Admin

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the ages of students who can be referred to SARB?
A: California education code requires students between the ages of 6-18 to attend school daily. SARB has the discretion to accept referrals for students within this age range, but earlier intervention has proven to be the most effective. For this reason, factors such as age, credits towards graduation, and extent of intervention at the school site level are all considered when a decision is being made regarding acceptance of a specific high school case. Historically, the juvenile court would not accept referrals for students older than 16 years of age, but they have softened this rule and will consider older students in some cases. Please contact our office if you have questions about a specific case."
Q: Who identifies students who have attendance problems?
A: The attendance clerk, through weekly reports and family contacts, identifies students with attendance concerns. The clerk should run excessive absence reports on a regular basis and provide to the site Attendance Team to begin interventions.
Q: Who is responsible for generating and sending attendance letters?
A: It is the joint responsibility of the counselor and attendance clerk. The attendance clerk runs attendance reports and prints appropriate letters. The counselor's responsibility is to sign the letters and provide interventions and referrals. If the site does not have a counselor, the administrator should sign the letters.
Q: Where can you find the attendance letters and SARB Referral Form?
A:

All the attendance letters and the SARB Referral Form are on the SARB website under "Forms and Reference."

Q:

Are the SARB letters available in PowerSchool?

A:

No, not yet, schools are currently responsible for sending all letters; First Notification of Truancy, Second Notification, and Third Notification. These letters can be downloaded from our SARB website.

Q: Who sends out the Notification of Truancy letter?
A: Schools are currently responsible for sending all letters.
Q: What if a student has excessive illnesses that the nurse feels are unjustified?
A:

The nurse has two letters that address illnesses. The first letter requires verification by a doctor or school nurse for future absences to be excused. If the nurse determines the illnesses are not legitimate, the absences should be coded as Unexcused if there is no doctor verification. Medical notes should be specific as to the amount of time being excused. The nurse's letters are valid for one year from the date sent.

Q:

Why are period absences and W's (late more than 30 minutes) not considered for a SARB referral?

A: Even though the state mandates that W's are considered as habitual truancy, the San Diego court system will not consider W's or period absences. They will only accept all-day U's and Z's. We follow the court requirements so that we do not have to start over if attendance does not improve. If you have a unique situation please contact the SARB office to discuss.
Q: What can I expect when I make a SARB referral?
A: Once a SARB referral has been received and determined to meet the criteria, a hearing is scheduled within approximately two to three weeks. If attendance continues to be problematic following a SARB hearing, the student/family may be referred to court.
Q: Can siblings be referred to SARB at the same time?
A: Yes, but separate referrals must be made. It is an opportunity to address the needs of the family because school attendance is frequently a family problem.
Q: Can a runaway student be referred?
A: No, because the student must attend the hearing (or at least be aware of it) in order to be held accountable to the SARB contract. We must be able to make contact with the student in some way. The attendance clerk should continue to code the absences accordingly. When the student returns continue with the SARB referral process and make sure the interventions are appropriate.
Q: Should I refer a student if they have a probation officer?
A: No. Contact the student's probation officer as they have the legal responsibility for the student. If a student is on probation for another matter, school attendance and grades will always be addressed as part of the court procedure.
Q: What is SARB's responsibility when a student transfers to another school district?
A: SARB will contact the receiving school/district and inform them of the active case.
Q: What is SARB's responsibility if a student transfers to a summit school?
A: Summit schools are under the county educational system so it becomes the responsibility of the county.
Q: Do school personnel participate in SARB hearings?
A: It is required that the referring counselor or administrator attend the hearing so he/she can present the case, assist in the development of the SARB contract and follow through with the site responsibilities.
Q: How long is a SARB case active?
A: A SARB contract is valid for two years for elementary students and valid until 18 years of age for secondary students. However, if a secondary student has had good attendance for two consecutive years and attendance declines again, the District Attorney may require we hold another SARB hearing and implement more interventions before a court referral can be made. If in doubt, please call the SARB office to discuss.
Q: Can special education students be referred?
A: Yes. The IEP Team must determine that attendance is not part of the student's disability and that it is an appropriate referral. The IEP must be current.
Q: Can unverified absences (A's) be considered for a SARB referral?
A: No. A's cannot be counted because the parent has not verified the absences. Only U's and Z's qualify when making a SARB referral. It is critical, therefore, that every effort be made to contact the parent to determine the reason for absences.