Improving student attendance


Every student will attend school at least 90 percent of the time.

See ASD's strategic plan, Destination 2020, for details.


Attendance videos

What do our students think of school attendance? We asked them why they miss school, what motivates them to attend and what ASD staff can do to engage them and help them see the importance of coming to school every day. Watch on YouTube, On-Demand.

A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn. There is a direct correlation between students who attend school regularly and higher academic achievement levels.


In order to reach our Destination 2020 goal on attendance, students can miss no more than 17 days of school per year. This may seem like a lot but it's less than two absences per month.



Excused and unexcused absences

The school board updated policy 443 in June 2013 to define what constitutes an excused absence from school. Conditions include:


  • Illness
  • Death or serious illness in the immediate family
  • Participation in a school function
  • Attendance at a religious service
  • Extenuating circumstances approved by the principal


Pre-approved absence request

If parents know in advance their child will be absent, please fill out a Pre-Approved Absence Request for Extenuating Circumstances.


The principal may deny the request if s/he believes it would harm the student’s academic progress. If the absence is denied and the family still takes the child out of school, the absence will be unexcused. If the pre-approved absence request is denied, the parent or guardian may have that decision reviewed by making a request to the elementary or secondary division within two school days.


Make-up procedures

If a student misses school, parents are encouraged to work with their child's teacher and principal to determine the appropriate make-up work and timeline to complete the work. The district has updated the make-up procedures for class work, assignments and tests. The procedures are outlined in the student handbook. High school  |  Middle school



11/23/15 update from Pam Y.



Attendance notifications

An automated “robocall” attendance phone message goes out this year to all students with an unexcused absence. Standard practice is for middle and high school calls to go out at the end of the business day. Elementary households will also receive calls, beginning at 11 a.m.


The recorded attendance notification message is the district’s official parent notification of an unexcused absence. The attendance notification messages are translated into five of the district’s most common languages besides English.


School Business Partners offer incentives

Several businesses are partnering to provide attendance recognition prizes to students in all grade levels with excellent attendance. Learn more by  downloading the flier


High school incentives

Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage and GCI once again present the Drive for Perfect Attendance for high school students. With incentives ranging from a brand new Jeep Renegade donated by Lithia to 25,000 Alaska Airline miles donated by GCI and many other great prizes, students in all grade levels have a chance to be eligible. Program rules


Middle school incentives

Middle school students will be eligible this year for attendance prizes from GCI and For Fun Alaska Program rules


Elementary incentives

IBEW and For Fun Alaska are teaming up to provide quarterly classroom inflatable party prizes and the annual prize of an ultimate field day for one school.  Program rules


These attendance contests are offered by the School Business Partners listed above. ASD is not a sponsor or funder of these contests.


Attendance tips

Attendance flier thumbnails

Perfect attendance makes a difference. See how attendance affects success and get advice for building good attendance habits.

 Elementary flier

 Middle and high school flier