students who leave the campus without prior permission will receive a cut. (If a student must leave during the day for a doctor/dentist appointment, he/she should report to the Attendance Office prior to the first period class with a note from home). Parents picking up students during the school day MUST sign the student out next to the Panther in the Attendance Office. This is a safety issue.


Absences or tardiness of more than 20 minutes without parent, guardian, or school approval are considered cuts. Students will be given one full day following an absence from school to clear any cuts. Students shall NOT be granted credit for assignments or tests missed as a result of a cut.

  1. Students who cut will be assigned two days of lunch detention for each period cut.

  2. After the equivalent of 10 days of lunch detention have been assigned for cutting, administrators will begin to restrict from activities and continue to do so if cutting continues.

Accumulated Absences

Teachers are not obligated to provide make-up assignments for absences for reasons other than health or school-sponsored events. Family trips are not considered excused absences by the district. Parents are urged to consider varying the times of the day during which medical/dental appointments are made in order to avoid missing the same class consistently.


Being punctual is an important personal habit to develop. Students who are late for class miss valuable instruction and unnecessarily interrupt their classes.
School starts at 8:15 A.M. A student is considered "tardy" if he/she is not in the room or at the place designated by the teacher at the beginning of each period. Students arriving late to class will be marked TARDY, unless they arrive with a written excuse from a staff member. Students arriving twenty or more minutes after the beginning of a class will be marked ABSENT, and s/he will be subject to the regular procedures for clearing absences, e.g., note from home.
If the bus is late, students should get a "Late Bus" pass in the attendance office. When the student shows this pass to his/her first period teacher, the teacher will change the absence or tardy. If the roll sheet has been sent in, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure that the teacher changes the roll sheet the following day. Otherwise, the student will receive the consequences for a tardy or cut.

Tardy Policy

Classroom teachers deal with tardiness to class by

  1. Making it clear to students that tardiness is not acceptable to them.

  2. Providing in-class consequences.

  3. Contacting parents if tardiness persists.

Counseling and administrative staff follow up in the following manner.

  1. At 5 tardies, a letter is sent home, and the student is assigned detention. The student may lose dance and activity privileges for a specified time period. A meeting may be held with a counselor or an administrator to discuss the issue.

  2. At 10 tardies, another letteer is sent home, and the student is assigned two additional detentions. The student loses dance and activity provileges for a specified time period. A meeting may be held with a counselor or an administrator to discuss the issue.

  3. At 15 tardies, another letter is sent home, and the student is assigned to a Saturday School detention. The student loses dance and activity privileges for a specified time period. A meeting is held with a counselor or an administrator to discuss the issue.

At 20 or more tardies, the student may be referred to SARB (School Attendance Review Board), an SST (Student Success Team) meeting, or to the District Attorney Mediation Program.