Programs: Head Start

Promote regular attendance, manage attendance issues & support the attendance of homeless children.

Implement a process to ensure children are safe when they do not arrive at school. 

Prohibit or severely limit the use of suspension due to a child’s behavior. Such suspensions may only be temporary in nature.



Interpreting regulations & putting them into practice can be challenging. Below are strategies to ensure this component is met:


Attendance & Absence Instructions 

Staff share information with families at the beginning of the program year & throughout the year regarding the benefits of regular attendance, policy & sign-in/out procedure.

When a parent calls in an unplanned absence, staff record the absence type & sign using their full legal signature.

Authorized adult picking-up a child for the first time must prove their identity through inspection of a valid ID card & are asked to sign using their full legal signature.


Attendance & Absence Instructions (Sample)

Child No-Show/No-Call

To ensure children are safe when they do not arrive at school, any time a child is unexpectedly absent without notification from the parent/guardian, a designated staff member must attempt to contact the family by phone within one hour of the child's expected start time.


Recording Attendance

Parent/Authorized adult must sign using their full legal signature. The same signature that was used when signing the application for services or that is on an authorized adults identification.

Parent/Authorized adult must enter the actual time of arrival & departure on a sign-in/sign-out sheet. 


Attendance Reminder

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Documented on the attendance record & includes:

  • Child name

  • Date

  • Reason of absence (sick child, family emergency etc...)

  • Full legal signature of staff or parent 

Tracking system in place for all absence types


Strategies to Promote Attendance

Analyze attendance data to identify patterns of absences that may put the child at risk of missing 10% of program days per year.

Staff work directly with families to identify barriers & develop strategies to improve attendance.

Anytime a classroom's monthly attendance falls below 90%, a classroom level attendance action plan must be completed too.


Promoting Attendance Flyer/Poster

Child Success Plan

Tips for Good Attendance in Preschool

How to Help Your Child Have Successful Bedtime

How to Help Your Child Have a Successful Morning



Community Resources

Staff must support the attendance of families experiencing homelessness by utilizing community resources for transportation to & from the program. 


Public Transportation


Suspension & Expulsion

A procedure must be in place that assures steps are taken to prohibit or severely limit the use of temporary suspension or eventual expulsion due to a child’s behavior.

The procedure should include processes to follow when a child exhibits persistent & serious challenging behaviors. Possible strategies are explored & all steps taken to address such problems & to facilitate the child’s safe participation in the program must be well documented.




This program monitoring tool may be used to document self-monitoring & the required annual program self-evaluation



Head Start Performance Standard: 1302.16 & 1302.17


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