Attendance Policy

Bringing Attendance Home

Maunawili Elementary Attendance Policy

(Rev. 4/23)

The Hawaii Department of Education schools' attendance policy is governed by state law and Board Policy 4140: Compulsory School Attendance Policy. It states: "The Department of Education shall make every effort to ensure student school attendance in accordance with the compulsory attendance law." Students who have chronic absenteeism may be referred to Family Court. Pursuant to H.R.S. 571-11(2), Family Court can place a child under jurisdiction for truancy if the child is not attending school or is not receiving the educational services required by law.

Definitions and Guidelines

“Absent” means that a student is not physically present in school for at least half a day except if the student is on an authorized school activity.  Any student leaving the school campus before 11:00 AM will be considered absent.  This also applies when a student goes home sick before 11:00 AM.

All absences are counted for StiveHI mandates and guidelines.  The Hawaii DOE does not identify absences as excused or not excused even if a doctor’s note is submitted or a parent reports the reason for absence to the school.

 “Present” means that a student is physically present in their homeroom by 7:55 AM.  Students who are tardy must report to the office to receive a tardy pass before entering the classroom.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as exceeding 15 absences.

Reporting Absences

When a student is absent, a parent/guardian must call the office to report the absence by 8:15 AM. If a student will miss multiple days, the parent/guardian must call each day.  Messages may be left on the school’s answering machine.  If a call or message is not received, the school will call home to request the reason for absence. 

If a student is ill for 3 or more consecutive days, a doctor visit is highly recommended.  Doctor notes should be forwarded to the student’s teacher. For COVID related sickness and absences, please refer to Maunawili Elementary’s website on DOE/DOH guidelines.

Family/sports related trips, personal appointments

When a student is absent for 3 or more consecutive days not due to illness, a written notice must be addressed and forwarded to the school principal.  Examples include family vacations and sports related trips. Extended absences due to family vacations, sports-related events, and/or personal appointments during the school day should be avoided and scheduled during school vacations and after school. Students miss valuable classroom instruction, in-class activities, and social activities that cannot be made up.

Tiered Practices for Attendance

Tier 1 strategies are aimed at encouraging better attendance for all students and at preventing absenteeism before it affects achievement.

Tier 2 interventions are designed to remove barriers to attendance for students at greater risk of chronic absenteeism, such as those who missed 10% of the school year, the standard definition of chronic absenteeism. These students and families should receive personalized attention as part of the engagement strategy.                                Tier 3 interventions provide intensive support to students missing the most school, often involving not just schools but other agencies such as health, housing and social services, and typically requiring case management customized to individual students’ challenges. Students missing 20% or more of the school year benefit from the addition of this intensive level of support.

Families and school partners can together determine the causes of chronic absence, and implement approaches that address barriers to getting to class. Although students and families may not need every single intervention listed, it’s important to know the steps and procedures that can eliminate those barriers.

Attendance Review Council (ARC)

The Attendance Review Council (ARC) is a multi-agency system approach intended to address chronic absenteeism. The main focus of ARC is to provide primary interventions to set the foundation for future success as students get older. ARC will help families avoid the court process if they voluntarily agree to participate in the process. The ARC for the Kailua-Kalaheo Complex is located in Kailua. Once ARC receives a referral from the school, parents/guardians will be contacted and invited for the initial conference.

Attendance Video

In Bringing Attendance Home, a video from Attendance Works, a variety of parents speak about the importance of school attendance and making sure absences don’t add up. This video offers practical, every day steps parents can take to help their children attend school and highlights ways schools and communities can help reduce barriers to attendance. The video can be found here: