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Supporting Student Attendance in Remote Learning
This year, more than ever before, Kent School District is dedicated to helping support our students and families in the transition back to school. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has put additional stress on all of our students and families, and some are also experiencing trauma from family illness, death, or loss of income. New research shows that many students could begin the new school year significantly behind in their academic learning. We recognize that as a public institution, schools have not addressed the systemic barriers that limit access to equitable opportunities for all of our students, and that this can especially impact the learning of some of our most vulnerable students.
When students don't regularly attend school, we recognize it as an alert that they may be experiencing barriers to accessing rich and supportive learning opportunities, whether in or out of school, especially if they live in poverty, experience racial discrimination, or have disabilities. Monitoring attendance and active student engagement during remote learning will take time and effort as everyone adjusts to this new way of learning, Covid-19 impacts everyone, students, family, and staff.
What Can Schools and Families Do To Support Attendance in Remote Learning?
- Keep student and family contact information updated in Skyward Family Access.
- Support students and families with free and low-cost home internet options.
- Provide laptop and technology support. Our Customer Support Center is available Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. through Microsoft Teams Chat, email at CustomerSupportCenter@kent.k12.wa.us, and phone at (253) 373-7030.
- Build strong relationships with our students and families.
- Research and experience show that strong relationships with caring adults and educators are key to keeping students and families be involved in school and learning. In alignment with our School Board-approved Reopening Plan, all of our teachers are leading morning meetings and check-in time to help support the social and emotional needs of their students.
- Monitoring for chronic absence.
- Our schools and district teams will continue to monitor attendance and engagement, monitoring when students miss 10 percent or more of learning opportunities. Communication between families and schools is also critical to support student success and be clear about excused and unexcused absences. If your student is absent due to technical difficulties, please let your teacher and school know as soon as possible.
How is KSD Taking Attendance During Remote Learning?
There are two types of instruction your student will be able to participate in for attendance:
- Synchronous instruction: Teachers and students are engaging in instructional activities at the same time. (Microsoft Teams Meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.)
- Asynchronous instruction: Teachers and students are posting, sharing, and responding to learning at various points and times. (Canvas, assigned work, etc.)
A student is marked present if they participate in either synchronous or asynchronous learning options. Evidence of student participation in remote learning may include, but is not limited to:
- Daily logins to canvas system
- Daily interactions with the teacher to acknowledge attendance (including messages, emails, phone calls, or video chats
- Evidence of participation in a task or assignment
During remote learning, the following are additional reasons for excused absences:
- Caring for a family member who has an illness or medical appointment due to Covid-19
- Student’s employment or other family obligations that are temporarily necessary due to COVID-19 until other arrangements can be made
- Parent’s work schedule
- Lack of necessary instructional tools, including connectivity
- Other Covid-19 related circumstances determined between school and parent or emancipated youth
If an absence is excused, the student shall be permitted to make up all missed assignments outside of class, under reasonable conditions and time limits established by the appropriate teacher. An excused absence may affect a student’s grade in participation-type classes because of the student’s inability to make up the activities conducted during a class period.
We’re Here to Help
Please partner with us to ensure your student attends regularly and is successful in school. We know students may be absent from school for a variety of reasons. Our attendance office, school nurse, counselor, and teachers are prepared to help if your student is unable to make it to school regularly or on time.
We will track attendance daily, document when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why the absence occurred, and identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.