Attendance and Drop-Off FAQs

Why does attendance matter?

Regular, on-time attendance matters, even in TK and kindergarten! We have roughly 400 students this year and are working to establish positive classroom climates where students engage with the Montessori curriculum, develop new friendships, and learn routines. Students can only access this environment when they regularly attend school. In order to have a successful day, it is important that students are on campus prepared to learn before 8:15 a.m. Late arrivals impact both students and the classroom. Please visit this link to view important facts about attendance (y en español).

How does attendance affect Urban Montessori’s budget?

UMCS receives state funding based on the attendance rate. If a student does not attend school, UMCS does not get paid. Last year, UMCS lost thousands of dollars in revenue because of student absences. Every student who is absent costs roughly $55 per day. Our operating costs (staff and teacher salaries, benefits, facilities lease, Montessori materials) are the same whether children come to school or not. For 2021-2022, our goal at UMCS is an Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of at least 95 percent, which is typical for most Oakland elementary schools. Please attend every day!

What’s the difference between an excused and unexcused absence?

An “excused” absence is one where a note or documentation from a doctor or other service provider explains the student’s absence.  A handwritten note from a parent is not sufficient documentation to excuse an absence.

An “unexcused” absence is one where a student is absent and the parent or caregiver has communicated with the school about the absence. We greatly appreciate parents letting us know about absences, as it helps us with our record keeping.

Any absence—excused or unexcused—still results in a loss of ADA funding.

What should I do if my child is sick, or has a doctor’s appointment?

You can report an absence by emailing [email protected] or calling 510-842-1181 option 1 as soon as you know your child will be absent. Feel feel to leave a voicemail. If your student is sick, particularly if they have a fever or have been vomiting, please keep them home until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. This is best for the health of our staff and other children as well.

When at all possible, please schedule any necessary appointments or check-ups outside of the morning work period, which ends at lunch. This helps to minimize disruption for students and the classroom. Wednesday afternoons, when all students are dismissed at 12:30 p.m., and teacher institute days are ideal. You can find the school calendar on the school website at www.urbanmontessori.org/school_calendar/.

What time does school open in the morning? How early can I drop my child off?

Our campus opens at 7:45 a.m. and classrooms open at 8:00 a.m. Students should be inside their classroom by 8:15 a.m. to start on time.

What is the “Morning Circle” routine?

We are still assessing when and how to bring back in-person "Morning Circle" with families. In the past, UMCS hosted families at a weekly Morning Circle. This is a time for families to connect together, to hear important updates, and to share a song.

At what time are students considered late?

Students are considered “tardy” or late if they arrive at their classroom after 8:15 a.m.

My family has already been late twice and we have gotten two tardy slips. What are the consequences of getting a tardy slip?

The “admit pass” (commonly known as a tardy slip) allows for accurate attendance accounting and ensures that students are counted as being present. Accurate attendance allows school staff to track and assist families who may have challenges getting to school on time. It’s also important from a safety perspective for us to have an accurate attendance roster each day.

What is the best way to drop off and pick up my child?

Please review the Drop Off and Pick Up Locations information.

To maximize the flow of traffic, families approach Steele Street “one way” from High Street. When leaving campus, please continue “down” towards Buell Street. Please avoid U-turns on Steele Street as much as possible.

Students and families MAY USE ANY entrance or exit, but please use your student(s) designated location as much as possible. We understand that families and carpools with students in more than one Level need flexibility. Clear communication between families and their student(s) help smooth these transitions.

If I want to attend Morning Circle, where should I park?

We are still assessing when and how to bring back in-person "Morning Circle" with families. In the future, please park on nearby streets and avoid Steele Street. Our neighbors are a part of the UMCS community! It is important that our behavior as a school community demonstrates respect for them. Please take care not to block driveways as you park, and be mindful of the City of Oakland’s street sweeping schedule!

What is Independent Study?

Independent Study is an alternative educational process that allows a student to remain continuously enrolled in school when the student cannot attend school on a daily basis. Independent Study is available for all grades currently served by Urban Montessori. The length of an Independent Study may be from two days to no more than four weeks. Most students who apply for Independent Study travel out of state or out of the country to participate in important cultural, religious, or family events, because they need support with behavioral issues, or because they are recovering from an illness or injury. Successfully completed Independent Study supports strong school attendance and school finances!

How do I request and complete an Independent Study (IS)?

Please request an IS packet from the main office at least five days in advance whenever possible. Emergency situations will be handled on an individual basis.

Where do I go if I have more questions?

Your child's teacher or the main office is a great place to start to get guidance or information about attendance, drop-off procedures, Independent Study, or anything else!