Attendance Guidelines

All students enrolled in the Shawnee Mission School District shall be required to attend school on a regular basis to provide students the opportunity to be successful. Daily attendance records shall be maintained for each student. Absences are at times unavoidable due to illness or family concerns. The Shawnee Mission K-12 guidelines represent an effort to be fair in dealing with absences and to encourage good attendance. Building principals are responsible for enforcing Kansas State Statutes and district attendance guidelines.


High school is in attendance for 7 hours daily, from 7:40 am -2:40 pm on all days but late start days on which classes are in session from 8:50 am – 2:40 pm.  . Students are expected to attend school daily and arrive on time.


At the secondary level any student arriving within the first ten minutes of a class period will be considered tardy. Arrival after that time will be recorded as an absence.  Excessive tardies will be combined with other unexcused absences for truancy purposes.


If a student arrives late or leaves early for up to three hours, or is gone for three hours during the day for an appointment described above, it will be counted as a half-day absence.  We encourage students to return to school as soon as possible from appointments during the school day. 




SM West’s 24-Hour Attendance Hotline



The following information must be included when absences are called to the hotline:


¨       The caller’s name (parent/legal guardian)

¨       The name of the student, spell the first and last name
¨       The student’s grade level
¨       The reason for the absence
¨       A telephone number where the caller can be reached during the day


Parents should allow a minimum of 30 minutes when contacting the school to dismiss their student early from school.  We ask that appointments be made during non-school hours, however, we do recognize that is not always possible.  Please plan accordingly. 



Calls should be made at the beginning of the school day in which the absence occurs.  A call before 12:00 noon will ensure that the student’s name will not be on the Unexcused Absence list.  Parents must contact the attendance office within 48 hours of the absence.


K-12 Reporting and Recording of Absences

  • An unexcused absence is one that has been classified as such by the building administration. An absence will be classified unexcused if it does not fit one of the board’s six stated reasons for excusable absence or if the parent or legal guardian does not follow the building attendance procedure.

  • Parents or legal guardians are expected to call the building’s attendance line to report daily absences, late arrivals, or early dismissals. If a call is not received, school personnel will attempt to contact the parent. If no contact is made within 48 hours, the absence will be counted as unexcused.

  • Absences by parent request for family and personal reasons are acceptable provided arrangements are made through the building principal in advance of the absence. These absences will count toward total absences. Students are responsible to complete all make-up work. Students are encouraged to complete work prior to absences when possible.

  • Students with excessive absences are at risk of losing credit and/or not mastering grade level standards.

  • When a student has reached 7 absences during the school year, the parents will be sent a reminder letter. After 10 absences, documentation will be required for all future absences. It is required for each subsequent absence/tardy for illness and appointments the student bring a doctor’s note documenting the reason for the absence.  If it is not possible to see a doctor when you student is ill, parents may bring the student to the nurse’s office and the West nurse will assess whether your student is ill and needs to stay home.  If there are extenuating circumstances or special situations regarding excessive absences, please contact your student’s administrator.

  • Per state truancy laws and the Shawnee Mission School District truancy policy, if a student has three (3) unexcused absences in a row, five (5) in a semester, or seven (7) in a year, a truancy report will be filed with the Johnson County District Attorney’s office and the parents will be notified. If the student is under the age of seven (7), a report will also be made with the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

  • At any time a student’s school attendance is a concern, the building administration may require a meeting with the parent or legal guardian to address the issue.

(Revised July 2016)



Any student arriving within the first ten minutes of a class period will be considered tardy.  Arrival after that time will be recorded as an absence.

  • All tardies are unexcused unless documentation is provided to the attendance office indicating an appointment.

  • 10 tardies

    • Will result in one day of unexcused absence as part of the state truancy policy.

    • Will result in a one hour detention assigned by an administrator.

  • 20 + tardies

    • Every 10 tardies will result in one day of unexcused absence, i.e. 30 tardies = 3 unexcused absences.

    • Additional tardies will be subject to further disciplinary action.


Students Arriving Late or Leaving Early

Students who arrive to school after 7:50 am must report to the attendance office to obtain a pass to class.  The absence will be recorded as unexcused until a parent notifies the attendance office with a valid reason or a student brings a note from a parent/doctor/dentist/etc. detailing the reason for the late arrival.


A student needing to leave the building before the end of the day must obtain a pass from the attendance office to leave for the day.  Students not following the policy will be unexcused.


Excused Absences

An excused absence is one which has been classified excused by the building administration.  An absence which falls under one of the following six board approved reasons for absence will be classified excused if the building attendance procedure is followed by the student and the parent or legal guardian.  In-school suspensions are considered excused under current board policies.  Make-up privileges shall be allowed for excused absences.  Absences shall be excused for:

  1. Personal illness. (Doctor/Dental/Medical appointments)  The school may, with notice to the student or parent/guardian, require verification from a physician of absences due to reasons of health.

  2. Serious illness or death of a member of the family.

  3. Obligatory religious observance of the student's own faith. 

  4. Participation in a Kansas State High School Activities Association activity, a district-approved function, or a school – sponsored activity.

  5. Emergency situation requiring immediate action.

  6. An absence which has been requested and approved in advance by the building administration.  Activities of an educational nature or involving the student’s family may fall in this category.  Assignments are to be requested by the student before the absence occurs.  Tests may be made up after the absence.  Students who are absent more than 15% of the time per grading period may be subject to loss of credit.

At the secondary level any student arriving within the first ten minutes of a class period will be considered tardy.  Arrival after that time will be recorded as an absence.


A student’s regular attendance in the classroom is an essential component of the educational process. 

  • The attendance office will notify the parent/legal guardian of a student’s absence on a daily basis through an automated phone call/message. Parents/guardians please keep your phone numbers current to help with this communication.

  • Any time students or parents are concerned about an attendance violation; the student is encouraged to contact the teacher or building administrator for clarification.


Make-Up Work After Excused Absences

It is the student’s responsibility to make the initial contact with the teacher to make-up missed work and schedule make-up tests.  Students absent one week or less will be allowed double the amount of time they are absent in which to make-up missed work. For absences longer than one week, students will be allowed one week, plus the number of days absent to make-up work that has been missed.  Students are expected to fulfill long-term assignments as originally scheduled.


Extended Absences

Parents and/or students should notify the attendance office at least one week in advance of a planned absence of 5 or more days.  Students should pick up a form from the attendance office that will be signed by the parent, the student’s teachers and by an administrator prior to the student’s absence.  Students should work with the teachers to obtain any classwork that can be done during the absence.


Permit to leave During the School Day

A written request from the parent/guardian for a student to leave campus during the school day will be honored when the note is presented and pass to leave is obtained in the Attendance Office before missing a class or leaving campus. Once a permit to leave is obtained, it should be presented to the teacher at the specified departure time.  When returning to class the same day, the student must sign in through the Attendance Office before reporting to class. Failure to comply with established procedures will result in an unexcused absence and appropriate disciplinary action.