DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Public School district is hoping its new “3-6-9” attendance policy will cut down on student absences.

The district says their new approach calls for immediate intervention upon three unexcused absences.

Here’s how the policy works:

  • Three instances of unexcused tardiness, of more than 15 minutes after the start of class, are equivalent to one unexcused absence.
  • Upon three unexcused absences, a phone call will be made to the student’s home and an attendance agent will be notified.
  • Upon the occurrence of a sixth unexcused absence, the student will be referred to an attendance agent for intervention strategies, which may include home visits by the state Department of Human Services.
  • Any DPS student having more than nine unexcused absences per school year will face a truancy referral to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for additional intervention.

The policy also defines what is deemed as “excused,” the academic penalties of poor attendance, and attendance information specific to each grade level.

Parents will begin receiving handbooks this month with the new strict enforcements.

The launch of the new attendance policy falls under the district’s five-year strategic plan to initiate new methods to better serve the needs of students and families. Entitled, “Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools,” the plan involves 12 major goals focused on three central themes: Starting earlier and working longer, working harder and working smarter, joining together and expecting more.

“As a district, we cannot stress enough to parents and students the importance of good attendance—being in school regularly and prepared to learn,” Karen Ridgeway, Superintendent of Academics, said in a statement. “In order to truly achieve our mission to provide a high-quality education to all students, we need help from our parents in ensuring students are at school on time, every single day.”

Michigan law places responsibility on students to attend school and on parents or guardians to send their children to school on a daily basis. Regular and punctual attendance, according to officials, is very important to the student’s scholastic achievement and the student’s participation in class contributes to the education of others.

DPS is also implementing a district-wide competition to increase attendance. Schools with the highest overall attendance rates will be recognized monthly during a celebratory event.

To view the full attendance policy and supporting documents, visit


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