School Policies » Attendance


The state of Arizona requires that all students attend school 90 percent of the school year. Benchmark students attend school 180 days per year, which means that a Benchmark student has nine (9) sick days a semester/ four per quarter. When a student reaches nine absences a semester, a doctor’s note may be required to excuse any further absences.

A student that is absent more than 10 percent (18 days) of the required number of school days per year is considered to have “excessive absences,” whether the absence is excused or unexcused. An absence is defined as a minimum of one missed class period per day.

A student whose absences may have materially affected academic progress may fail that subject, receive a lower grade, or be retained for the next school year.

Arizona law:

A child who is habitually truant or who has excessive absences may be adjudicated an incorrigible child as defined in § 8-201 .  Absences may be considered excessive when the number of absent days exceeds ten per cent of the number of required attendance days prescribed in § 15-802, subsection B , paragraph 1.

For the purposes of this section:

1. “Habitually truant” means a truant child who is truant for at least five school days within a school year.

2. “Truant” means an unexcused absence for at least one class period during the day.

3. “Truant child” means a child who is between six and sixteen years of age and who is not in attendance at a public or private school during the hours that school is in session, unless excused as provided by this section.

When absent:

  • It is the parent’s responsibility to report each absence.
  • Please call the school office before 8:00 am and provide the student’s name and grade level.

Excused Absences:

  • Illness
  • Medical appointments or treatments
  • Religious holidays: A parent note is required for the student’s attendance file.
  • Death: A parent note is required for the student’s attendance file.
  • Personal or family emergency: A parent note is required for the student’s attendance file.

Unexcused Absences: The school administration will determine if an absence is excused or unexcused.

  • Family vacations.
  • Non-Medical appointments.
  • Babysitting.
  • Absence for any other reason that does not meet the criteria of an excused absence.
  • A student who is absent from school without notice.


Early Departure: Parents are requested to schedule appointments after 3:15 p.m. to avoid the need for an early dismissal. If it becomes necessary for the student to be released from school for a doctor/dental appointment or other unavoidable emergencies, the following procedure should be followed:

  • Parent/Guardian will need to send a handwritten note to school (or call the school) that states the student’s first and last name, date and time of release, and the reason for the early dismissal. The student is to bring this note to the office before school begins.
  • All students must be signed out by a parent/guardian (or someone designated by the parent/guardian on the emergency card) in the office before leaving the building.
  • The written note will be kept in the student’s attendance file.


Tardiness: Being on time is a life skill important to each student’s future, and schools share the responsibility to teach the importance of this skill. Tardiness of individual students interrupts instructional time for all students. Promptness to class allows the teachers to begin the instruction on time for everyone. Tardiness to class is defined as not being physically in the room at 8:00 am.

  • Three tardies is equal to 1 unexcused absence.
  • Students arriving late (after 8:15 AM) to school must report to the office with their parent/guardian to be counted in attendance before going to class.
  • Parents of students who have 10 or more tardies in a semester may be required to meet with the principal/designee to discuss the reasons for the tardies and to develop a plan for improvement.


Makeup Work Requests

If a student is ill for two or more days, a parent may contact the office at 602-765-3582 on normal school days to request homework for the student. Homework will be available for pickup by the student’s family the next day in most situations.

Parents may reach out directly to the teachers to request homework. Please allow for homework to be picked up the next day in most situations.


Benchmark School has implemented a truancy program in partnership with Maricopa County Juvenile Court.  This truancy program is called C.U.T.S.  LITE (Court Unified Truancy Suppression) DIRECT-CITE Program.  We will be tracking attendance very closely.

CUTS LITE is a program specifically designed to address the issue of truancy prior to a citation being issued. CUTS LITE is designed for any situation in which the student is missing excessive amounts of school and where the absences can be attributed to parenting issues. This is a voluntary conference on the parents’ part, attended by parent, student, school official and a probation officer. The conference will provide an opportunity to educate the parent and the student in regards to the truancy laws. It will also allow a forum to determine the specific needs of the student.