Every child needs to come to school on time, every day. It matters, as early as kindergarten. By middle and high school, poor attendance is a leading indicator of dropout risk. Developing good attendance habits prepares students for success in all areas of life.

Excused and unexcused absences add up fast and can lead to academic problems.  Students are at risk academically if they miss 10 or more days of the school year.  Even sporadic absences matter.  One or two days absence a month is actually a chronic attendance problem.  Attendance has a serious effect on a student’s success in the present and the future.


Blank Excuse Notes

Please feel free to utilize these blank excuse notes each time your child is absent.

Blank excuse notes in English.

Blank excuse notes in Spanish.

If you should need another language, please click here to visit The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities page.


Who is Required to Attend School?

The Pennsylvania School Compulsory Law requires students from the ages of 8-17 to attend school on a daily bases. As Philadelphia is a District of the First Class, the requirement for school attendance is between the ages of 6-17. Once a student is enrolled in school, he/she can only be withdrawn if he/she transfers out of the District. The student will remain on the District’s roll and the child/family is subjected to Truancy Court if they do not attend school.

What Happens (at the school level) When my Child is Absent?

School Process

1. Parents must submit an absence note to the school within three days of the children’s unexcused absence. After 3 days, the School Principal/Designee will make a determination if the note will be accepted. If the note has been accepted, the teacher will make the corrections and then submit to the main office so that it can be changed in the Student Information System (SIS).

2. At the 3rd unexcused absence, the C-31 (Three Day Legal Notice) should be sent to the Parent/Guardian to make them aware that the child has missed 3 days (consecutive/nonconsecutive) of school.

3. At the 6th unexcused absence, the school must utilize the Online Interventions Module (MTSS/RtII) and create an attendance plan for the student. The school should also arrange a meeting with the parent/guardian of the child to inquire about the truancy and come up with a plan to help remove any barriers to the student’s truancy.

4. At the 10th unexcused absence, the Truancy Referral should be submitted to the Office of Attendance & Truancy.

5. Once the referral has been submitted to the Office of Attendance & Truancy, it may take up to 6 weeks for the student/family to receive a citation for Truancy Court. Schools can check the S73 (Court Activity Screen) in School Computer Network (SCN), once a student has a court date to view dispositions and status updates.

6. Grades K-3 must be submitted on the DHS Referral Sheet.

7. Grades 4-11th must be submitted on the Family Court Referral Sheet.

8. Siblings from the same school should be submitted together on the referral sheets.